Portuguese Grand Prix – 1985


After his Lotus debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix, in Jacarepaguá, a “welcoming” weather waited for Ayrton Senna in Portugal. Nice weather for a driver who was an expert on wet tracks, like the Brazilian. It was at Estoril that the Brazilian driver scored his first Formula One win – and his triumph was total.

During the qualifying sessions, Senna started writing the script that would become a blueprint for almost all of his F-1 conquests: he scored a spectacular pole-position, half a second in front of Alain Prost, whom was certainly one of the favorites to win the race with his well-balanced McLaren. The previous year, 1984, they had won the constructor’s championship and put two drivers on the top spots: Niki Lauda as champion and the Frenchman in second place.

With his 97T Lotus, Senna’s time was 1min221s007. It was his first pole-position in the category, a feat he would repeat another 64 times – which helped earn the Brazilian the reputation as fastest driver ever.

After the green light, Ayrton Senna didn’t give anyone a chance, and led from start to finish, widening the gap from the beginning and also completing the quickest lap. He almost lapped the second-place finisher – literally.

After all, Italian Michele Alboreto’s Ferrari crossed the finish line exactly one minute and two seconds after Senna – an eternity, when it comes to F-1 racing. Third-place finisher, Renault’s Patrick Tambay, was lapped. And the rest of the field, starting with fifth-place finisher, Briton Nigel Mansell, with Williams, ended the race at least two laps behind the Brazilian driver.

“I lost count of how many times I almost crashed. The track conditions were really dangerous. Ten times worse than last year. Today is a very happy day for me. I was lucky enough to keep the car going straight”, said Ayrton Senna in an interview to Folha de S. Paulo on April 21st, 1985, after the race.

Under a thunderstorm that made 13 of the 26 drivers spin in spectacular fashion, the Brazilian driver’s amazing performance led British magazine Motoring News to write: “Senna glided, navigating like an experienced helmsman over a track full of traps, while veteran drivers aquaplaned and shipwrecked.”

After 1984’s spectacle in Monaco, the Portuguese Grand Prix finally established the myth of Ayrton Senna in the rain: F-1‘s best driver ever on a wet track.

As a result, Senna scored nine points, tying with McLaren’s Alain Prost in second place. Ferrari’s Michele Alboreto led the championship, with 12. It was also Lotus’ first win in three years.

Their last triumph had been at the 1982 Austrian Grand Prix (with Italian driver Elio de Angelis), and their penultimate, in 1978 (with American driver Mario Andretti), which made clear that Senna was the main factor behind the traditional team’s return to the top of the podium over the course of the next three years (1985 to 1987).

Resumo da Corrida

  • 1 Ayrton Senna
  • 2 A. Prost
  • 3 K. Rosberg
  • 4 E. de Angelis
  • 5 M. Alboreto
  • 6 D. Warwick
  • 7 N. Lauda
  • 8 A. de Cesaris
  • 9 N. Mansell
  • 10 N. Piquet
  • 11 S. Johansson
  • 12 P. Tambay
  • 13 R. Patrese
  • 14 E. Cheever
  • 15 M. Winkelhock
  • 16 T. Boutsen
  • 17 G. Berger
  • 18 J. Laffite
  • 19 F. Hesnault
  • 20 P. Alliot
  • 21 S. Bellof
  • 22 M. Brundle
  • 23 J. Palmer
  • 24 M. Baldi
  • 25 P. Martini
  • 26 P. Ghinzani
Voltas 67
Tempo Chuvoso
Volta mais rápida A. Senna - 1´44´´121
Podium 1º Ayrton Senna 2º M. Alboreto 3º P. Tambay
Carros 26
Abandonos 17