The 1991 Japanese Grand Prix was the 15th of 16 races of the championship and fight for the drivers’ championship was still open. It was the fifth consecutive year that the championship was decided on the famous Suzuka circuit
After controversial championship deciding races in 1989. and 1990. when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost collided, this time it was Senna versus Mansell at the same track.
In Japan was also elected the new president of the FISA (today’s FIA) Max Mosley who replaced Jean-Marie Balestre.
Mansell in his Williams FW14 with Renault’s 3.5-liter V1o engine should win to stay in the hunt for the title in the final race of the season in Australia.
Senna in his McLaren MP4/6 with Honda’s 3.5-liter V12 engine should finish ahead of Mansell to secured the third title.
McLaren secured the front row with Gerhard Berger qualified on the pole and Ayrton Senna in second place, 0.198 behind the Austrian. The third was Mansell (+0.222 s) and the fourth was Alain Prost (+1.970 s).
At the start of the race Berger retained the lead, but Senna blocked Mansell as British driver did to him a month ago in Portugal. Andrea de Cesaris spun in his Jordan and Wendlinger, Pirro and Lehto not managed to escape and they all retired.
Berger has built a lead and Mansell continued to press Senna until lap 10 when he made a mistake in the first corner, spun and retired stuck in a sand trap.
After Mansell retired, Senna and Berger brought home 1-2 for McLaren. Berger initially let his team mate through, but Senna slows down in the final lap and allows Berger to win the first race for McLaren, sixth in his F1 career (from total of ten).