After 30 laps, Senna had caught up to Alesi, who was driving in only his ninth Grand Prix race and whose V-8 Ford engine had 100 horsepower less than Senna's Honda. Senna had been waiting to make his move until he burned off more fuel—had he charged any earlier, he explained after the race, the weight of his fuel-laden car might have overheated his brakes. Said Alesi, "I was surprised when he closed on me, and I push again, very hard. But he was better. It was not possible to defeat him."
Which is not to say Alesi just handed the race to Senna. On Lap 34 Senna out-braked Alesi on the inside going into the first turn, a hard right, and pulled ahead. But Alesi came right back and surprised Senna by squeezing underneath him in the hard left turn that followed to retake the lead. "I had the possibility to overtake him, without the big, big problem [of putting either car at risk]," Alesi explained at a postrace interview.
"Just," said Senna with a tight smile. But one lap later, Senna repassed Alesi in the same spot and moved to the left to thwart any attempt by his rival to regain the lead. That taken care of, Senna pulled away to win by 8.6 seconds, with Thierry Boutsen of Belgium a very distant third in a Williams.
"Alesi was driving hard, very precise, really on the limit—it was a hell of a drive," said Senna. "I realized I had to do my best to overcome him. These situations are when I get my enjoyment in my profession."
Not everyone shared in that enjoyment. Immediately after the race, Balestre was spotted standing on the victory stand. He discreetly left just before Senna arrived.