Clip The Apex
Back in 1991 Nigel Mansell had been persuaded not retire after his time at Ferrari and re-joined Williams. What took him back to Williams was the first Adrian Newey design Williams F1 car, the FW14. The 1991 car did not have the infamous active suspension of the FW14B but it was still a very advanced racing car.
The car proved fast but unreliable in the early races. Patrese took a second place in Brazil and Mansell the same in Monaco, in the other races the Williams failed to finish.
Then came Canada.
Patrese put his car on Pole, 0.4 seconds quicker than Mansell. At the start of the race Mansell took the lead and there he stayed for 68 laps. Meanwhile Patrese was having trouble with his gearbox and was passed by Nelson Piquet in the Benetton and Stefano Modeno in the Tyrrell.
Mansell was cruising at the front. On lap 65 he set the fastest lap and was stroking the car home. On the final lap he was over a minute ahead of Piquet and looked set to take his first victory on his return to Williams. As he approached the hairpin for the final time the car slowed, it rounded the hairpin and as Nigel attempted to accelerate down the straight towards the chicane the car simply wouldn't go. The Englishman vented his frustration and beat the steering wheel as the machine dribbled to a halt in front of one of the main grandstands. He got out and left the car where it was.
How could Mansell lose the race so close to the finish? When the car got back to the pits the engine started, the gearbox worked fine and it probably could have done another race. Unfortunately Nigel had let the revs drop too low as he approached the hairpin which lost electrical and hydraulic power causing the gearbox barrel to get stuck.
Meanwhile his nemesis, Nelson Piquet, over half a lap behind, kept it all together and cruised past to take what would be his last victory in F1 in his last season in the sport.
What of 2019? Expect a Mercedes front row with Hamilton on pole. Lewis will take a lights to flag victory and, I suspect, a Grand Chelem. Enjoy.