Brazil, a grand prix with a remarkable history

Nelson Vicente – Contact: [email protected]

Ayrton Senna’s first victory in Brazil was in 1991.

The Brazilian Grand Prix is ​​one of the competitions that leaves an indelible memory in all those who have had the opportunity to attend at least one of its editions.

The color, the fanaticism, the joy felt and expressed by the fans make this Grand Prix one of the most outstanding competitions of each season.

And, of course, to that must be added a huge number of events that have generated a very particular legend for this grand prix, allowing it to occupy a prominent place in the history of Formula One.

The Brazilian Grand Prix has the particularity that for several seasons it was located in the first dates of the calendar, while for several years it has been among the final dates of the season, which has allowed it to be the setting for the crowning of several world champions.

The first edition was in 1972, at the Interlagos circuit, in São Paulo, and Carlos Reutemann was the winner, but without awarding points for the championship. The following year he entered the World Cup calendar. The winner was Emerson Fittipaldi with Lotus.

King Emo won again the following year and in 1975 José Carlos Pace triumphed. The other Brazilian drivers who won were Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Felipe Massa, each achieving two wins.

The first time it was run at the disappeared Jacarepaguá racetrack in Rio de Janeiro was in 1978, with Lole Reutemann as the winner. The second, in 1981, also had the remembered Argentine driver as the winner, escorted by Alan Jones, thus giving the Williams team a 1-2 win.

An edition well remembered for the controversy generated by the famous “Jones/Reut” poster, with which the team ordered Lole to let the Australian pass. But the santafesino disobeyed the order and stayed with the disputed victory.

The famous “Jones/Reut” poster from the 1981 Grand Prix. Photo: AFP.

Among the most dramatic definitions of the world title, that of 2008 has a privileged place. Felipe Massa won the race and it seemed that he was champion, because Lewis Hamilton was in sixth place.

I perfectly remember the euphoria of my Brazilian colleagues in the press room celebrating Felipinho’s title. But they didn’t notice that on the entrance corner to the straight, the last corner of the grand prix, Timo Glock (running fifth) slightly lost control of his car, because the track was wet, allowing Hamilton to pass him. In this way, the Englishman came in fifth place and added the necessary point to beat Massa by a single unit in the championship, thus obtaining his first world title.

Another frustrating finish for the Brazilians was in 2009, when Jenson Button was crowned early in São Paulo, beating his BrawnGP teammate Rubens Barrichello.

The Brazilian Grand Prix holds a very special place in the successful history of Fernando Alonso. It was in Interlagos where the Spaniard won his two world titles.

Another of the agonizing definitions was that of 2007, when Kimi Raikkonen defeated the two McLaren drivers, Hamilton and Alonso, with his Ferrari, winning the title by one point.

Ayrton’s first victory in Brazil

For his part, the first time that Ayrton Senna was able to win the Brazilian Grand Prix was in 1991, when he had already been crowned world champion twice, in 1988 and 1990, but he still owed a great debt to his fans. : to succeed in “his” grand prix, something that Ayrton himself had pending among his greatest desires.

Until that year 1991, the Paulista had had to settle for twice on the podium. In 1986 he was second with Lotus and in 1990 he finished third with McLaren.

His first victory, nothing more and nothing less, that in his own city, San Pablo, was full of drama until the very moment of arrival.

Because Ayrton had to make a remarkable effort, which left him completely exhausted, to the point that they had to help him out of the McLaren.

Before the delirium of the thousands of fans, the São Paulo native started the grand prix from the first place on the grid and was dominating the race without major problems, followed by the Williams of Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese.

With 11 laps to go, gearbox problems started and fourth, third and fifth gears were lost. As he could, Ayrton continued with the second and sixth, with a large dose of tension and nervousness. Finally, he was able to reach the end, escorted 2.9 seconds behind by Patrese.

Thus, Ayrton obtained his first victory in “his” grand prix.

Prost holds the winning record

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Alain Prost won six editions of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

French driver Alain Prost is, to date, the top winner of the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix, having managed to win it six times. The first five victories were obtained at the Jacarepaguá racetrack in Rio de Janeiro. The first, in 1982, with Renault and the other four, in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988, he got them with McLaren.

But surely the last triumph, achieved in Interlagos, in 1990, is of great importance to Prost for various reasons.

That year the grand prize returned to San Pablo, hometown of Ayrton Senna, with whom the Frenchman already had a very tough rivalry. And, furthermore, Ayrton had never been able to win in Brazil, so Prost’s victory was very special.

Brazil, a grand prix with a remarkable history