It happened today

A controversial win for Nigel Mansell

23 Sep 1990

On 23rd September 1990, Nigel Mansell won the Portuguese Grand Prix. It was the Englishman’s third and last win with the team from Maranello and definitely the most controversial. In qualifying, the two F1-90s of Mansell and Prost monopolised the front row, with the Frenchman’s rival for the title, Ayrton Senna in the McLaren, just beaten into third place. Only 44 hundredths of a second separated pole from the Brazilian’s third spot. The foul deed came at the start: Mansell’s only concern was shutting the door in his team-mate’s face and the violent duel meant that not only did Senna and his McLaren team-mate, Berger, get past, but so too did Piquet. On that day, the Ferrari was clearly superior to its rivals, which allowed Mansell to retake the lead, but Prost paid a high price for the duel because, along with the race being neutralised for a while and then it coming to a premature end because of an accident involving Alex Caffi, he was unable to get ahead of Senna to make up ground in the points table. The fallout to the incident was extreme and, to this day it is still talked about whenever the topic of team orders relating to Ferrari is brought up. That day, if indeed there had been orders, they were not respected, but from that day on, things changed a lot, and all for the better for the Scuderia…