After tem race in the 1987 season, Nelson Piquet (Williams) was at the top of the standings, with 54 points, followed by Ayrton Senna in second, with 43, and Nigel Mansell (Williams) in third, with 39, and Alain Prost (McLaren) in fourth, with 31 points.
The 11th Grand Prix, at Monza, favored those teams that used Honda engines, the strongest at the time, especially due to the Italian track’s long straights. It was no secret that Williams had a better car, but the problems that would plague the team on the following year were starting to show – it was in Italy that the Japanese announced they wouldn’t be providing engines for the team owned by Frank Williams in ’88.
Despite the incipient crisis, Piquet and Mansell staked their claim on the first row. Piquet beat Mansell for just 0s099 to secure the pole position. Gerhard Berger would be starting in third, in aa surprisingly good performance by Ferrari, and Ayrton Senna was in fourth. The Brazilian’s Lotus wasn’t performing very well at the qualifying sessions, unlike in the previous year, when he scored several pole positions. The third row had Prost in fifth place and Thierry Boutsen (Benetton) in sixth.
On lap four, Satoru Nakajima, Senna’s Lotus teammate, stopped at the gravel trap and lost the front of the pack from sight. The Japanese driver still managed to return to the race.
In the very next lap, Ayrton Senna went after Prost and took the fifth place at the Variante Ascari. Two laps later, Ferrari’s Michele Alboreto also took advantage of Prost’s poor performance and overtook the Frenchman to enter the points-scoring zone.
On lap 17, Mansell stepped up and passed Berger’s Ferrari at the pit lane straight. Right after that, the Britton put his Honda engine to good use and overtook Boutsen, regaining his original position in the race.
The 21st lap marked the start of Senna’s successful strategy. In less than four laps, he gained three positions. Mansell made a pit-stop that lasted more than 11 seconds, returning behind the Brazilian, who was already on Berger’s and Boutsen’s heels. At the end of the 22nd lap, Senna overtook the Austrian at the main straight. And at the middle of the following lap, he passed Boutsen and secured the second position.
A. de Cesaris
position in championship following the race
championship points accumulated
There are still five races left and all are very close, if you do the math at this moment in the championship. I’ll try to fight to the end.