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The Five Best Drives of Alain Prost

Andrew Szekler writes about the excitement of Formula One racing.

Alain Prost raced in F1 between 1980 and 1993 and gave the fanbase some absolutely memorable performances. He is widely remembered as one of the greatest drivers who have ever raced in F1, and his duels with Ayrton Senna are a high point of the sport.

Just like in my previous posts about Michael Schumacher and Senna, it was difficult to pick out just five great races, but in the end, I did.

1984 Dutch GP

McLaren was the dominant team in F1 during the 1984 season. Alain Prost and his teammate Niki Lauda dueled fiercely for the title throughout the season. Going into the Dutch GP, the wily, experienced Lauda was leading his teammate in the standings.

Prost took the pole position for the Dutch GP, but Lauda was not far behind, and by this stage of his career, Lauda was not really bothering with qualifying and instead focused on setting up his car for the race.

Piquet took the lead at the start, but he was closely followed by Prost, and knowing the reliability of Piquet's car, no doubt Prost was just biding his time. Piquet dropped out of the race after 10 laps, and Prost took the lead. He maintained his lead for the rest of the race and won the race relatively comfortably from his teammate to close the gap in the standings.

1986 Belgian GP

Prost had a great start to 1986, and after four races, he was leading the championship. He arrived in Belgium on the back of two wins and was among the favourites to win in Spa Franchorshamps also.

Prost had a good qualifying session, but he was hit at the start and dropped back to the back of the grid with a car that was heavily damaged. After an extra pit stop, Prost rejoined the race, and despite the damage his car sustained, he was constantly one of, if not the fastest car on the track, and in the end, fought his way back to a hard-earned sixth place.

1990 Spanish GP

Prost left McLaren at the end of the 1989 season, as his relationship with his teammate Senna had completely broken down, and he accused Honda of favouring Senna over him. He joined Ferrari for the 1990 season and was once again fighting with Senna for the title.

Going into the Spanish GP, Senna was leading Prost in the standings by 18 points, and all he needed was a win to clinch the title. However, Prost was not about to go down without a fight.

Senna took pole, but Prost was lining up immediately alongside his rival on the grid. The two maintained their positions after the start, but Prost looked easily faster than his rival during the first phase of the race. He was unable to get by as the Honda engine of the McLaren was incredibly powerful and gave a great straight-line speed for Senna.

Prost got by after their pit stops and pulled away from his rival. Once he was in the lead, Prost was in a league of his own and oftentimes was lapping up to two seconds faster than anybody else. In the end, Prost was also assisted by a little luck, as Senna dropped out of the race with a technical problem. Prost, by winning the race, closed down Senna's lead to nine points.

1988 French GP

McLaren was utterly dominant during the 1988 season, and they began the season with 6 wins out of 6 races. Their two drivers were ultra-competitive, and both Prost and Senna won three races.

Going into the French GP, momentum was seemingly on the side of Senna, as he bested his teammate in the previous two races in Canada and in the US.

But if people were thinking that way they were to be proven wrong, as Prost looked lightning-fast all weekend and easily had the measure of Senna in the qualifying session.

He maintained his lead after the start and opened up a small lead, but a slow pit spot dropped him behind Senna on lap 36. Nonetheless, Prost did not lose heart and chased down his teammate. He was up on the gearbox of his teammate lap after lap, but unable to pass until the backmarkers impeded Senna and Prost made a brilliant opportunistic move to retake the lead.

Once in the lead, Prost never looked back and pulled away from his teammate to win his home race.

1990 Mexican GP

Going into the Mexican GP, Prost and Ferrari were on the back foot. After his win in the Brazilian GP, Prost failed to challenge Senna and was 17 points down on his rival after five races.

Prost had a struggle during the practice sessions of the Mexican GP to use the qualifying tyres and instead decided to concentrate on his race setup. This shifted focus cost him in the qualifying session when Prost got only 12th place on the grid.

Nonetheless, Prost remained upbeat and quietly confident about his chances in the race. At the start, the McLarens took the lead, but Berger was soon into the pits with blistered tyres. In the meantime, both Ferraris were making their way through the field and by halfway, Mansell and Prost were second and third. Prost was even faster than his teammate and got by him.

At the time Senna looked relatively comfortable, but he started to slow down, and the Ferraris caught him up. The Ferraris went by on lap 61, and Prost eased away to take a very impressive win.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Andrew Szekler