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Why the 1991 Australian GP was the shortest F1 race in history
It was supposed to be a regular Sunday race, but the 1991 Australian Grand Prix entered history books as the shortest F1 race ever.
Legendary Ayrton Senna had already secured his 3rd championship in the previous race in Japan. That was also known for being Alain Prost's last race in Ferrari-when he said that his car was handling like a truck on Suzuka, the Prancing Horse sacked him and hired Gianni Morbidelli from Minardi.
However, the weather conditions in Adelaide were awful. There was so much rain that the judges had meetings whether the race should be cancelled or not. But, the media pressure forced to continue with their plans. Ayrton Senna started the race at pole position, followed by his teammate Gerhard Berger and Nigel Mansell (Williams).
Senna in front of his teammate Gerhard Berger. Credit: CarThrottle.com
Pretty soon, Mansell overtook Berger and went to fight for the 1st place. The fight was strong, and Senna was requesting race cancellation every time he crossed the start/finish line, saying that it was too dangerous to drive. And it was; the amount of rain caused many cars to be sent into barriers.
Senna leading in front of Mansell. Credit: ESPN.co.uk
In the 16th lap (out of 81 laps planned), a red flag was shown to announce that the race was being cancelled. But, the official results were counted at the end of 14th lap, meaning that the 15th and 16 lap were invalid. The race lasted for 24 minutes and, as I said, is known as the shortest F1 race ever.
Senna won the race, followed by Mansell, Berger, Piquet (Benneton), Patrese (Williams) and Morbidelli. Unfortunately, Mansell wasn't able to go to the podium due to losing control in the 16th (invalid) lap, and he was hospitalized.
Mansell's car after the race. Credit: Motorsport.com