Prost had qualified on pole, but then lost out to Senna upon the race starting. The Frenchman drew close at the end of lap 2 though, and had Senna in his sights. Pulling out of his slipstream as they shot past the pits, Prost took the inside line.
His Brazilian team-mate then decided to test out just how brave Prost really was. In a bid to fend off the Frenchman, Senna squeezed him up against the concrete walls as they headed towards 200mph.
Prost held his nerve and took the lead into Turn 1, but in the turbocharged monsters of the day – which were not exactly stable at high speed – this was scary stuff. Safe to say the four-time world champ was not amused.
Nigel Mansell – 1989
The first half of Mansell 1989 Portuguese GP went well at least…
Grand Prix Photo
Nigel Mansell had a bit of a horror show at Estoril ’89, but as usual he still managed to entertain.
Starting 3rd the Brit hounded Ayrton Senna for 2nd place early on. After getting past Senna, he then performed stunning triple pass to take the lead on lap 23.
Mansell tracked his Ferrari team-mate Gerhard Berger through the final corner, just as the Austrian was coming up to lap a squabbling Derek Warwick and Stefano Modena.
Throwing all caution to the wind, Mansell decided to use the situation to his advantage. Pulling out from behind Berger, he then dived inside of Warwick and Modena going into T1, going three abreast in a bid to engineer a gap between himself as Berger. It worked, and he took the lead with aplomb.
Later on in the race, he’d overshoot his pit box, reverse in the pitlane to find it again, receive a black flag for his troubles before claiming to see and then crash into Senna as they fought for 2nd again. We’ll gloss over all those bits.
Jacques Villeneuve – 1996
Jacques Villeneuve came into F1 as the typical IndyCar upstart – the North American kid looking to ruffle some feathers.
If one moment encapsulated this the most, it was probably his audacious move on the then-reigning F1 champ Michael Schumacher at Estoril in his debut season of 1996.
Villeneuve had to win this penultimate race of the season if he wanted to stay in touch with Damon Hill in the championship.
He started 2nd behind Hill, but had a bad getaway and lost positions to Schumacher and the Benetton of Jean Alesi.
Luckily, his Williams FW18’s superior performance allowed him to pull up to Schumacher’s Ferrari for 3rd. As they say in F1 though, catching someone is one thing, passing is quite another.
As it turned out, the French-Canadian decided he could use his American oval knowledge on the European road courses.
“Once, during testing, I’d told the team that the final corner was a bit like an oval, and I was convinced it was possible to overtake on the outside,” he told ESPN in 2010.
As they approached that final winding turn, Schumacher came upon Minardi driver Giovanni Lavaggi. The German took his foot off the accelerator slightly so as not to catch the backmarker mid-corner, and Villeneuve saw his chance.
Going into full-on mode ‘IndyCar-mode’, the Williams driver took the outside line and sling-shotted round the outside. It wasn’t a move without its risks though…
“Halfway through the corner I got ahead of him, but I was a little bit too wide and started sliding on the marbles, so Michael pulled next to me again,” he remembered. “It was very close because at some points our wheels were interlocking. It was fun. I’m just pissed off the camera missed it from the outside.”
The incredible move was successful, went into grand prix legend and many an F1 highlights reel as Villeneuve went on to kept his ’96 title hopes alive. The French-Canadian would ultimately lose out to Hill in Japan, but on the way engineered an overtaking manoeuvre for the ages.