Puneet Varma

1993 Italian Grand Prix

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Date  12 September 1993
Course length  5.800 km (3.603 mi)
1993 Italian Grand Prix
Official name  Pioneer 64o Gran Premio d'Italia
Location  Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza, Italy
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  53 laps, 307.400 km (191.001 mi)

The 1993 Italian Grand Prix (formally the Pioneer 64o Gran Premio d'Italia) was a Formula One motor race held at Monza on 12 September 1993. It was the thirteenth round of the 1993 Formula One season. The 53-lap race was won by Williams driver Damon Hill after he started from second position. Jean Alesi finished second for the Ferrari team and McLaren driver Michael Andretti took third place.

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Report

The Williams cars had once again dominated qualifying, locking out the front row with Prost on pole and Hill alongside him. Alesi had put his Ferrari third on the grid, much to the joy of the Italian fans, and he was joined by Senna in his McLaren on the second row of the grid while Schumacher in the Benetton and Berger in the second Ferrari lined up on the third row of the grid. Further down the grid there were two new faces, with Pedro Lamy making his Grand Prix debut for the cash-strapped Lotus outfit and after the retirement of Thierry Boutsen at the previous race, Jordan had decided to evaluate promising young Japanese Formula 3000 driver Marco Apicella, and handed him his debut at his home race. Jordan had originally intended to replace Boutsen with their test-driver, Emanuele Naspetti, but he had turned the opportunity down.

At the start, Alesi got ahead of a sluggish Damon Hill and Senna tried to do the same, but there was contact between Hill and Senna, resulting in both drivers dropping back, with Senna ending up in 9th and Hill right behind him in 10th. Further back there was chaos. Due to the bunching effect the first sequence of chicanes at Monza tend to cause at the start of a race, there is always the risk of contact in the tightly packed midfield and on this occasion that is exactly what happened. Two separate incidents saw 5 cars eliminated at the first chicane. In the first incident, the Footworks of Derek Warwick and Aguri Suzuki collided and took each other out and in the second incident, poor-starting Sauber driver JJ Lehto arrived at the chicane with a full head of steam, hoping to recover lost ground and proceeded to take himself and the Jordans of Rubens Barrichello and the debutant Marco Apicella out of the race. Apicella's debut - which would also turn out to be his only Grand Prix start - had lasted no more than 800 metres, unofficially making him the driver with the shortest career in Formula One. Midway through the opening lap Schumacher passed Alesi to take second position. Prost led Schumacher, Alesi, Berger, Herbert and Brundle into lap 2.

On lap 8 Senna's race went from bad to worse. He was up to seventh and in an attempt to take sixth place from Brundle, he collided with the Brit's Ligier, his second collision of the day, and eliminated the both of them. Prost's championship ambitions had been given a major boost with Senna's retirement. Then ESPN commentator Bob Varsha called it as the "second major incident of the day for Ayrton Senna", while Derek Bell, sitting in for Derek Daly during the ESPN broadcast, put the blame on Senna for having the wrong brake balance on his car. Hill was now up to sixth place with the elimination of Brundle and Senna. Hill further benefited from the bad luck of others as he was up to fifth on lap 15 when Herbert spun off and found himself in fourth position one lap later when the suspension on Berger's Ferrari failed. Hill caught and passed Alesi on lap 18 to move into third position and on lap 22 he found himself in second place when Schumacher's engine expired. He was now 5 seconds adrift of his team-mate.

By lap 48 Hill was only 2 seconds behind Prost but Prost seemed to have enough time in hand to cover his team-mate. But, on lap 49, with less than 5 laps to go, the Renault engine in Prost's Williams let go. This allowed Hill to take the lead and win the race with Alesi in a fine second ahead of Andretti, Wendlinger, Patrese and Comas. The finish of the race also provided Formula One with one of its most spectacular moments. The Minardis of Pierluigi Martini and Christian Fittipaldi had approached the chequered flag line astern when Fittipaldi's left front wheel made contact with his team-mate's right rear wheel. The contact launched Fittipaldi's car into the air where it did a near perfect back flip before landing back on its wheels and skidded across the line. Neither driver was hurt and both finished the race without losing a position. This victory was the Williams team's 7th consecutive victory.

The win allowed Hill to retain a slight mathematical chance of winning the championship, and made him the first driver in F1 World Championship history to score his first three victories in succession (an achievement only equalled more than 4 years later by Mika Häkkinen). Prior to the race weekend Michael Andretti was informed by McLaren that the race would be his final Formula One start with the team due to poor performances, and he was to be replaced at the next race by Finland's Mika Häkkinen, the team's test-driver. Ironically, his final Formula One race would also turn out to be his best result with his third-place finish. By finishing in 5th position, Riccardo Patrese scored the final 2 points of his long career.

Championship standings after the race

  • Bold text indicates who still has a theoretical chance of becoming World Champion.
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
  • References

    1993 Italian Grand Prix Wikipedia


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