Nigel Mansell

Discussion in 'Drivers' started by The Artist....., Aug 15, 2011.

  1. The Artist.....

    The Artist..... Champion Elect

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    Personally, I'd be very keen to know what people here think of Nigel Mansell - who had a very similar record in some ways to Button.... Autosport ran a very interesting article a few weeks about some of Nige's stats - did you know that Mansell only outqualified his team-mate 87-83 over his entire career? Yes Mansell did win 3 times as many races as Button has during his career, but you have to just compare their careers - Mansell won in his 6th season of F1, Button his 7th, but whilst Mansell then had the best car on the grid the following year, Button had just about the worst!

    Mind (And I know this is off topic) - Mansell regularly gets tarnished for his time at Ferrari as team-mate to Prost - but did you know that the qualifying record was 8-8 between the two of them - and that was even given the fact that Mansell was never the greatest qualifier out there!
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  3. Mansell had some very tough in-team opposition - namely Rosberg, Piquet and Prost...even Berger - so it's not unusual to see that he was just over 50 percent on qually.

    But going back further, even his Lotus team mate of about 4 years, Elio de Angelis (may the Good Lord bless his soul) had the measure of him. Mansell had a Monaco GP win in his pocket in 1984 before he binned it and cost JPS Lotus a badly needed victory. It basically led to his sacking in favour of Senna.

    If one is to be unbiased, one has to rate Mansell ahead of his Williams teammates Rosberg and Piquet...but there is absolutely no way i'd rate him ahead of either Prost or Senna.

    So, If I were to rate that group it would be:

    1 = Senna
    1 = Prost
    3. Schumacher
    4. Hakkinen
    5. Villeneuve (Gilles)
    6. Mansell
    7. Piquet
    8. Lauda
    9. Rosberg (Keke)

    I remember when Williams took on Mansell for 1985. Rosberg was their Number 1 and wasn't in favour of them taking on Nigel (based on some idea that Nigel didn't know how to drive properly :) )...But Nigel accounted for himself well against Rosberg and then made Piquet look ordinary in 1986 and 1987.

    Mansell was a Bull. Strong and brave...and after his wins for Ferrari in 1989, the Italians annointed him "Il Leone"...Lion of England.

    Mansell was definitely a late bloomer. Once he got his first win at Brands Hatch in 1985, the flood gates openend and his confidence went through the roof, only to be unhinged by Senna's unbelievable speed and Prost's mind.

    Prost would say Mansell ('the idiot') cost him the 1990 title...the one which Senna won into the first corner at Suzuka when he crashed into the Frenchman. I'm sure Mansell didn't mind.

    When he went to Williams in 1991/92 he made sure he had the same contractual advantages over Patrese that the cunning Piquet had over him for 1986/87.

    Those are my memories. Mansell was an all time great and competed at a time when Giants filled the grid.
    gethinceri likes this.
  4. Incubus

    Incubus Champion Elect

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    Mansell was probably not one of the most naturally gifted driver around in the eighties/early ninetines, but through a combination of tenacity and bravery (not to say recklnessness on one or two occasions...) managed to seriously raise his game in the mid-eighties, and at Williams he finally found an environment he could thrive in.
    He should be applauded for overcoming the odds stacked against him, but unfortunitaly he had a tendency to undo all his good work in one moment of lunacy on a fairly regular basis... one of the greats nonetheless.
    Fenderman and FB like this.
  5. Galahad

    Galahad Not a Moderator Valued Member

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    I saw this earlier, and it got my motor running! You're absolutely right, but let's look at the score at the real drivers' circuits:

    Monaco: Prost ahead by 1.0s
    Montreal: Prost ahead by 0.8s
    Spa: Prost ahead by 1.2s
    Suzuka: Prost ahead by 0.5s

    Mansell was narrowly faster at Interlagos, and at Silverstone as always for him, but it is striking how he was usually ahead on the less challenging tracks that year.

