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1987 Monaco Grand Prix

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Date  31 May 1987
Course length  3.328 km (2.068 mi)
Course  Street circuit
1987 Monaco Grand Prix
Official name  45e Grand Prix de Monaco
Location  Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Distance  78 laps, 259.584 km (161.298 mi)

The 1987 Monaco Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 31 May 1987 at the Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo. The race, contested over 78 laps, was the 45th Monaco Grand Prix and the fourth race of the 1987 Formula One season.


The race was won by Ayrton Senna driving a Lotus-Honda, the first of an eventual six wins for the Brazilian driver at the street circuit. Fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet was second in a Williams-Honda, while Italian Michele Alboreto took third in a Ferrari.

The win improved Senna's championship position to second, three points behind McLaren driver Alain Prost.

Race summary

Traditionally the number of competitors permitted for this Grand Prix was lower than all other circuits, due to the tight twisty nature of the track. Originally 16, it was later increased to 20; in 1987 it was increased to a full grid of 26. According to FISA this was to bring it into line with other Grands Prix but there were cynical views that this was done in order to reduce the number of non-qualifiers to appease the team sponsors. There was widespread concern about the results of overcrowding on the track and the speed difference of various cars.

During the practice session, Christian Danner (Zakspeed 871) and Michele Alboreto tangled, resulting in a severe accident: the Ferrari F1/87 was thrown in the air and caught fire, but landed back on the track. FISA took the decision to disqualify Danner from the weekend, the first such event in the history of the Formula 1 World Championship. There were widespread objections throughout the paddock, particularly as there were several other practice accidents and it was felt that Danner had no more to blame than any other driver involved in these accidents. Alboreto himself believed that Danner was not to blame for the accident, which happened on the uphill Beau Rivage section after St Devote. Danner had been travelling slowly when the Ferrari came through at speed. Both drivers agreed that the Zakspeed had no room to move at that point of the circuit and the Ferrari had no room to pass, but Danner was excluded anyway leaving Martin Brundle as the German team's only representative.

The pole position was claimed by Nigel Mansell in the Williams FW11B, second was Ayrton Senna in his Lotus 99T, and third was the other Williams of Nelson Piquet. The top three were in the same order after the start. On lap three, Philippe Streiff, still recovering from the huge accident he suffered at the previous race in Belgium, crashed his Tyrrell DG016 heavily again. Mansell's lead built up until lap 30, when he retired with a loss of turbo boost. This gave first place to Senna, who dominated the rest of the race, making a pit stop for tyre change without losing the lead, and set the fastest lap of the race.

Arrows drivers Derek Warwick and Eddie Cheever were both competitive, but retired with gearbox and engine failure respectively. Alain Prost retired his McLaren MP4/3 from third place with an engine failure with just two laps to go. Piquet (having a quiet race on a street circuit he did not particularly enjoy) came home second from Alboreto in third and Gerhard Berger in fourth. Jonathan Palmer finished fifth for his first World Championship points in the Tyrrell DG016 (and winning the Jim Clark Trophy for drivers of normally aspirated cars), while Ivan Capelli grabbed the last point in his March 871.

Senna's victory was the first for a car with active suspension.


Numbers in brackets refer to positions of normally aspirated entrants competing for the Jim Clark Trophy.

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for all four sets of standings.
  • References

    1987 Monaco Grand Prix Wikipedia

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