Lotus were quickest in qualifying, with Elio De Angelis outpacing Ayrton Senna. The Ferraris of Michele Alboreto and Stefan Johansson were on the second row.
At the start, the Lotus duo pulled away, but reliability problems soon sidelined Senna. De Angelis however continued on his way, although Alboreto was in striking distance. The man from Milan closed on the man from Rome and overtook him, passing him around the outside.
Alboreto was now safely in the lead, while behind him Johansson livened up proceedings, making the most of a drop in performance on De Angelis’ Lotus to take second place, almost closing right up to his team mate.
The Ferrari 156/85 thus secured a 1-2, with Alboreto swooping into the title lead thanks to his second win for the Suderia. It was win number 90 for the Maranello marque and was also the last F1 race that Lotus would have both of their cars qualify on the front row of the grid.