Grand Prix Classic




Round 8 - British Grand Prix
Silverstone, 19-21 July, 1985

Continuing the mid-season sequence of fast circuits, Silverstone was another track that was a much-used testing venue. The meeting was surrounded by speculation that the circuit would be modified with further chicanes to slow its' high average speed.

The French Grand Prix had seen a return to form for both Brabham and McLaren, and proven that Rosberg's form at Detroit was no fluke. With Lotus and Ferrari still looking strong, the championship was finely balanced at its' midpoint.


Entry Notes

For his home race, Derek Warwick was given a new Renault RE60B to match team-mate Tambay.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

Rosberg was once again the star of qualifying - managing an astonishing average speed of over 160mph, seven tenths ahead of Piquet. Prost was third, very much in contention, with Senna 4th.

The sessions had been disrupted by indifferent and downright unpleasant weather, but there had been enough dry track time to have most roughly where they should have been. Mansell bounced back from his accident at Paul Ricard to post 5th-fastest time, with Alboreto 6th. Row 4 was filled by de Cesaris and de Angelis, with Fabi an excellent 9th ahead of Lauda.

Johansson once again struggled in practice, only starting 11th, ahead of the ineffective Renaults of Warwick and Tambay. Brundle once again only just broke into the top 20 in the turbo Tyrrell (still using 1984-spec engines), while team-mate Bellof's DFY-engined car was 11 seconds (or 23mph) from pole.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

After the mixed weather of the practice days, Sunday was dry, if still overcast and windy. Home hopes took a hit when Brundle was left on the grid as the cars set off on the parade lap, instead being forced to start from the back of the grid. Getting off the grid wasn't a problem for Senna, however, who conjured up tremendous momentum to slip into the lead on the outside of Copse, followed by Rosberg, Mansell, Prost, de Cesaris, Piquet and Alboreto.

Further back, Tambay made a mess and span, losing the front-left corner of his car and sending Johansson sliding off, with Alliot and Ghinzani both taken out as the rest of the field took evasive action. Senna neatly rebuffed an exploratory thrust by Rosberg on the second lap, the pair pulling away from Mansell, while de Cesaris nipped past Prost at the Woodcote chicane to sit 4th. A couple of laps later, the Ligier was past Mansell into 3rd, but could do nothing about catching the front pair, or really get away from Prost, who had also got past the second Williams.

On lap 9, Prost finally got to grips with the upstart de Cesaris and retook him at the chicane, despite the Italian's best attempts to make things difficult for him. Once in clean air, the McLaren started to run well, and begin to gain on Rosberg. Senna for his part was beginning to pull clear of the Williams in traffic (lapping Bellof and Martini on only the 11th lap), with Prost around ten seconds back. In the second McLaren, Lauda advanced to 7th after a poor start, while de Angelis retired the second Lotus - ending a run of seven straight points scores. Prost made it past Rosberg on lap 15, the Finn's tyres beginning to fade, and set off after the leading Lotus.

Lauda in the second McLaren was still going well, taking 4th from de Cesaris. Moments later, that became 3rd as Rosberg pulled up with a broken exhaust; Mansell had also stopped with a broken clutch four laps earlier. This left Senna being caught steadily by Prost, with Lauda some way behind and seeming to find the limit of his pace - the gap to the leading pair came down to 20 seconds, but fell no further than that, though he was at least edging away from de Cesaris.

Piquet's hopes that Ricard had seen a corner turned seemed to be dashed, as in cooler weather he wasn't able to match the leaders' pace (especially with the BMW engine detuned in order to aim for a finish) and indeed he soon lost 5th to Alboreto's ill-handling Ferrari. To blame it all on Pirelli would be harsh, though - already trailing de Cesaris by some distance, the Brabham would be caught and passed by Laffite before long.

In the meantime, battle was joined up front as Prost caught Senna in a flurry of fastest laps. Once there, however, he could make little impression on the Lotus. Senna's verve in traffic would allow him to stretch the lead to a second or so every now and then, but on a clear track Prost could close right back up. Both were trying to monitor their fuel consumption at the same time, but still continued to pull away from the rest.

