Williams FW14 - Renault
Williams FW14B - Renault
Williams-Renault (2nd) 125pts
Riccardo Patrese (3rd) 53pts
"In his role as Williams’s number two driver, Riccardo Patrese performed magnificently throughout the season, bringing to bear an appealing blend of determined, well-judged driving on the track and unfailing charm and good manners off it. Unquestionably the most endearing quality projected by Grand Prix racing’s most experienced performer was the sheer delight he derived from winning races. Listen to Riccardo at a post-race press conference and you’ll find it difficult to suppress a spontaneous smile. Suddenly, Formula 1 doesn’t seem to be the overtly complicated, dramatic or tediously esoteric affair that Senna and Mansell so frequently make it. After his wins in Mexico and Portugal there were absolutely no complaints about the car. Everything was perfect from start to finish, he reported, grinning his contented grin.
From the start of the year, Riccardo did everything required of him. With Mansell accorded priority access to the spare car, Patrese’s role was clear-cut from the outset. He was quicker than Mansell in qualifying for the first seven races of the season, but there was never a time when he sought to make political capital out of what was, in effect, a false advantage. He was happy with his own situation and content to be judged on his own high level of performance.
At Mexico he drove brilliantly to hold off a recovering Mansell and he returned to Europe after the mid-season American tour nurturing very real personal ambitions of the World Championship. Gearchange problems at Magny-Cours and a rare error at Silverstone, where he chopped across Gerhard Berger’s McLaren on the first corner and found himself pitched into instant retirement, began to unravel those ambitions.
They were finally knocked on the head at Spa, where an inoperative reverse gear at post-practice scrutineering resulted in him being dropped from second to 17th on the starting grid for the Belgian Grand Prix. Even so, he stormed through the field to such good effect that it began to look as though he might challenge Senna’s McLaren for the lead in the closing stages, only for his transmission to stick in fifth gear, forcing him to settle for fifth place at the chequered flag. At Monza he matched Mansell and Senna for sheer speed before breaking the clutch as he restarted following a spin, and at Estoril he put in a brilliant qualifying performance, bagging pole position thanks to the use of Mansell’s spare FW14 in the final moments of the second session.
A willing, effective test and development driver, Riccardo contributed a lot to Mansell’s World Championship challenge and even more to Williams’s attempts to dislodge McLaren from their stranglehold on the constructors’ title. Although neither of these ambitions were realised, it’s difficult to see how Patrese could have offered more to the team’s overall effort."
The Top 10 in full:
1. Ayrton Senna 2. Nigel Mansell 3. Riccardo Patrese 4. Alain Prost 5. Gerhard Berger
6. Nelson Piquet 7. Jean Alesi 8. Pierluigi Martini 9. Andrea de Cesaris 10. Mark Blundell
race reports & Articles
Riccardo's Race Comments
USA GP – PHOENIX
“I had a problem with the gearbox and was in neutral. I was sure I could make it round the corner like that, but then it found second, my rear wheels locked and I spun. It was a completely blind third or fourth gear corner and my problem was whether to stay in the car or not. I stayed and was hit by the Benetton of Moreno and I felt a bang to my lower leg. On lap 22 I tried to overtake Nigel, he braked late and I picked up a lot of dirt on my tyres and went straight on.“
SAN MARINO GP
“I got a good start and was able to get the lead and push very hard for the first four or five laps. I was pulling away from Senna and kept my eye on the gap as I wanted to still be in front of him at the moment I put on the dry tyres. When I thought it was time to go into the pits to change tyres the engine started to misfire. I came in and as I got to the pit my engine died completely. Really that was it for the race as I spent so long in the pits. I went out again and was following Senna and felt I could stay with him. I think I could have fought for the win today, but we had a bit of bad luck.“
“There was nothing I could do when Modena’s engine blew in a big way in front of me as it was like being on ice.“
“I had a gearbox problem from the start. I went from first then to neutral, and not into second. It was then okay until the pit stop and then again I had the problems. I would have liked more points, but I think today’s result was good for Williams and especially Renault at their home race.“