British Grand Prix – 1988


GP da Inglaterra 1988/ British Grand Prix - 1988

After McLaren’s one-two in Ain Prost’s home turf, the French circuit of Paul Ricard, things were already put in motion for a race in the following weekend, now at Silverstone, the track where Ayrton Senna was treated as a local, due to his many achievements in entry categories, like Formula Ford and the British Formula 3.

Despite his excellent track-record before becoming a Formula One driver, Senna was yet to score a win at one of the most traditional races in European motor sports. His best results were two second-place finishes: with Toleman, in 1984, in his first British Formula One GP, and driving a Lotus, in 1987.

The championship was McLaren’s to lose, with the Frenchman 15 points ahead of his Brazilian teammate (54 vs. 39). After polarized competitions over the course of season, Senna and Prost witnessed a change in the qualifying sessions for the race in Silverstone.

Ferrari made the best showing at the British circuit, with Gerhard Berger winning pole position. The Austrian had a time of 1min10s133, and the Italian team also put
Michele Alboreto in the first row.

Was McLaren’s dominance being challenged? Certainly not. It was the first and only time in the season that McLaren didn’t score the pole position. Senna started at the second row, next to his teammate, who was 0s120 slower than him in the qualifying sessions.

On Sunday, the start took place under a heavy rainfall. It was the first time that happened since 1960, to the delight of the fans who packed Silverstone’s standings once again.

Ayrton Senna kept his third place after the first corner, and before everyone could get used to the wet track, he was upon Alboreto, taking the second position by the second lap. Prost didn’t start well, falling to ninth after the first corner. It was a promising start to the Brazilian, in a 65-lap race, over 4,778 meters, at Silverstone.

Senna was already known as F1’s “King of the Rain”, the best driver on a wet track, as he went after Berger. The race peaked with his overtaking of Berger on lap 13. Senna got close to the Ferarri, avoided braking for as long as he would dare, and held back the car before crashing with Prost, who was about to be lapped by Ayrton.

From then on, Senna “sailed” over the wet track towards another victory. The rain was so heavy that his tires remained intact.

Alain Prose retired on lap 24 in an unusual manner. The driver kept losing positions and could get the best out of his car. He was in 15th place by lap number 10.

The official McLaren report registered his retirement as “lack of car stability”.

When he was asked about this later, Prost was pragmatic: “I stopped because the driving conditions were inappropriate.” And then went on: “Each person knows what their own life is worth”.

The podium of Senna’s first British Grand Prix win was rounded out by Williams’ Nigel Mansell and Benetton’s Alessandro Nannini. Another Brazilian driver, Mauricio Gugelmin, also had a brilliant race, steering his humble March to fourth place. Nelson Piquet finished in fifth with his Lotus – meaning Brazil had three drivers in the top five. Berger, who held a comfortable second place, had fuel problems and retired in the 50th lap.

With Senna’s win and Prost’s retirement, the championship was even again. The difference between them fell from 15 to 6 points, with the Frenchman still ahead. The season reached its halfway point with four wins for each McLaren driver over eight races. The 1988 season promised an even more electrifying second half.

Resumo da Corrida

  • 1 G. Berger
  • 2 M. Alboreto
  • 3 Ayrton Senna
  • 4 A. Prost
  • 5 M. Gugelmin
  • 6 I. Capelli
  • 7 N. Piquet
  • 8 A. Nannini
  • 9 D. Warwick
  • 10 S. Nakajima
  • 11 N. Mansell
  • 12 T. Boutsen
  • 13 E. Cheever
  • 14 A. de Cesaris
  • 15 R. Patrese
  • 16 P. Streiff
  • 17 J. Palmer
  • 18 L. Perez-Sala
  • 19 P. Martini
  • 20 S. Modena
  • 21 A.Caffi
  • 22 P. Alliot
  • 23 Y. Dalmas
  • 24 J. Bailey
  • 25 R. Arnoux
  • 26 N. Larini
Voltas 65
Tempo Chuvoso
Volta mais rápida N. Mansell - 1´23´´308
Podium 1º Ayrton Senna 2º N. Mansell 3º A. Nannini
Carros 26
Abandonos 7

Senna na corrida

Posição de largada 3
Posição final 1
Melhor volta 1’23’’595
Pontos somados para o Campeonato 9
Posição no Campeonato após a prova 2
O que disse após a prova
“Alain Prost has been on the podium twice this year without me. I suppose it was his turn to have bad luck.”