The 1991 season, initially dominated by Ayrton’s McLaren Honda Seine who won four victories in eight races, saw rival Nigel Mansell in Williams Renault approach the Brazilian thanks to the two victories that the “Lion of England” obtained before the German appointment. Starting from the Hockenheim Grand Prix, there were important innovations regarding the pre-qualifying: Lambo, Dallara and Jordan were granted permission not to compete thanks to the results obtained in the first part of the season, while AGS, Brabham and Footwork were forced to carry them out. This last team saw Alex Caffi return alongside Michele Alboreto on the occasion of the German GP. There was also a line-up change at Lotus, with the German Michael Bartels called to replace Johnny Herbert engaged in the Japanese Formula 3000.
F1 | Suzuka 1991: the last Senna World Championship
The qualifications of the German Grand Prix recorded a terrifying accident on Saturday with the release of the track Erik Comas at the second chicane: fortunately for the French driver there were no serious consequences, so much so that he managed to compete in the race, however retiring on lap 22 due to engine problems.
In qualifying there were other minor incidents: on Friday Morbidelli on Minardi went to hit, followed by Berger, while Mauricio Gugelmin on Leyton House ended up against the protective barriers. There Pole position was grabbed by Nigel Mansell who recorded the best time in 1m37s087. Barely two tenths of a second entered Ayrton Senna, followed by team mate Gerhard Berger and Riccardo Patrese’s Williams Renault. In the third row, almost two seconds behind, the Ferraris of Alain Prost and Jean Alesi.
F1 | October 20, 1991: the day Prost called the Rossa a truck
At the start, the poleman Mansell got off to a good start keeping the lead, while Berger overtook Senna. Good start for Prost who found himself fourth at the first chicane. Collision between Mark Blundell’s Brabham and Nicola Larini’s Lambo; the Italian was forced to retire. The first real twist came at the first pit stop of Berger: the Austrian was kept in the pits for a long time due to a rear end problem and returned to the track in tenth position. Meanwhile Mansell greatly increased his lead over his pursuers and Prost approached Senna, starting to press him. The Williams Englishman stopped to change tires and re-entered the track behind Ferrari driver Alesi, who easily overcame two laps later and took back the lead.
Patrese, on the strength of an exceptional Williams Renault FW14, made a great comeback, overtaking first Prost and then Senna, thus going to chase Alesi. The Italian will overtake the French about ten laps later. The fight for fourth place progressively flared up with the McLaren Brazilian being closely followed by Prost. On lap 37 there was a great twist: Prost attempted a decisive attack on Senna in the first chicane, but the defense of “Magic” was very hard and decisive and the “Professor” was forced to go long, effectively finishing his race. There Mansell victory it was no longer in question and the Englishman went on to win without problems in front of his teammate Patrese with an advantage of about fourteen seconds. Another twist in the race was the last lap when Senna ran out of gas and was ranked seventh, as all other riders from eighth position down registered a lap or more behind the top. Only thirteen cars finished the 1991 German Grand Prix. Bottom step of the podium for Ferrari driver Jean Alesi, followed by Berger and the Jordan Fords of de Cesaris and Gachot. Second consecutive retirement for the Brazilian from McLaren Honda, who also ran out of fuel in Great Britain. It should be remembered that at Silverstone Senna still scored points, since from fifth position down all the competitors registered a lap or more behind the winner.
Order of arrival German GP 1991
1. Mansell Williams Renault
2. Patrese Williams Renault
3. Alesi Ferrari
4. Berger McLaren Honda
5. de Cesaris Jordan Ford
6. Gachot Jordan Ford
7. Senna McLaren Honda
8. Moreno Benetton Ford
9. Boutsen Ligier Lamborghini
10. Pirro Scuderia Italia Judd
11. Brundle Brabham Yamaha
12. Blundell Brabham Yamaha
13. Modena Tyrrell Honda
Fastest lap: Patrese, 1: 43: 569
The race episode that saw protagonists Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost inevitably rekindled the historic rivalry between the two. At the end of the race, the Frenchman from Ferrari accused Ayrton of having made one incorrect maneuver against him, but defiantly stated that if he found himself in Senna’s position, he would do the same. The Brazilian, on the other hand, accused Alain of arguing, as is his habit, by unloading the responsibilities on others.