The gap back to third grew even bigger, as first de Cesaris' excellent drive came to an end with a broken clutch, and then Lauda was coasting when his management system failed, cutting power to the TAG engine. This left a lapped Alboreto in third, from Laffite, Piquet and Warwick; only 11 cars were still competitively running by now, although de Angelis had rejoined some 28 laps adrift in order to test a few things.

Sadly, Senna and Prost's gripping duel came to a premature end when the Lotus' Renault engine cut out, and let Prost through into the lead, seemingly without much contest. However, the motor came back on song and Senna blasted back into the lead at Stowe. This only lasted a few corners before the engine went off again, with Prost taking first place back at Copse, and this time it was for good as Senna parked up near the pit wall, out of fuel. A post-mortem later revealed that one bank of cylinder monitors had failed, and Senna's computer had been giving him incorrect consumption figures.

This left Prost to take his third win of the season uncontested, though one final twist came when the RAC marshals mistakenly showed the chequered flag a lap early. Prost did the extra lap just to make sure, but further back confusion reigned. Alboreto was certainly second, while Laffite finished the 64th lap third but stopped out on the circuit, out of fuel. Behind him, Piquet completed 65, but Warwick also stopped on 64.

There was little option open to declare the result as at 65 laps, meaning Laffite kept 3rd, Piquet was only 4th, Warwick was 5th and Surer was 6th from Brundle. In the initial confusion, the timers briefly declared Surer and Brundle ahead of Warwick, but the mistake was quickly corrected. To add one last little bit of farce to a race that fizzled badly in the closing laps, Prost promptly dropped the trophy, while the podium ceremony went ahead before Laffite had made his way back from his stranded car.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG
65
1h 18m 10.436s
3
2
Michele Alboreto Ferrari
64
+ 1 lap
6
3
Jacques Laffite Ligier-Renault
64
+ 1 lap
16
4
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
64
+ 1 lap
2
5
Derek Warwick Renault
64
+ 1 lap
12
6
Marc Surer Brabham-BMW
63
+ 2 laps
15
7
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Renault
63
+ 2 laps
20
8
Gerhard Berger Arrows-BMW
63
+ 2 laps
17
9
Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo
62
+ 3 laps
14
10
Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault
60
+ 5 laps/Out of fuel
4
11
Stefan Bellof Tyrrell-Cosworth
59
+ 6 laps
26
R
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG
57
Electrics
10
R
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW
57
Spun off
19
R
Andrea de Cesaris Ligier-Renault
41
Clutch
7
R
Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Motori Moderni
38
Transmission
23
NC
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
37
Still running
8
R
Manfred Winkelhock RAM-Hart
28
Engine
18
R
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda
21
Exhaust
1
R
Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda
17
Clutch
5
R
Eddie Cheever Alfa Romeo
17
Engine
22
R
Jonathan Palmer Zakspeed
6
Engine
24
R
Teo Fabi Toleman-Hart
4
Clutch
9
R
Stefan Johansson Ferrari
1
Accident damage
11
R
Patrick Tambay Renault
0
Accident/Johansson
13
R
Philippe Alliot RAM-Hart
0
Accident/Ghinzani
21
R
Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo
0
Accident/Alliot
25

Fastest Lap: Alain Prost (McLaren), 1:09.886s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Michele Alboreto
37
2
Alain Prost
35
3
Elio de Angelis
26
4
Keke Rosberg
18
5
Stefan Johansson
16
6
Nelson Piquet
13
7
Patrick Tambay
11
8
Ayrton Senna
9
9
Thierry Boutsen
6
=
Jacques Laffite
6
11
Nigel Mansell
5
12
Stefan Bellof
4
=
Derek Warwick
4
14
Niki Lauda
3
=
Andrea de Cesaris
3
=
Rene Arnoux
3
17
Marc Surer
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
Ferrari
53
2
McLaren
38
3
Lotus
35
4
Williams
23
5
Renault
15
6
Brabham
14
7
Ligier
9
8
Arrows
6
9
Tyrrell
4