It happened today

Alain Prost victory opens up Worlds

30 Sep 1990

On 30th September 1990, Alain Prost won the Spanish Grand Prix. The weekend at Jerez de la Frontera got off to a terrible start when Martin Donnelly crashed heavily into the barriers in his Lotus, during Friday free practice. The serious injuries he sustained put an end to the Northern Irish driver’s still brief career in Formula 1. The race came a week after the Ferrari politicking at the Portuguese Grand Prix, where Nigel Mansell had triumphed. Prost complained in public about the behaviour of his team-mate, who had not helped him in his fight for the title with his great rival, Ayrton Senna.

In qualifying, as was often the case, the Brazilian was untouchable, taking pole ahead of the two Ferrari men. But in the race, the F1-90 confirmed the fact it was the best car at this stage of the season, especially when it came to managing its tyres. In the early stages, Senna managed to keep the Frenchman behind him and this time, Prost was not having to deal with attacks from his team-mate. On a track where overtaking was and still is difficult, the race was decided at the pit stops. Prost managed to get ahead of the Brazilian, who then had to fight Mansell to hang on to second place. Then, the McLaren driver had to retire when the radiator broke and Ferrari took a relatively straightforward but fantastic one-two. With two races remaining, the result in Jerez reopened the fight for the title and riding the wave of success in the Iberian Peninsula, Prost seemed capable of getting the job done. Three weeks later at Suzuka it would be time to settle old scores with his long time rival.