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This is the complete race as broadcast on LIVE TV.
The system of pre-qualifying was developed in response to the increasing number of teams competing in
Formula 1. It was decided that 30 cars were the maximum safe limit to compete for 26 grid places. The
cars which had to pre-qualify were decided at the beginning and the midpoint of each season. The 26 cars
which had achieved the best results in the previous two-half seasons automatically entered official
qualifying for the race. All the other cars had to pre-qualify for the four other slots available for official
qualifying. Those that failed to pre-qualify just went home.
There was a lively battle for pole position between Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger, again dominant in
the McLarens, while Alain Prost was third in his Ferrari, Thierry Boutsen fourth in his Williams, and fifth
position was occupied by Nigel Mansell in the other Ferrari. A surprising Sandro Nannini would take sixth
on the grid, and as the race unfolded, he would find himself head-to-head with the great Ayrton Senna.
Senna would lead into the first turn, but there was mayhem behind him. Aguri Suzuki’s Lola slid into
Nelson Piquet’s Benetton, which slid into Nigel Mansell’s Ferrari, which turned and went nose-first into
the barrier, blocking the track. As everyone dived for the outside line the two Lotuses collided. Further
around the lap Nakajima hit Stefano Modena’s Brabham and parked himself on a curb. Emanuele Pirro’s
Dallara, starting from the pit lane, came to a stop as he accelerated onto the track. Nicola Larini’s Ligier
was parked close by. There were red flags and the race was brought to a stop.
After a delay, the race was restarted from the grid. Once again Senna took the lead, but this time Thierry
Boutsen scurried into second place ahead of Gerhard Berger. But again, the red flags flew as Paolo Barilla
crashed hard at Eau Rouge and bits of his Minardi were all over the road.
On the third attempt to start the race, Senna once again took the lead, this time followed by Berger,
Prost, and Boutsen. Nigel Mansell’s race was when he experienced suspension problems on lap 11. On lap 14
Prost overtook Berger for second and soon afterwards Gerhard was under threat from Boutsen. He pitted
for new rubber. At the same time Patrese disappeared with a gearbox failure. On lap 21 Boutsen’s race
ended with transmission failure. Senna and Prost both pitted for new tires. When Senna rejoined, he came
out just a few car lengths in front of Nannini, who tried everything to get by the Brazilian, who launched
into some severe blocking maneuvers. As Senna’s lead grew, Alain Prost would get past Nannini to take
second place. But when Gerhard Berger caught up to the Benetton of Nannini, he refused to give up third
place. Both cars collided on lap 36, but continued on in the race. As Senna reeled off the final laps ahead
of Prost, Berger again put pressure on Nannini. On lap 41 of 44, Nannini made a mistake and Berger sailed
past to take third place.
This is an original 1990 ESPN broadcast, rescued from an old VHS tape, with commentators Bob Varsha
and David Hobbs. During the red flag down time, there are a few driver interviews as well as technical
information on the 1990 F1 cars.