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Your classic grand prix - race 19

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Andrew Benson | 13:05 UK time, Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The 1993 Portuguese Grand Prix is our chosen race for the final edition of our classic Formula 1 series this year.

That means we will broadcast the full 'Grand Prix' highlights programme shown on BBC Two at the time, as well as the shorter highlights edit that we have cut for all our choices.

That 'Grand Prix' programme is embedded below, with the shorter highlights clips linked underneath. There are also short and long versions of last year's inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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Watch short highlights of the 1979 US Grand Prix East
Watch short highlights of the 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix
Watch short highlights of the 1991 Mexican Grand Prix
Watch short highlights of the 1993 Portuguese Grand Prix
Watch short highlights of the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Watch long highlights of the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The classic races will be available on the BBC red button in the UK on satellite and cable from 2200 GMT on Wednesday 10 November until 1300 GMT on Friday 12 November. On Freeview, they will be available between first and second practice on Friday (approximately 1040-1240 GMT).

The 1993 Portuguese Grand Prix is a fascinating race, not only for the action on the track, but also for the fact that it has something of a fin de siècle feeling about it.

It was an event that, in hindsight, seems to encapsulate the passing of the torch from one generation to the next.

It was the race at which the great Alain Prost clinched his fourth, and final, world championship title, and at which he announced his retirement, not willing to go toe-to-toe again with Ayrton Senna, who had signed to drive in 1994 for Williams, where Prost drove in 1993.

The Frenchman won the title by finishing second to an emerging star called Michael Schumacher. The German's Benetton was slower than Prost's Williams but Schumacher defended his lead with all the lack of compromise for which he was to become notorious in future years.

Meanwhile, McLaren gave a debut to another promising talent, a certain Mika Hakkinen.

The Finn would go on to win two world titles in 1998 and 1999, becoming the man to push Schumacher hardest until the emergence of Fernando Alonso, but was, at this stage of his career, McLaren's test driver.

Hakkinen had driven for struggling Lotus in 1991-2, but moved to McLaren in a downgraded role in 1993 on the promise of being given a chance to race at some stage.

That chance came in Portugal, after team boss Ron Dennis had grown frustrated by the continuing struggles of Michael Andretti.

Hakkinen wowed F1 by outqualifying Senna on his debut. The great Brazilian was very far from amused.

Senna wasted no time in dispensing with Hakkinen in the race, but the Finn had made his point - this was a special talent awaiting the chance to blossom.

So, it is a superb race, laden with symbolism.

As I explained in my blog on Tuesday, though, all the choices this time were great in their own way.

There was a victory by the incomparable Gilles Villeneuve at Watkins Glen in 1979, his final win in a year that established him as the finest driver in the world, following a battle with Alan Jones of Williams, whose race ended when he accelerated away from a tyre stop too soon and he lost a wheel.

And in Portugal in 1988, there is one of the defining episodes in the bitter battle between Prost and Senna, when Senna pushed Prost so close to the pit wall in trying to defend the lead that those holding signalling boards had to move them out of the way.

Finally, there is a fight between team-mates in a great car, with Riccardo Patrese getting the better of Williams team-mate Nigel Mansell in the 1991 Mexican Grand Prix despite the Italian suffering from a stomach upset.

I hope you enjoy them.


  • Comment number 1.

    What a choice! Great way to end a great year and on the red button to boot!

    Keep up the good work, Andrew. Can't wait for the Classic GP feature to return next year.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great stuff.
    Thanks for the availability on Freeview - my recorder will be set.

    Any news on the format of Classis GP for next season?

  • Comment number 3.

    Brilliant choice and on red button....yay!

  • Comment number 4.

    What a legendary Schumi performance. Putting a car that has no right to be in the top 3 firmly on the top step of the podium!

  • Comment number 5.

    Great to see a race from the first year of me watching F1. Driver of the day has to be Damon Hill. Last to 6th in 20 laps then onto 3rd and almost up to the leaders.... slightly overlooked in your report above Andrew! After all he was the moral championship winner the following year!
    Amazed to see so many school boys errors from Hakkinen, Herbert, Lamy, Patrese and the best of all from Berger! Never seen that little move since!

  • Comment number 6.

    Looking forward to watching these later on. Thanks for all the excellent choices this year (apart from Germany, which i'll forgive!) and looking forward to seeing what's in store for 2011.

    And may the best man win in Abu Dhabi!

  • Comment number 7.

    I must admit to being a tad disappointed the older races missed out, but I can't complain too much!

    I'm pleased to read that Freviewers - to coin a phrase - get to suckle on Classic F1's teat. (Ee-ewe! What a ghastly image that is!) Thanks to Andrew Bensonmum for managing to swing that one, and if he didn't, well thanks anyway.*

    This will probably be my last posting before I nestle down for the Winter in a soft bed of Autosport back issues, arising periodically to sniff the glossy pages of the Autocourse annual, and to warm myself before the glow of the official 2010 DVD, before returning to my slumber.

    It's been frustrating, but mostly fun.

    Have a good one,


    *for Bensonmum, see "Murder by Death"

  • Comment number 8.

    Thanks Andrew!

    Look forward to this returning next year!

  • Comment number 9.

    Assume the Freeview Controllers on his holidays to let this one slip through the net? Get in!!!

    Many Thanks Andrew - Top Idea - Top Feature.

