1984: Last title win for Lauda
The 1984 season came to a close with the Portuguese Grand Prix, and McLaren team-mates Niki Lauda and Alain Prost were both in the running to seal the Drivers’ Championship. Lauda led the title hunt by 3.5 points after Prost had won the previous round. The Frenchman won again in Portugal, but Lauda’s second place finish was enough to confirm his status as a three-time World Champion. The Austrian won the title by just 0.5 points – the smallest margin by which a title has been won. Lauda’s final title victory is one of three Drivers’ Championships which have been decided at the Portuguese Grand Prix. Jack Brabham won his second title at the event in 1960, while Alain Prost won his fourth and final title at the 1993 Portuguese Grand Prix.
1960: First podium for Jim Clark
While Jack Brabham secured his second title at the 1960 Portuguese Grand Prix, Jim Clark recorded the first podium finish of his career. Clark had damaged his Lotus in practice for the event on the Friday evening prior to the race but lined up eighth on the grid. He made up five places to finish third and take the final podium spot. He was the second Scottish driver to finish on the podium in Formula 1 after Ron Flockhart, who finished third in the 1956 Italian Grand Prix. Clark recorded a further 31 podium finishes in his career, with all but six of those being victories.
1985: First win for Ayrton Senna
Ayrton Senna recorded his first Formula 1 victory at the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix. On his seventeenth Grand Prix appearance, the Brazilian took the first pole position of his career by over four tenths of a second. The Grand Prix was held in wet conditions and Senna dominated proceedings. Having taken pole, he won the race, set the fastest lap and led from start to finish, becoming only the fifteenth driver to record a Grand Slam in F1 – a feat he’d achieve three more times in his career.
The 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix is also the only Portuguese Grand Prix which did not run to its full scheduled distance. Senna won having completed 67 of the 70 laps, with the race ending three laps early due to reaching the 2-hour time limit.
1959: Only Grand Slam for Moss
Talking of Grand Slams, Stirling Moss recorded the only Grand Slam of his career at the 1959 Portuguese Grand Prix. This race was the only F1 race to be held at Circuito de Monsanto, which was dubbed a logistical nightmare, due to the circuit making use of a usually busy highway and passing over tram lines. Moss was one of few drivers to have previous experience at the track, and that experience showed as he took pole position by two seconds and won the race by over a lap!
1989: Only time Minardi led a race
Minardi competed in Formula 1 for 21 seasons, but the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix is the only race which the team led. After qualifying an impressive fifth, Pierluigi Martini led the 40th lap of the Estoril race. Martini went on to finish the race in fifth, equalling what was at the time the team’s best result, though this would be bettered by Martini himself at the same circuit two years later, when he finished in fourth place. Minardi are one of only two teams, along with Gordini, who have only ever led a single lap of a Grand Prix. Gordini led their only lap on the opening tour of Spa Francorchamps in the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix.