Journeyer continues his video guide to the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Part 1 looked at the beginnings of the Brazilian Grand Prix, helped along by such names as Fittipaldi and Pace. Piquet, too, had already established himself as a regular contender at home, and he, along with Ayrton Senna, would give Brazil its golden era in F1.
1986 – Some more of Clive James’ work for you, as we saw Piquet and Senna fight it out. At this point, Senna’s stock was on the rise, while Piquet’s had already reached a plateau. Piquet won this race, and in fact would win one more title, but Senna’s rise soon after would mute Piquet’s popularity for the rest of his career.
1989 – The story goes that Nigel Mansell was booking his flight home from Rio, but he wasn’t sure what time to book his flight. Wanting to go home early, he decided to book an early afternoon flight. The only catch was that his flight would depart before the actual end of the race. No problem, Nigel thought, his new Ferrari had broken its new semi-automatic paddle-shift gearbox time and again in testing and looked like it would retire midway through the race, allowing him to make his flight.
Imagine his surprise then, when not only did he finish the Brazilian Grand Prix: he actually won it. It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. I’m sure it was much more pleasant than the nutty guy who crossed the track in front of Mansell at the flag. This was the last race held at Rio, as F1 would return to the new, shorter Interlagos for 1990.
A bonus in this vid: the 1989 grid line-up precedes the race footage.
1991 – At this point, Ayrton Senna had already won multiple poles, races and two world championships. But there was one thing that had been missing from his CV: a win at home.
He had been a contender to win ever since 1986, but troubles of one kind or another always stopped him. But, after Mansell mysteriously spun off in the new Williams, Senna wasn’t planning to throw this one away. He won, Ron Dennis cried (and had a word at the 7’40 mark), and the crowd went bonkers.
1993 – Qualifying that year belonged to the mighty Williams cars, and they should’ve run away with the race too. But then it rained. Enter Senna, who out-lasted Alain Prost and out-foxed Damon Hill to win again at home.
Watch for the hug between Senna and Juan Manuel Fangio at the end: a truly emotional moment for all.
1994 – That year’s season opener was the one and only real race where we saw Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher go head-to-head for a win.
It was a tight battle much of the way, but it was decided at the pitstops, which were reintroduced to F1 at this race. This was the first race in 12 years that saw refuelling during pitstops. Not too many were pleased at that development – least of all Senna, who lost the lead to Schumacher via the stops and then spun out.
1995 – With Senna gone, the Brazilians turned their attention to the new young star, Rubens Barrichello. He was fast, but his Jordan wasn’t fast enough to really compete at the front. Indeed, he wouldn’t win a race for some time yet.
This is an especially good video: natural sound with no commentators. Unfortunately, it missed the key point of the race: Damon Hill spinning off to hand Schumacher the race win. Afterwards both Schumacher and David Coulthard were supposed to be disqualified for illegal fuel, but were reinstated on appeal.
As a side note, this race was brought up often in the ‘cool fuel’ row after Interlagos last year. Let’s hope it doesn’t come up again this year.
From Piquet and Senna to Barrichello and Massa: we’ll wrap this up with the 2000s tomorrow.
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