Sep 11, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT
Enxo Ferrari, who founded his great eponymous racing team in 1929, passed away on August 14th, 1988.
Two weeks later his famous red cars race at Spa-Francorchamps but came away empty-handed, while rivals McLaren claimed their eleventh win in as many races and eighth one-two. Prospects for the next event, Ferrari’s home race, looked gloomy.
But fortune smiled on the tifosi 25 years ago at Monza.
Race day dawned with the familiar sight of two McLarens on the front row of the grid. The Ferraris lined up behind them: Gerhard Berger swapping between his race and spare car as the team tried to pin down a niggling fault, Michele Alboreto making his final appearance in his home race as a Ferrari driver.
From the start things didn’t go quite according to plan for McLaren. Shortly after pulling away Alain Prost’s engine began to misfire. But Ayrton Senna assumed his usual commanding lead.
On the 15th lap Lotus driver Satoru Nakajima – who like the McLaren drivers was Honda-powered – pulled into the pits to retire with a faulty piston. This raised few eyebrows, but when Prost’s fault became terminal 20 laps later Senna was put on alert.
He had plenty of time to spare – at this point he was 26 seconds up the road from Berger. He backed off, took his time in traffic and looked after his engine. With two laps to go the Ferraris were closing in and Senna was beginning to feel the need to pick up the pace.
It was at this point he came across the Williams of Jean-Louis Schlesser. Deputising for an unwell Nigel Mansell, Schlesser had qualified two seconds slower than his team mate on a track with seven corners.
Wasting no time, Senna thrust his McLaren down the inside of Schlesser at the first chicane and took up the racing line. The Williams driver thumped into the side of the MP4-4, tipping it into a gravel trap.
While Senna impotently spun his wheels the two Ferraris motored past to a famous victory, and most of Italy erupted in applause. It was the only time McLaren were beaten all year.
Mar 28, 2015, 7:49 AM EDT
Merhi and Stevens miss the 107% time required to qualify in Malaysia, but are granted dispensation by the FIA stewards.
Vettel hoping for more rain on Sunday after scoring Ferrari’s first front-row start in two years (VIDEO)
Mar 28, 2015, 7:30 AM EDT
Felipe Massa was the last driver to start on the front row of the grid for Ferrari, lining up second for the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Mar 28, 2015, 7:10 AM EDT
German driver cannot improve with his final lap in Q3, leaving him third on the grid behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
Mar 28, 2015, 4:45 AM EDT
Could a thunderstorm rain on Mercedes parade? Join us for qualifying from 5a ET today.
Mar 28, 2015, 3:06 AM EDT
German driver edges out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in final practice at Sepang.
Mar 28, 2015, 1:30 AM EDT
FP3 for the Malaysian Grand Prix rolls off at 2 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Mar 27, 2015, 7:08 PM EDT
Rain washed out Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying for this weekend’s 6th annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.
Mar 27, 2015, 6:03 PM EDT
No IndyCar second practice, and other notes from St. Petersburg.
Mar 27, 2015, 5:50 PM EDT
Michael Johnson in ICU after practice accident at St. Petersburg.
Mar 27, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
Are Red Bull’s recent quibbles about Mercedes’ dominance well-reasoned, or is it simply a case of sour grapes?
Mar 27, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
Marciello becomes the first Italian driver in four years to take part in an F1 weekend session.
Mar 27, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
2014 GP2 champion will take part in his first F1 grand prix weekend session in Shanghai.
Mar 27, 2015, 1:50 PM EDT
Will Power leads IndyCar’s opening practice session of 2015.
Mar 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT
However, Renault could pull out of F1 altogether in the near future should it decide that its involvement is no longer viable.
Mar 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
Hot conditions make for difficult running during practice on Friday.
Mar 27, 2015, 11:06 AM EDT
Wilson and Andretti – finally confirmed.
Mar 27, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT
Defending world champion sidelined by engine issues in FP1 on Friday.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT
Hitachi and Brembo back in IndyCar for 2015.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT
Spaniard completes 45 laps in Friday practice as he gets back behind the wheel of an F1 car for the first time in a month.
- Hamilton tames wet conditions to grab pole in Malaysia 0
- WATCH LIVE: Malaysian GP qualifying at 5a ET on NBCSN and Live Extra 0
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- NHRA: Rain washes out Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying four 4-Wide Nationals 2
- The Equalization Conundrum: Should F1 put sport to one side in favor of ‘the show’? 5
- Practice setbacks leave Hamilton “quite a bit off” in Malaysia (VIDEO) 2
- Verizon IndyCar Series 2015 preseason content roundup 0