Puneet Varma (Editor)

1989 Monaco Grand Prix

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Date  7 May 1989
Course length  3.328 km (2.068 mi)
1989 Monaco Grand Prix
Official name  XLVII Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco
Location  Circuit de Monaco Monte Carlo
Course  Temporary street circuit
Distance  77 laps, 256.256 km (159.230 mi)

The 1989 Monaco Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Monaco on 7 May 1989. It was the third race of the 1989 Formula One season.


Race summary

The field was one fewer in Monaco as Ferrari had decided not to run a second car to replace Gerhard Berger, who was injured in an accident at Imola. Elsewhere Tyrrell had new cars that looked promising. Ayrton Senna was on pole by a full second over teammate Alain Prost with Thierry Boutsen sharing row two with the surprisingly competitive Brabham of Martin Brundle. Nigel Mansell was fifth followed by Derek Warwick, Riccardo Patrese, Stefano Modena, Alex Caffi, and Andrea de Cesaris. The Coloni team got both its cars into a race for the only time, allowing driver Pierre-Henri Raphanel to make his Grand Prix debut.

What made the qualifying laps of Brundle, Modena and Caffi all the more impressive was that each driver had to go through pre-qualifying to get there. And Brundle had only just scraped through pre-qualifying by 0.021 seconds. It was at this race that many in the paddock started noticing that the Pirelli qualifying tyres were superior to Goodyear's (the Brabhams and Caffi's Dallara ran on Pirelli rubber).

At the start Senna got away brilliantly and Prost could do nothing but slot into second on the tight circuit where pole position counts more than at any other circuit. The McLarens proceeded to pull away from the field as usual while behind them Williams were in all sorts of trouble, as both Boutsen and Patrese had to stop for new rear wings. Nigel Mansell went out on lap 20 with more gearbox issues for Ferrari and one of the talking points of the race came on lap 33 when de Cesaris attempted to pass Nelson Piquet at Loews Hairpin. The predictable accident occurred and some choice words were exchanged between the two drivers (while still in their respective cars) and a huge traffic jam was caused. Brundle was looking good until he had to stop for a new battery and dropped back to seventh.

Senna continued to dominate the race while Prost, having been slowed by the Piquet-de Cesaris incident (he lost over 20 seconds to Senna in one lap having to wait for clear road to get moving again), could not recover and finished second behind his team mate. He was also held up for many laps trying to lap the Ligier of former Renault team mate René Arnoux who ignored both his mirrors and the blue flags prompting BBC commentator James Hunt to describe Arnoux's explanation of why he was so slow as "Bullshit" on live television. It was Senna's second win at Monaco and he did it the hard way, his McLaren losing first and second gear later in the race and disguising it to his best so Prost wouldn't react and push for the lead. Modena benefited from Brundle's stop and finished third, scoring his first points in Formula One and Brabham's last ever podium finish. Alex Caffi, Michele Alboreto, and Brundle, who was promoted to sixth on the final lap as a result of the retirement of Ivan Capelli, completed the point scoring positions. Caffi achieved both his and Dallara's first points.

Championship standings after the race

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

    1989 Monaco Grand Prix Wikipedia

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