“In Detroit, you race against the heat and against the walls.” Those were the words of Ayrton Senna after winning the Detroit Grand Prix, his third victory in the 1988 Formula 1 championship. In celebration of 33 years of this triumph, we will remember that race weekend.
Coming from a win at the previous round in Montreal, Senna would have the Detroit street circuit ahead of him, a very challenging track. “Here in Detroit you can’t make the slightest mistake. There are rare spots where there are guard rails and if you make a mistake you end up hitting the concrete,” said Ayrton.
In addition to the track challenge, Ayrton had his McLaren teammate Alain Prost leading the championship with 39 points, while the Brazilian was second in the standings with 24 points.
Ayrton Senna was the fastest in qualifying, taking his sixth pole position of the season and starting ahead of championship leader Prost, who qualified fourth.
At the start, Senna began to open up an advantage over the other drivers, while the Frenchman accelerated in search of positions and took second place on the sixth lap.
Despite the battles on the track between the other drivers, Senna dominated the race and won with 38 seconds ahead of his teammate, who finished second. Thierry Boutsen, who race for Benetton, completed the podium in third.
With the Detroit GP result, Senna reduced the points difference for the championship lead to 12, ending the weekend with 33 points in the standings. The automobile capital in 1988 was the scene of a symbolic race with regard to that year’s championship, which featured the dominance of McLaren and the fierce dispute between Senna and Prost.