    Finally I have to mention Mexico City, where Prost only qualified 12th because he was fine-tuning the car setup and didn't do a run on qualifying rubber. He went on to score one of his greatest victories, of course.

    Having said all that, I don't wish to denigrate Nigel. Racers have lots of facets, and on pure speed I wouldn't put him in the same bracket as Senna or Prost, but his determination and will to win were the equal of Ayrton's, and exceeding anybody else's. He thrived in adversity, and actually seemed to try to actively cultivate adversity for himself. Even in his dominant '92 season there were occasional grumbles about the car, and naturally the diva outburst of his retirement at Monza. Has anyone retired as many times as Mansell?

    But he faced huge challenges in achieving his goal of winning the world championship. His career hung by a thread before he even reached F1, with a series of serious accidents and needing to sell his house to fund his racing. At Lotus he struggled against the talented de Angelis, and against the management who only kept him on to please JPS's demands for a British driver. So his world title was very hard-earned.
  6. I 100 percent agree with the above two statements.

    His greatest achievement - from my point of view - was beating Piquet who, by contract, was allowed the use of the spare car which the Brazilian used to experiment with in practice to devastating effect at times (like with the Williams' differential in Hungary which helped him lap Mansell in that race, as an example).

    Sure, Piquet was WDC there...but Piquet didn't have the measure of Mansell over their two season. No way!
    Galahad likes this.
  7. FB

    FB Not my cup of cake Valued Member

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    Nelson Piquet WDC 1981, 1983, 1987
    23 wins from 204 starts
    24 poles
    23 fastest laps

    Nigel Mansell WDC 1992
    31 wins from 187 starts
    32 poles
    30 fastest laps

    I would say Nelson took his opportunities better than Nigel, played the psychological games better than Nigel and, albeit in less flamboyant way, was more than a match for Mansell. Never liked Mansell, dull bloke, ugly wife. Gutsy though.
  8. Nelson's ratios are worse, FB.

    Lucky for him that Ecclestone and Murray provided an environment and cars that gave him an edge in what was a 1 driver Brabham team in the early 80s.

    :D Piquet agreed and tried to get under Mansell's skin with it. :snigger:
  9. FB

    FB Not my cup of cake Valued Member

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    Absolutely Ray, that was why I said he took his opportunities better. I would also say that Nelson's last drive at Benetton, when everyone thought he was washed up, was brilliant.

    Back to Mansell, broke his neck in Formula Ford and nearly paralysed himself. Paid his way through the lower series by selling most of his possessions. Not the most naturally gifted of drivers but worked bloody hard to improve what talents he had and won the ultimate prize.

    I suppose, in some ways, the view I have of him was coloured by the excessive hype surrounding him in the British media.
    gethinceri and Slyboogy like this.
  10. Slyboogy

    Slyboogy World Champion Contributor

    I think Nelson Piquet is under rated, and I would go along with FB and say that Piquet was "more of a match for Mansell".

    Not really a Mansell fan, feel as if he gets rated above much better drivers for odd reasons :dunno:
    siffert_fan likes this.
  11. Well, Piquet had Honda on 'his' side(*) and also had the contractual usage of the spare car (until Mansell finally got his spare), it's hard not to be "more than a match" under such circumstances.

    Williams weren't exactly "backing" Mansell in relation to Piquet, were they?

    Piquet had every advantage possible...but he still couldn't beat him. From memory, Mansell won 11 Grands Prix to Piquet's 7.

    Not Bad For A Number 2! :)

    Imagine what Mansell would have done to Piquet had Mansell not been the contractual Number 2 driver with Williams and was being treated equally by the Japs?

    As per Piquet being "brilliant" at Benetton...Well, in my opinion, I think the Benetton was a pretty good car and all it needed was a top driver. Schumacher - as a rookie - saw off Piquet after Walkinshaw and Briatore bought the young German out from Jordan.