    Your efforts are appreciated.

  • Comment number 10.

    21:24 lollipop man in a suit ?

  • Comment number 11.

    Terrifc, thank you. Just watched them all. Didn't take too long, and yes, did 'fast forward' some of them, but still, great stuff.

    Quick question should anyone have the answer:

    In the older races the cars were nowhere all over the kerbs as they have been in recent times. When did the drivers start attacking the kerbs on corners so aggressively as they do nowadays? I think Schumacher may be one of the pioneers of this style of driving, but of course, I could just be completely hyper after that mega F1 hit.

  • Comment number 12.

    I didn't get the choice of voting, what happened? Have I been asleep since Sunday? I'm not having a go but I am confussed!! to be honest I didn't think for some reason this would be on. I'm Happy that it is and Thank You to Andrew and the BBC for providing such a good service during the season, Yes we did go without when the World Cup and the Commonwealth games but credit where it's due. Thank You for providing us with the 'Classic races' and I hope it contiunes for 2011.

    I think we should be thankful to this service it's fantastic!

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi Andrew, the rest of the F1 web team & all the regular posters (?),
    Yes, looking back at the 93 Portuguese GP, its was a bit sad being the end of a truly great era. I was surprised Ron put up with M. Andrettis (he wasnt even that great an IndyCar racer, only 1 title from 15 or something years - a PALE shadow of his F1 champ Dad) antics for so long, he probably wouldnt have survived that long nowadays, especially in a top team like McLaren. And also a bit depressing with Lotus who just seemed to ebb away year by year after they lost the great Colin Chapman, only Senna was able to bring some of the old magic back, lets hope Proton & Tony Fernandes pump some decent money and bring in the right staff, Id hate to see Lotus becoming a laughing stock again. No problemo regarding the address for BBC complaints - the more people that complain, the better the chance of this continuing on Freeview, kudos to the red button schedulers for managing to find some space - I just hope they do a better job next year (thats assuming classic GP will continue, lets hope it does!). And before I forget, just to repeat to look out for a second hand copy of Sonys official F1 01 & 02 games for the PS2 for £2 from Gamestation (I dont work for them, honest!). Not for the games (theyre a bit dated now), but for the bonus DVD Video of the official FIA review of the previous season with multi-stream footage from Bernies old Digital+ service in widescreen (ITV was standard ratio then), no Murray though, sadly. Finally Im going to miss the friendly banter from you crazy boys & girls here during the off season, all the best to you all.

    Until March 2011,


  • Comment number 14.

    Unfortunately the red button isn't showing any F1 at the moment.

  • Comment number 15.

    Yeah, have just had a look at it, am on Sky and all there is showing is sports news and indoor bowls on the sports multiscreen. Hope it comes back on, would be a shame to miss the last one for the year after all the great archive races shown during the year!

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree, sat here (impatiently) waiting for my F1 fix !!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Back on red button, not on freeview!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Great to see these highlights as always. Inexplicably I missed the blog for the voting, must have been confused by there only being one week between Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

    I would like to thank you for your work in getting the Classic Grands Prix feature onto our screens for the second year, and I really hope you will be able to continue it next season.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hello Andrew hello everyone. 1993 was classic season. In this year Ayrton displayed his wonderful skill at Donnington. Michael won superbly in Portugal. It was also a very sad season to see the retirement of Alain Prost. Because it meant the end of great battles with Ayrton Senna which was the era of F1 i was introduced to coming to an end. For me this was when the culture of F1 racing changed. Once again Andrew i would like to say thankyou for bringing back some great memories. All the best.

  • Comment number 20.

    I've enjoyed reading this blog since I discovered it a couple of months ago, there seems to be a decent cross section of contributors including a few geezers like myself that have been following the sport since the seventies.

    Of the classics on offer this week the one that stands out in my memory is the 1979 USA East. Alan Jones was having an amazing run at the title in the FW07. The car had suffered with some initial reliability problems but was quickly sorted and scored it's first victory at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone driven by Clay Regazonni (Jones retired from the lead). After the inaugural victory the car went on an amazing run of back to back victories at the hands of Jones, propelling him into a late season title fight with the Ferrari's. At Watkin's Glen the wheels fell of the Williams challenge, and Ferrari took the title, and it was raining if my memory is intact.

    I've been an F1 fanatico since that Regazzoni victory in'79 and have seen a lot of amazing drives, drivers, and races, and if you were to ask me to pick (and I know your not....but) the races that left lasting impressions I would say:

    1. 1989 Japanese GP - The straight mano et mano fight for the World Championship between bitter rivals, Prost and Senna in equal equipment

    2. Monaco 1981 - Gilles Villeneuve forcing his overweight over powered turbo lagging Ferrari through the narrow gate to victory. He had to be lifted from the vehicle due to exhaustion

    3. Portugal 1985 - Senna's first win driving a black and gold Lotus in the rain

    Sorry for nominating all pre Schumacher events but I agree with Isaac12, there was a culture change in F1 in the 1990's and it's different now, although 2009 was a bit of a throw back. Add the 2009 Australian GP to the list hopefully everyone can enjoy that memory.

  • Comment number 21.

    Fascinating watching the older races. 30 seconds for a tyre change at Watkins Glen!! Love the shaky captions too - bring back Letraset and card!


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