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1987 Spanish Grand Prix

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Date  September 27, 1987
Weather  Sunny and hot
Course length  4.218 km (2.620 mi)
1987 Spanish Grand Prix
Location  Circuito Permanente de Jerez, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  72 laps, 303.696 km (188.708 mi)

The 1987 Spanish Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Jerez on September 27, 1987. It was the thirteenth round of the 1987 Formula One season. It was the 29th Spanish Grand Prix and the second to be held at Jerez. The race was held over 72 laps of the four kilometre venue for a race distance of 304 kilometres.


The race was won by British driver Nigel Mansell driving a Williams FW11B. Mansell took victory by 22 seconds over Frenchman Alain Prost driving a McLaren MP4/3. Prost's Swedish team mate Stefan Johansson finished third. It was Mansell's fifth victory of the 1987 season. That win, along with Nelson Piquet's fourth place, secured for the WilliamsF1 team their third constructors' championship with three races still remaining in the season. The gap between Williams and McLaren was fifty points.

Mansell's win, the beginning of a late season charge, dragged him back into championship contention. He trimmed the gap to Piquet back to 18 points, passing Ayrton Senna for second in the standings as he did so.

11th placed Martin Brundle described his drive to 11th as "the time I got out the car thinking no human could have done [any] better".


Nelson Piquet secured his 24th and final F1 pole position in his Williams-Honda with Nigel Mansell completing an all-Williams front row. The race was comfortably won by Mansell who passed Piquet at the end of the first lap and was never headed. The battle for third (then second) was led for much of the time by Ayrton Senna, who like the previous year tried to complete the race without changing tyres. Both Senna and Lotus were of the opinion that the 99T's computerised active suspension system would help preserve his tyres throughout the race.

Senna had a queue of both Ferraris, Prost's McLaren and Thierry Boutsen's Benetton behind him, which was joined by Piquet after a long pit-stop. For lap after lap, Senna held off all-comers, similar to Gilles Villeneuve's performance in his Ferrari at Jarama for the 1981 Spanish Grand Prix. The Lotus-Honda was very fast in a straight line with a low downforce setup, but was slow through Jerez's many twists and turns as a result. Senna's pursuers could not pass him on the long pit straight, and with Jerez generally having a lot of dust and sand off the racing line, they were not able pass him through the corners without losing grip.

However, Piquet's similarly powered Williams was able to get by (not before having a spin) followed eventually by Boutsen and Prost as the Brazilian's tyres finally went off. Senna faded to finish fifth, but the battle for second continued between Boutsen and Piquet - Boutsen went out avoiding Piquet who was rejoining the track after having gone off - and then between Piquet and Prost, with Prost getting the better of the Williams driver who also lost third place to McLaren's Stefan Johansson who put in another strong drive. Both Ferraris blew their engines.

Championship standings after the race

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

    1987 Spanish Grand Prix Wikipedia