The 1981 Spanish Grand Prix was one of the closest finishes in Formula One history.
Behind Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari who won the race, the four following cars finished in just 1.24 seconds. This was the Canadian’s last victory, an heroic one like most of his races.
His Ferrari 126CK was far from competitive in 1981, but you could always count on the little Canadian to challenge for the win.
On lap 14, Jones who was leading went off the track and left Villeneuve in the lead with Carlos Reutemann (Williams) on his tail.
Behind them Watson, Laffite and de Angelis closed on the leaders and soon the five front-runners became a train of cars, packed for the remaining laps of the race.
Villeneuve used the power of his Ferrari engine on the straight to gain a few meters, but struggled for grip in the corners, and his rivals were all over him.
But heroically he held off all his rivals and won the race by the slightest of margins.
- Gilles Villeneuve, Ferrari.
- Jacques Laffite, Ligier-Matra +0.22s.
- John Watson, McLaren-Ford +0.58s.
- Carlos Reutemann, Williams-Ford +1.01s
- Elio de Angelis, Lotus-Ford +1.24s
- Nigel Mansell, Lotus-Ford +28.58s