1988 - Amazing title for Senna!
If 87 was Williams duo who dominated, this year would belong to McLaren´s duo: Senna and Prost. With the new rule reducing turbo pressure to 2,5 bar, everybody expected a very close fight between turbo and aspirated cars. What nobody coould figure was that McLaren would create a amazing car and Honda a so powerful and economic engine. Their drivers would be delighted all the year, winning 15 of 16 races. Ferrari dominated all pre-season tests, meanwhile Piquet as soon as tested new Lotus became very worried about his chances. McLaren only preented their car 10 days before the begin of the year and...astonished his oponents with almost 2 seconds quicker than any other at San Marino tests...The only car that demonstrated speed, besides McLaren, was the new March 881, with his high front nose and great aerodynamic design. This revolutionary design would be developed by others teams in the following years...
1 – BRAZIL
Senna started his amazing series of pole positions accomplishment exactly on his home town. But just before the start, he had a gearbox failure and the start was canceled. He would get his T-car and start from the pit, with would cause his disqualification later. Prost jumped to the lead and just manage to win. Berger and Piquet would complete the podium. Senna made a amazing recovering until be in 2nd place, but it was in vain.
2 – SAN MARINO
Another pole for Senna, 8/100 of seconds ahead Prost, but 3,6/100 seconds ahead the 3rd place, Piquet...Senna dominated from the lights to flag. Piquet jumped to 2nd, followed by Patrese, Nannini, Berger, Boutsen, Prost and Mansell. Big fight between Benettons and Williams drivers, but Prost passed them all and caughted Piquet, getting 2nd place. Piquet was supporting a big pressure by aspirated cars, that were much more consitance in the track. Nannini tried to pass him and spun at Tosa. Mansell overtook Piquet, but next lap Piquet got it back and got away from him. In front Senna and Prost were...1 lap ahead! Senna won his first race driving McLaren, Prost 2nd and Piquet, again 3rd.
3 – MONACO
Pole? Senna of course, with 1´427 seconds ahead his team mate and 2´687 seconds ahead Berger! He would drive easily until lap 66, when he made a rare mistake and hit the barriers, 53 seconds ahead Prost and the team asked him to slow down...Prost made a bad start and was behind Berger almost 50 laps...Alboreto fighting with Mansell, tried to overtakehim, but touched his wheels and Nigel had to abandon. Also Patrese would be knocked out by latecomer Alliot, who moved to the same side of him and the chock was inavitable. Prost won, Berger and Alboreto following him.
4 – MEXICO
Horrendous accident with Alliot in the practices. He put his left wheel outside the track in the begin of main straight, losing control of the car, hitting the wall just in front the pits, upsetting many times, destroying his Lola-Larrousse, but he was unhurt! Fourth pole in a row for Senna. In the start, Prost Senna and Piquet fight for the lead, with the french taking first corner in front, Piquet 2nd, Senna 3rd, Nakajina 4th (Four Honda´s power in the front...), followed by Berger, Alboreto, Cheever, Warwick, Boutsen and Nannini. Senna overtook Piquet, Berger moved over Nakajima and also got Piquet´s place. Soon Nakajima had a broken engine and Honda´s engineers asked Piquet to slow down, but hew also had a broke piston. Strong fight by team-mates Cheever and Warwick, with the british taking advantage in the very final. Prost won, Senna 2nd, Berger, Alboreto, Warwick and Cheever were in the points.
5 – CANADA
Fifth pole for Senna. Since the beginning of this year he determined a new strategy to look for the pole. He left the pit less then two minutes for the last attempt, what the world would know as “fying lap”. Prost got the front with Senna close. They would battle for 17 laps, until Senna overtook Prost in the hairpin and pulled away. Both Ferrari´s didn´t finish and De Cesaris making a great race for Rial, became without fuel three laps to go. Senna 1st, Prost 2nd, Boutsen 3rd, Piquet 4th, Capelli 5th and Palmer 6th.
