For the third year in a row, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost battled for the F1 title in Suzuka. Ayrton Senna arrived in Japan with 78 points, nine more than Prost in the Drivers’ World Championship. In order to win his second Formula 1 title even before the final race, he only had to out-point the Frenchman.
On Wednesday, Senna asked the race organizers if they could swap the first two positions of the starting grid, putting the first-placed driver on the outside and the second-placed on the inside, closer to the wall, where the track was dirtier and less grippy. Even though Senna’s request was denied, he kept working hard during the qualifying sessions to start in first.
On Saturday, McLaren’s efforts to secure a win focused on dominating the first row of the starting grid. Ferrari had the same objective. Both considered that a team strategy would favor either Ayrton Senna or Alain Prost.
Neither of the two teams was successful: Ayrton Senna made pole position in spectacular fashion with a one-second advantage over Prost, but Nigel Mansell finished ahead of Gerhard Berger. The two contenders for the title started in the first row.
A. de Cesaris
final position (retired on lap 1)
position in championship following the race
championship points accumulated
best lap (did not finish)
I requested the whole weekend that the pole position start from the other side of the track, but they refused, creating a problem which ensured that this wreck happen.