Mexican Grand Prix – 1988


The 1988 Mexican Grand Prix was vital to Senna’s aspirations in his first F1 season as a McLaren driver. After dominating the previous race, in Monaco, he ended up not scoring points, due to what many consider the biggest mistake in his career: he crashed on his own at the tunnel’s entrance when he was far away ahead of his teammate, Alain Prost.

On Saturday, Senna had scored his 20th pole position in F1. In an effort to show he was over the incident in Monte Carlo, the Brazilian was 0s629 quicker than Prost in the qualifying sessions. Ayrton posted a time of 1min17s468 at the notoriously fast circuit, located in Mexico City. Berger would be starting in third place and Nelson Piquet in fourth, with his Lotus.

The Frenchman led the standings, with 24 points. Berger was in second, with 14, and Senna in third, with 9. Therefore, it was extremely important for the Brazilian to win, if he wanted to compete with his teammate.

The first start was cancelled due to a problem with Alessandro Nannini’s Benetton before the green flag. That meant the drivers had to do another warm-up lap. At the second start, Prost jumped ahead and Piquet climbed to second place. Ayrton lost grip and spun his wheels when the green light came on, falling to third place.

At the end of the first lap, Senna prepared his attack and was able to overtake his fellow Brazilian at the entrance of the famous Peraltada corner. Satoru Nakajima, the other Lotus driver, was in fourth place, after overtaking Berger’s and Michele Alboreto’s Ferraris at the start.

In the third lap, Berger took the fourth place back from the Japanese driver, whose Honda engine would blow up in the 27th lap, forcing him to retire. The Austrian also overtook Piquet in the ninth lap, at the end of the main straight.

Little by little, the McLarens distanced themselves from the competition, but Senna was unable to threaten Prost.

Since both Williams – driven by Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese – had already left the race by the 20th lap, and Piquet had engine problems in the 58th lap, when the Brazilian was in fourth place, Ferrari had no trouble securing the third and the fourth places by the end of the race. Berger climbed on the podium with both McLaren drivers, and Alboreto finished in fourth. Rounding out the points-scoring zone, Derek Warwick finished in fifth, and Eddie Cheever in sixth, both driving Arrows.

Prost spent most of the race from 5 to 8 seconds ahead of Senna. In the end, the Frenchman crossed the finish line with a 5s9 advantage. Prost also pulled away in the standings – he now had 33 points, while Berger had 18 and Senna was in third, with 15. Everything seemed to be going Prost’s way, but Senna would soon mount a spectacular comeback – starting with a world-class performance at the following race, in Canada.

Resumo da Corrida

  • 1 Ayrton Senna
  • 2 A. Prost
  • 3 G. Berger
  • 4 N. Piquet
  • 5 M. Alboreto
  • 6 S. Nakajima
  • 7 E. Cheever
  • 8 A. Nannini
  • 9 D. Warwick
  • 10 I. Capelli
  • 11 T. Boutsen
  • 12 A. de Cesaris
  • 13 P. Alliot
  • 14 N. Mansell
  • 15 B. Schneider
  • 16 M. Gugelmin
  • 17 R. Patrese
  • 18 P. Ghinzani
  • 19 P. Streiff
  • 20 R. Arnoux
  • 21 G. Tarquini
  • 22 Y. Dalmas
  • 23 A.Caffi
  • 24 S. Johansson
  • 25 L. Perez-Sala
  • 26 O. Larrauri
Volta mais rápidaA. Prost - 1´18´´776
Podium 1º A. Prost 2º Ayrton Senna 3º G. Berger

Senna na corrida

Posição de largada1
Posição final2
Melhor volta1’18’’608
Pontos somados para o Campeonato6
Posição no Campeonato após a prova3
O que disse após a prova
“When Gerhard Berger was putting pressure on me, I thought about stopping to change up my tires, but they weren't so bad, so I stayed on the track.”