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Portugal  1991 Portuguese Grand Prix
Race details
Race 13 of 16 in the 1991 Formula One season
Date September 22, 1991
Official name XXIII Grande Premio de Portugal
Location Autódromo do Estoril
Course Permanent racing facility
4.350 km (2.703 mi)
Distance 71 laps, 308.850 km (191.910 mi)
Weather Sunny and warm
Pole position
Driver Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault
Time 1:13.001
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault
Time 1:18.179 on lap 43
First Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault
Second Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda
Third France Jean Alesi Ferrari

The 1991 Portuguese Grand Prix was a Formula One race held at the Autódromo do Estoril on September 22, 1991. It was the thirteenth round of the 1991 Formula One season.



The only change to the driver line-up was that Johnny Herbert was back at Lotus and managed to qualify, something that Michael Bartels had failed to do in his three outings for the team. The sunny Estoril was a popular venue among the drivers and qualifying saw a bit of a role reversal with the top teams' second drivers beating the championship contenders with Riccardo Patrese on pole alongside Gerhard Berger, with Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell third and fourth respectively. The top ten was rounded out by Alain Prost, Jean Alesi, Maurício Gugelmin, Pierluigi Martini, Ivan Capelli, and Michael Schumacher, the Benetton team a little off their usual pace.

On Sunday Morning Prost's Ferrari had a rather dramatic blowup in the warmup, and the Frenchman had to start the race in the spare car. The start was very eventful with Patrese getting away well and with Mansell aggressively chopping across the front of Senna. Unimpressed, he tried to retake Mansell going into the first turn but Nigel held his line and then proceeded to sweep underneath Berger to grab second at the second corner. After lap 1 the order was Patrese, Mansell, Berger, Senna, and Alesi. Mansell seemed content to shadow Patrese until lap 18 when he slipstreamed past his teammate on the main straight and proceeded to pull away. Things were looking well for Williams until Mansell came in for his stop on lap 29 and things went horribly wrong. The right rear tyre men got confused and one mechanic raised his hand when the other had not gotten the wheel perfectly on. Mansell set off down the pitlane but his tyre did not want to comply and the frustrated Englishman was left stranded in the middle of the pit lane with three wheels. The team ran out and put a fourth wheel on the car, breaking many rules in the process.

Mansell emerged in 17th place and started a furious charge through the field. He was up to sixth when he was inevitably shown the black flag on lap 51; with this disqualification, his championship hopes hung by a thread. The whole accident left Patrese comfortably in the lead from Berger and Senna, and Senna went second when Berger's engine blew on lap 37, he was followed out of the race by Prost's Ferrari, which also decided it had enough. On lap 40 the order was Patrese, Senna, Alesi, Martini, and Capelli, with the latter three being involved in an exciting battle for third place; Alesi didn't make errors despite being under pressure from the Minardi, and so the order remained unchanged until the late stages when the fifth placed Capelli suffered a front wing problem and ended up in the barriers. Patrese cruised home to his second win of the season and fifth of his career. Senna was second and tightened the screw on his third drivers title. Alesi, Martini, Piquet, and Schumacher rounded out the top six. With three races to go Senna led Mansell by 24 points.


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 71 1:35:42.304 1 10
2 1 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 71 + 20.941 3 6
3 28 France Jean Alesi Ferrari 71 + 53.554 6 4
4 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ferrari 71 + 1:03.498 8 3
5 20 Brazil Nelson Piquet Benetton-Ford 71 + 1:10.033 11 2
6 19 Germany Michael Schumacher Benetton-Ford 71 + 1:16.582 10 1
7 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin Leyton House-Ilmor 70 + 1 Lap 7  
8 33 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Jordan-Ford 70 + 1 Lap 14  
9 24 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Minardi-Ferrari 70 + 1 Lap 13  
10 32 Brazil Roberto Moreno Jordan-Ford 70 + 1 Lap 21  
11 26 France Érik Comas Ligier-Lamborghini 70 + 1 Lap 23  
12 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Yamaha 69 + 2 Laps 19  
13 3 Japan Satoru Nakajima Tyrrell-Honda 68 + 3 Laps 17  
14 11 Finland Mika Häkkinen Lotus-Judd 68 + 3 Laps 24  
15 9 Italy Michele Alboreto Footwork-Ford 68 + 3 Laps 22  
16 25 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Ligier-Lamborghini 68 + 3 Laps 20  
17 16 Italy Ivan Capelli Leyton House-Ilmor 64 Spun Off 9  
Ret 4 Italy Stefano Modena Tyrrell-Honda 56 Engine 12  
DSQ 5 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault 51 Disqualified 4  
Ret 30 Japan Aguri Suzuki Lola-Ford 40 Transmission 25  
Ret 27 France Alain Prost Ferrari 39 Engine 5  
Ret 2 Austria Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda 37 Engine 2  
Ret 21 Italy Emanuele Pirro Dallara-Judd 18 Engine 16  
Ret 22 Finland Jyrki Järvilehto Dallara-Judd 21 Gearbox 18  
Ret 8 United Kingdom Mark Blundell Brabham-Yamaha 12 Suspension 15  
Ret 12 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Lotus-Judd 1 Engine 26  
DNQ 29 France Éric Bernard Lola-Ford    
DNQ 17 Italy Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Ford    
DNQ 34 Italy Nicola Larini Lambo-Lamborghini    
DNQ 35 Belgium Eric van de Poele Lambo-Lamborghini    
DNPQ 18 Italy Fabrizio Barbazza AGS-Ford    
DNPQ 14 France Olivier Grouillard Fondmetal-Ford    
DNPQ 10 Italy Alex Caffi Footwork-Ford    
DNPQ 31 Portugal Pedro Chaves Coloni-Ford    


  • Nigel Mansell's fastest lap was not discounted, despite his disqualification
  • Nigel Mansell was disqualified for an illegal pit stop. He pitted from the lead but one of the mechanics on the right rear wheel signalled his job was done whilst his fellow mechanic was still fixing the wheel which fell off the car less than 10 yards later; Mansell's car was fixed up with the 4th wheel in the middle of the pit lane and lifted manually by mechanics, but this was against the rules and caused the disqualification. Mansell had rejoined 17th but was back in 6th when he was black flagged.
  • Last race: Pedro Chaves
  • This was the last race for Olivier Grouillard with Fondmetal in 1991. He was sacked by that team following Monday after this race.
  • Last disqualification - Nigel Mansell


Previous race:
1991 Italian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1991 season
Next race:
1991 Spanish Grand Prix
Previous race:
1990 Portuguese Grand Prix
Portuguese Grand Prix Next race:
1992 Portuguese Grand Prix


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