With two wins in Monaco and the 1988 F1 world title under his belt, Senna was well on his way to becoming the King of Monaco when he arrived for the 1990 Grand Prix.
The race was marked by the Brazilian’s utter dominance. The McLaren driver won the pole position on Saturday with 1min21s314, beating Alain Prost’s Ferrari by 10s462. It was Senna’s fourth pole position in the Principality and his third one in a row.
At the start, Senna kept the lead, but Prost and Berger crashed on the Mirabeau corner and the race had to be restarted. Since, at the time, drivers could take their spare cars after that type of incident, both drivers were back on the starting grid for the new start.
Take a look at the curious accident after the first start
After the second green-light, Senna jumped ahead once again and put some distance between him and Prost, who was more worried about fending Jean Alesi’s *Tyrell) and Berber’s (McLaren) advances.
The French Ferrari driver was forced to retire on lap 31, with battery issues, and Senna’s advantage over the driver in second place, Alesi, went up to 19 seconds.
After lap 66, Senna slowed down his McLaren, in order to preserve its Honda engine, and Alesi started gaining ground, especially because Berger was still after the second position.
In the final lap, Senna crossed the finish-line Just 1s087 ahead of Alesi, and 2s073 ahead of Berger. It was the Brazilian’s 22th win in F1.
An interesting statistic made that triumph in Monaco even more special: since Ayrton won from start to finish and also posted the race’s quickest lap (1min24s468, on lap 59), it was his third Grand Chelem in the category.
It was also his third win at the Principality (1987, 1989 and 1990). After the race, the Brazilian explained why he slowed down his pace at the end of the race.
“I tried to preserve my tires and my car at the beginning of the race, but trying to keep some distance from my chasers. However, one third of the race in, I started having engine problems –it was still working fine, but it was losing a little power and making a different sound. Naturally, I was worried, and brought my RPM down, trying to preserve it and driving in a way that taxed it as little as possible, said Senna.