Remembering Spa 1985

Alliot crashed his RAM going down to Eau Rouge

Suddenly, the top 3 were in the pits. Mansell somehow got out ahead of Senna, but the Brit spun his wheels coming down the hill and the impatient Brazilian moved onto the wet line, found more grip and somehow got back past before they arrived at Eau Rouge. He then drove off, never to be seen again. Mansell had a slow spin La Source on the 11th lap and lost barely 10 seconds. On the way down the hill to Eau Rouge, Alliot spun his RAM in a straight line and rammed the wall.

By now, the sun was out and Senna was in a class of his own setting fastest laps and pulling away from the field by as much as a second a lap. Prost – who’d earlier been passed by Rosberg – had begun to re-catch the Finn. Back at the pits, the rain started to fall once again, but as is usual with Spa it was still dry at the far side of the circuit, although there was quite a downpour around Pouhon. The Lotus pitcrew stood waiting in the pitlane with wet tyres for their lead driver should he choose to come in, for fellow Lotus driver Elio De Angelis had already broken down some laps earlier.

Hearts stopped at Lotus when De Angelis retired early on

Within a handful of laps, the rain had stopped and the sun was out again but the track was sufficiently wet to make it very slippery indeed, though no one pitted for more tyres.  As Senna scythed through the backmarkers, it was quite clear no one was going to touch him unless he broke down.The Williams were running line astern behind with Rosberg challenging Mansell strongly for 2nd place and a lapped Martin Brundle held them both up momentarily, nearly allowing Rosberg alongside his team mate. After falling back slightly for a number of laps, Rosberg caught Mansell again and harried him for several more laps when Rosberg slowed dramatically at La Source and fell right back. Three corners later, Mansell relieved the pressure Rosberg had put him under by driving straight on at Les Combes across the mud, but no damage was done. Rosberg emerged from the pits with new tyres and got back up to speed again leaving an uneventful final ten laps of the race.

Prost put on a late charge to set fastest lap, but no one could touch Senna and he won his second Grand Prix without putting a wheel wrong. He showed he could beat Prost on talent alone and Prost set the marker by winning the championship.

Senna was utterly dominant in 1985 setting 7 pole positions and leading more laps than anyone else, but his car more often than not let him down. Had Senna driven in a more reliable car, he would have absolutely blitzed Prost and all his other rivals in 1985.

Could Senna have won the championship in 1985? Discuss here at The Fastlane: