Jean Alesi My best race - US GP 1990

Jean Alesi
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I I may have won a Grand Prix in Montreal in 1995, but that The race that I remember best is the one that made me known. It was the 1990 GP USA in Phoenix.

I had already been on Tyrrell for six months and was starting my first full season. Shortly before the season, Tyrrell changed the tire brand - from Goodyear to Pirelli. I had never driven those things before. With only nine Grand Prix under my belt, I wasn't exactly a tire expert.

Our designer Harvey Postlethwaite gave me a short introductory course: 'They have a lot of grip on one lap, and they bounce more on the bumps . ' We didn't expect much. The Pirellis were ideal for a street course. The less grip the asphalt offered, the greater their advantage.

Alesi with a dream start to the top

When we had qualifying tires, things went well from. That's why I was really excited about the final training. In my excitement I ran over the car a bit, but it was still enough for fourth place on the grid. At the start I wanted to make up for everything. I had never been this far ahead. Berger, Senna, all the stars around me.

I get away really well, hit a few hooks, and suddenly I'm in the lead before the braking point. Then it flashed through my head: I hope all my friends from Avignon are watching now. I pictured them sitting in front of the television and enjoying themselves. For me, a dream had come true.

I am the son of a coachbuilder. For me, Formula 1 was like a doctorate. After the first corner, the whole field was behind me. Okay, I told myself, it won't last long. Make sure you survive at least the first lap as the front runner.

Alesi's tough fight against Senna

I turned up steam, looked in the mirror and couldn't believe it: The Cars in it got smaller and smaller. I knew the Pirellis would make the race distance. I just couldn't take it too hard. So I slowed down a bit, but was still comfortably in the lead.

Just before halfway through the race, I saw a white and red car growing bigger and bigger in the mirror. Senna was on the march. Then I thought of my buddies again. They should be at home in Avignonhave some fun. The senna doesn't get me so easily. I concentrated on braking as late as possible.

When he attacked me at the end of the home straight, I was on the brakes later than late. But he too. I just thought: My God, he's really a magician. But then I see how he can't get the car into the corner and I'm through again inside. I yelled into my helmet with joy.

Senna angry despite victory

Same game next round. But this time he had learned. He parked his car so that I couldn't go inside. After that, I focused on taking second place home.

Ayrton came to me on the podium. He disliked the fact that someone was disturbing his circles. And that I drove around in front of his nose for so long. Somehow he wanted to explain to me that he was about to change his tires. I was almost embarrassed that he was looking for an excuse. He was a great guy, but he had no mercy on that. He was number one. Somebody like me had to accept that.

Admonition from the team boss

Ken Tyrrell was overjoyed. He laughed all over his face. Then he raised his forefinger and said seriously: 'Jean, we're not going for victories. We need points.' I said to him, 'Ken, I don't care about your points. If I can drive for the win, I'll fight to the last cartridge. Wasn't that good when a Tyrrell led in the first corner?' Ken looked at me and smiled wisely: 'Jean, you don't have to lead in the first, but in the last corner.' He was a great team boss.


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