1991 San Marino Grand Prix
- Sunday, April 28, 1991
- Gran Premio di San Marino
- F1 World Championship
Imola, April 28: A vast crowd stayed in silence to watch Ayrton Senna as he reeled off the 61 laps of the splendid Autodromo 'Enzo and Dino Ferrari' at Imola to win the 11th Gran Premio di San Marino for McLaren-Honda. Apart from this being the third time he has won the Imola race, the significant point was that it was his third win this season in the brand new McLaren MP4/6 powered by the equally new Honda V12 engine, and at the time of writing there have only been three races. While other teams are suffering 'teething' troubles with new cars or new engines, McLaren-Honda came straight out and proceeded to win with the new designs.
For the Italians, and that means Ferrari enthusiasts, the whole meeting was a disaster and, in fact, there was only one occasion to cheer loudly. This was mid-way through Friday qualifying when Patrese held temporary 'pole position' time with his Williams FW14 with Renault V10 power. On the second runs Prost took the lead with 1.22.195 (Hurrah!), but then an embarrassed silence fell as Patrese did 1.21.957; admittedly he was a true Italian but his car was Anglo-French and painted in a motley mixture of blue, white and yellow. If it had been painted red it might have helped. Then Senna went out in the red and white McLaren-HondaV12 and 1.21.877 was enough to snatch pole-position for the time being. On Saturday the rains came and they stayed on and off for the next two days. Friday's times settled the grid line-up and the race itself was settled almost before it started on Sunday.
A look down the accompanying starting grid will indicate which teams got off to a good start at this first European Formula One race, and which were in trouble. Some of them could have improved their situation had the weather stayed fine and others might have done if they had not had to bring along brand-new and untested cars, all of which produced murmurs of sympathy until you realized that the McLaren-Honda V12 was equally brand new when it won its first race in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 10th and won again in Brazil on March 24th. People say that McLaren-Honda 'keep moving the goal-posts' but I think they are in a different 'ball-game' at the moment.
Permanent road course
Damon Hill (Williams FW16-Renault), 1m24.335, 133.696 mph, F1, 1994
First Race1954 Imola Grand Prix