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The 1993 Spanish Grand Prix
History tells us that three names stand out on the all-time drivers' Formula 1 list; those names are Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. While Schumacher belonged to a different era, there was one time when all these three gentlemen took the same podium.
By 1993, Prost and Senna were world-famous F1 champs while Schumacher was still a budding champ. Despite being a rookie when compared to the past-masters like Senna and Prost, Schumacher had already won few races which classified him as better than many newcomers of his time.
Having the benefit of hindsight, we now know what a powerful podium the 1993 Spanish GP presented. It was never repeated or replicated, and it never happened before, either. Let’s get to know what led to these elite drivers sharing the same podium.
Off to the 1993 Spanish Grand Prix.
1993 Spanish GP – An Expected All Williams Affair
The Williams dominated the 1993 season because of the active suspension and the most powerful car on the track. The race was expected to be a contest between Alain Prost and his teammate Damon Hill while most others would be the also-ran cars. The precursor of things to come was the qualifying where Hill took pole followed by Prost.
The race started in the same order as the grid positions – Hill leading Prost with Senna following in third place and Schumacher in fourth. The pace of Senna’s McLaren was almost matched with Schumacher’s Benetton since both shared the same Ford engine, albeit a slight horsepower difference. Alain and Hill pulled away quickly leaving the track with two contests – one between Hill and Prost and the second between Senna and Schumacher.
Watch the video to get a sense of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Since it is a thirty-two minutes video, let me highlight the main events of the race.
Though Hill pulled away at the beginning, there were signs of oil leak from his car. It did appear that Hill was losing power and Prost overtook him at lap 11 coinciding with 7:50 in the video. Prost stayed ahead for the rest of the race despite few overtake attempts by Hill. Surprisingly, Hill’s car was performing well.
By lap 41 coinciding with 17:00 minutes in the video, however, Hill retired. The new standing positions were Prost, Senna and Michael Schumacher. Senna had opened up a lead of more than 20 seconds over Schumacher which meant that he could go in and come out of the pits in front of Schumacher. At 19:50 though, the pitstop did not go as planned; it was still good enough for Senna to come ahead of Schumacher. Schumacher had already pitted, and with Senna in view, the German realised that he had a chance.
Meanwhile, at 20:30 minutes, Alain Prost had overtaken the fourth-placed man leaving only Senna and Schumacher on the same lap as the lead car. The superiority of the Williams was apparent from the fact that Prost had more than 50 seconds lead over Senna’s McLaren seen at 21:50 minutes in the video. Ironically, Prost was not pushing to the limit as the car was vibrating up-and-down sending the vibrations to the steering wheel as well. Later analysis showed that the nuts on the rear wheels of the car were loose after the last pitstop, which resulted in the vibrations across.
The race was far from over for Schumacher, though. He was putting up fastest lap after fastest lap catching up with Senna. At one point, the difference was only 2.6 seconds between the second and third place car. But this attack was soon stymied by Zanardi’s blown up car, which pushed Michael off the track, momentarily, at 23:40 minutes in the video. Luckily, Michael was able to join back.
At 27:00 minutes the race ended with Prost first, Senna second and Schumacher third. If not for Hill’s unfortunate retirement, this podium wouldn’t have been possible.
1993 Spanish Grand Prix Celebrations
The end of the race, as mentioned earlier, culminated into a podium of heavyweights of the F1 world. Here is the video.
There is hardly anything to be spoken about the video but the fact that some things could not be missed. Like at 1:20, the boyish looks of Schumacher applauding Prost taking the trophy and at 2:15 him being happy and smiling while taking his trophy. Again at 2:38 Senna appearing to be disconnected with the proceedings and Schumacher being the exuberant Champagne sprayer. On hindsight, Schumacher never lost his verve to spray Champagne all through his career.
By 2:40 Senna is already off the podium while Schumi and Prost continue. Well, we may not know what was going through Senna’s mind, but he, definitely, was a shade of his normal self.
The Post-Race Press Conference
The closure of the race is with the post-race press conference. Alain mentioned about his car’s vibrations and the physical toll it took on him. Watch the video here.
The Spanish Grand Prix was one of those races with the maximum engine blowouts, and it all happened around Senna and Schumacher. No doubt, they shared the same experience.
That brought the curtains down on one of the most magical moments of Formula 1
Back to the Garage
The 1993 Spanish GP will always be remembered for the incredible once-in-a-century podium result. The sheer number of wins and titles of the gentlemen on the podium was mesmerising. A total of 14 world titles and 183 wins between the legends.
Since the beginning of Formula 1 in 1950, leave alone the wins or the podium finishes, 183 may not even be the career races that many drivers would have had. That speaks volumes of what the world witnessed in the Spanish Grand Prix back in 1993!
© 2019 S K