Round 14 of the 1993 Formula 1 World Championship saw the sport descend on Estoril and there was a champion waiting to be crowned.
Alain Prost, already a three-time World Champion, had taken a sabbatical the year prior and returned to partner Damon Hill, a new-look line-up.
With seven race wins already under his belt this year, the Frenchman had missed out on the chance to secure the title one race prior in Monza. However, a late engine failure five laps from home meant the champagne was put back on ice.
Heading to Portugal, Alain had a 23-point advantage over Damon and with just three races to go, time was running out for those to catch him – in ‘93, a winner could only score 10 points.
However, The Professor would create headlines even before hitting the track that weekend. On Friday morning, he confirmed he would retire at the end of 1993, bringing to an end 13 seasons in motorsport’s top tier.
The following day he’d qualify on the front row, but just behind his teammate but come the start of the race, he’d immediately inherit the lead after Damon stalled his car on the formation lap.
Alain with his second place Portuguese Grand Prix trophy.
This set the precedent for what turned out to be a relatively unconventional afternoon by our 1993 standards – Alain was jumped at the start by Jean Alesi, Mika Häkkinen and Ayrton Senna and was in P4 after the first lap, with Michael Schumacher right behind.
We ran a one-stop strategy for both of our drivers, with Alain managing to make the jump back to P1 as those ahead of him either boxed or were forced to retire.
The Frenchman made his one and only trip to the pits on Lap 29 and Schumacher, who had also opted for a one-stop, successfully undercut Alain and gained the lead of the race once Damon made his sole stop.
He’d spend the remainder of the race staring at the back of the Benetton, something he didn’t have to do too many times that year.
Running in a comfortable P2, Alain knew all he had to do was bring it home and the title would be his for a fourth time.
The podium celebrations in Estoril.
As he started the final tour of the 4.349km Estoril Circuit, he found himself on the tail of Schumacher whilst Damon, who had fought from the back of the field, was some five seconds further back.
The legendary Murray Walker proclaimed “I don’t think he’s going to attack Schumacher” – a statement that was true for all of 30 seconds.
“AND PROST IS ATTACKING! My goodness, he’s not giving up. He IS going to go for the lead, he IS pushing Michael Schumacher,” Murray cried as the champion-elect went wheel-to-wheel with the then 24-year-old around Turn 7.
There was to be no last-lap overtake, but Alain didn’t mind – his points tally ticked up to 87 giving him an unassailable lead.
Alain Prost had become a four-time World Champion, the first to reach the milestone since Juan Manuel Fangio had done so in the ‘50s.
WATCH: Prost's 1993 triumph
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