6 – USA
Another sunday drive for Senna. He started very well, with Prost only 5th in the first lap. So Prost had to fight with Berger, Alboreto and Boutsen to take second place. When he finally got it, the race was decided. He only could wait for another mistake of Senna, like Monaco. But Senna had absolut control of the race and won easily. Boutsen 3rd, De Cesaris 4th, Palmer 5th and Martini 6th.
7 – FRENCH
First time this season that the pole scape from Senna, as Prost demonstrated that he was very motivated in his home track. Prost started in front, followed by Senna, Berger, Alboreto and Piquet. Before the half of the race, Senna decided to change tyres and when Prost came to his pit, Senna took the lead. Both were very near and Senna was fighting with some little brake problem, blocking his right front wheel sometimes. Then they encountered Piquet in the long straight. The three time champion moved to right side to let them pass, but Senna didn´t see that in front of Nelson there are two cars fighting for positions. When he moved from Piquet´s vacum to make Signus high speed corner, he met them much slower and he had to lift off a little, what allowed Prost to moved inside and forced to pass. Senna tried very hard to take the lead again, but Prost made no mistake and won. Alboreto 3rd, Berger 4th, Piquet 5th and Nannini 6th.
8 – GREAT-BRITAIN
Half of the season and for the first time this year the pole was not with McLaren. More than that, the front row was dominated by Ferrari´s drivers, with Berger and Alboreto. Senna 3rd, Prost 4th, Gugelmin and Capelli amazing 5th and 6th with their March and Piquet 7th. In the Sunday a deluge came to Silverstone track, and decided Prost´s race. He would abandon it when he was racing in 16th place, one lap down of Senna! Berger took the lead at the lights, Senna 2nd, Alboreto 3rd, Gugelmin 4th, Capelli 5th, Nannini 6th, Mansell 7th, Piquet 8th and Prost 9th in the final of first lap. Prost was dopping down while Berger and Senna were fighting and scaping from the field. In the lap 14th Berger and Senna were behind...Prost! Exactly when Berger misjudged the speed of Prost and others latecomers before Woodcote chicane, Senna dived inside him almost touching Prost, taking first place. Berger still tried to follow him, but it was impossible. Senna, flying, disappeared and some laps ahead, started to manage to victory. Mansell and Nannini were in a big battle, overtaking Berger, changing positions between them with some risks. When Mansell overtook Berger he almost went out of the track, but manage to continue. Nannini spun twice: one when Mansell overtook him, other when he was under braking zone at Woodcote chicane, this time losing the second place he had recovered from Mansell. Senna won, Mansell spetacular 2nd for his crowd delirious, Nannini 3rd, Gugelmin fabulous 4th, Piquet drog his car to 5th and Warwick 6th. Berger, 9th, became without fuel in the last corner of the last lap, losing his 6th place!
Championship standings: Prost, 54 (4 victories) where group by Senna, 48 (4 victories) where group by Berger, 21 where group by Piquet, 15 and Alboreto, 13.
9 – GERMANY
Things were again in McLaren´s hands in the practices, with Senna storming the pole with more than 1,5 seconds ahead third place, Berger. 100th race for Piquet, who would run only few meters, as he started with slick tyres in a wet track and lost control of the car in the second chicane. In the race, Senna easily again coould manage to victory, with Prost almost going off the track when he made a mistake at exit of the second chicane. Were in points: Senna, Prost, Berger, Alboreto, Capelli and Boutsen.
10 – HUNGARY
Pole for Senna, but the surprise would be the second place for Mansell and only 7th for Prost! In the race, Senna suffered a big pressure by Mansell, until the british made one his usual mistakes and spun, losing the chance to fight. He would abandon the race later due to bad phisical conditions...Prost made a great recovering to second place and strated to push Senna. When they met some latecomers, he moved inside Senna in the mains straight, but Senna squeeze him and he braked on debris zone, sliding and losing position to Senna again. He would never have another chance to pass, arriving 0,5 seconds behind Senna. The relationship between them were not so good as in the beginning of the year. Boutsen, Berger, Gugelmin and Patrese complete those who scored points.
11 – BELGIUM
Nineth pole of the season for Senna, even the record of Peterson, Lauda and Piquet. Unleess this time the difference between McLaren and the third place was not so big: 0´8 seconds to Berger. Prost started better than Senna, but just after the famous Eau the Rouge, Senna overtook Prost and pulled away from his team-mate. Boutsen would make his crowd happy with third place, followed by Nannini, Capelli and Piquet. Capelli made the moment of the race, overtaking Patrese in the outside of the same corner one year before Mansell and Senna touched wheels and spun.
12 – ITALY
Enzo Ferrari died in August, just one month before the Italy GP. But the destiny would present him and his amazing tiffosi with a one-two in the race!. A result that nobody could expect as McLaren were dominating all the races until now...Senna pole again, 10th of the season, with Prost, Berger and Alboreto close to him. Both McLarens took the front and pulled away from the Ferraris, but Prost would have engine problems and stopped at 34th lap. Senna had more than 25 seconds ahead Berger when he met Schlesser at the first chicane. The french tried to open space for Senna, who immediately moved inside, but Schlesser had to avoid go off track and also turn, touching Senna´s right rear wheels, causing his abandon. The crowd became crazy, as with Senna out, Berger and Alboreto were in 1st and 2nd place! Alboreto scored the fastest lap twice reducing his difference to Berger to 0´5 seconds at the line! First time both McLaren out this year. What a party for the italians...
13 – PORTUGAL
McLaren prepared a new chassis for Prost to Portugal GP, what didn´t give much satisfaction to Ayrton, as he manage with some problems all week-end...Prost in pole with Senna second, Capelli 3rd, Berger 4th and Gugelmin 5th. First start canceled due to a little accident with Martini. In the second start, Senna took the front, but in the main straight Prost took his vacum, and move inside to pass, but was squeezed by Senna. He almost touched the pit wall, but manage to stay in track and took the lead from Senna. Senna would have a lot of problems and would arrive only in 6th place. Prost won, with Capelli amazing second. But Capelli received a order from the team to slow down, because Gugelmin had a engine problem earlier and the team want to garantee the points. Berger was fighting with him, but made a mistake and spun off. Points: Prost, 81 and Senna, 76.
14 – SPAIN
Another pole for Senna, but another victory for Prost. Senna again had problems with his car, could be only 4th. Now, Prost, 90 (6 victories) and Senna 79 (7 victories). But as it would be counted only the best eleven results for the tittle battle, if Senna won Japan GP he would be the champion.
15 – JAPAN
Senna stormed another pole, with Prost second. At the start, he let his engine off, what caused a big scare moment for Berger and Piquet that were just behind him. With a big lucky, Senna could re-start his engine and complete the first lap in 8th place. It took 27 laps and some raindrops, but Senna managed to overtake Prost and won the race and the championship in a astonishing style. Prost, after the race, justified that he had a little problem with gearbox...
16 – AUSTRALIA
13th pole of the season for Senna, but Prost managed to start in front, with Senna, Berger and Piquet following him. Berger took the lead and pushed very hard. It seemed he would be unstoppable, but them he found Arnoux in the end of the back straight. He got mixed up, trying to overtake Arnoux when it was too late, as Arnoux had already began to turn and the touch was innevitable. Berger out, Prost could easily won, Senna 2nd and Piquet 3rd. A podium with six championship tittles – Piquet (3), Prost (2) and Senna(1)!
* Asked what he wanted as a gift for his 100th race, Piquet said: “Both McLarens crashing each other, so the race can be mine...”
* With his victory at Japan Senna marked a new record of 8 victories in a season.
* With his pole at Australia, Senna also marked a new record of 13 poles in a sesaon.
* During this year the brazilian Roberto Moreno was the test driver for Ferrari. He developed the new and revolutionary John Barnard´s model 639, with his shift gear installed in the steering wheel, with a different gearbox design with 7 speeds.