    * Further to that point, Sir Frank had his road accident before the start of the 1986 season (the year Piquet joined). After the accident, the Japanese viewed Sir Frank as a weak parapelegic in a wheel chair instead of the great champion constructor with a very sharp mind that he was. They left Williams at the end of 1987 and took their Honda engines with Piquet to Lotus.
  12. FB

    FB Not my cup of cake Valued Member

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    Ray, you can question my judgement, throw "facts" to justify you perspective or generally rant on as much as you like but it won't change my opinion of either Piquet or Mansell so I suggest to pick on someone else tonight. Nelson won 3 WDC, is probably one of the most underrated drivers to win multiple World Championships and, at his best, beat the best.

    Now if we could return to subject of Nigel, given the equipment in 1992 he whooped the field. Well done him, still think he was as dull as ditch water. Miserable, moaning git. Could have won multiple Championships at whinging.
    GeoffP, Cookinflatsix and Slyboogy like this.
  13. Cookinflatsix

    Cookinflatsix Banned

    How old was Piquet when young Shumacher 'saw him off?'

    As far as Mansell, he is the only driver I have ever seen to park up a perfect mechanically ok car in the middle of a race and quit.

    That says it all for me
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  14. Il_leone

    Il_leone Champion Elect

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    Nelson Piquet was a top performer which is carved on having superior equipment.

    When Honda teamed with Williams their belief was Frank will sign Piquet and he would be undisputed No 1 given the fact he was two time world champion and the only other one on the grid to Prost after Lauda retired.

    He had rude awakening in Mansell who proved Piquet was nothing special with political advantages which lead to Piquet saying " When I joined I did not expect to be fighting my teammate!"

    To sum it all up Williams had the title in the bag in 1986 until Mansell's tyre blew and called in Piquet for a pitstop . In doing so allowed Prost to steal the title both Piquet ( much like Alonso 2007) blamed his team for not supporting. Honda were already thinking of looking elsewhere.

    Come 1988 Piquet had the option of Mclaren or Lotus and Prost told Ron Dennis get Senna so that left Piquet to go to Lotus all paid for by Camel around $3M I think it was. This really hurt Piquet's reputation the fact he thought MAnsell was trouble and he would rather prefer Lotus with money and status and the results were poor which made him look bad in comparision to Senna the previous year at Lotus.

    Piquet by all accounts was a clever political player in getting team No 1 at Brabham with Bernie on his side
  15. Il_leone

    Il_leone Champion Elect

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    Mansell's record does not stack up well in terms of qualifying but he will always be remembered for his sheer bravery and never say die attitude and the numerous fantastic passing moves.

    He was not a very good political player though although he learnt his lessons from Prost to make sure he had priority of the spare car in 1992 to his world title. Surely if he stayed and drove his heart out for 1993 he would given Prost more problems given Alain was out for a year and was rusty and shabby when he came back. HE could have bagged another world title
    His experience at Mclaren was a sad way to end his career
  16. Galahad

    Galahad Not a Moderator Valued Member

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    Never have I heard so much attributed to a spare car! Isn't part of playing the game trying to get every possible advantage for yourself? None of them are duelling knights of honour.

    Everyone who worked with Piquet at Brabham speaks of him very highly. After Lauda left he got that team working around him very effectively, and successfully. Bernie was never a man to suffer fools.

    It was only natural for Williams to expect him to lead the team as compared to Mansell, who frankly had been fortunate to get that drive in the first place. And plenty of number one drivers' contracts had been enforced at that time in spite of faster number twos: Peterson/Andretti in '78, Villeneuve/Scheckter in '79 and Reutemann/Jones in '81.
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  17. Incubus

    Incubus Champion Elect

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    He was not a very good political player though although he learnt his lessons from Prost to make sure he had priority of the spare car in 1992 to his world title.


    Prost certainly did not have priority over Mansell with the spare car in 1990. The spare car was attributed to one driver, then the other at the following race. Mansell for example had the spare car attributed to him at Monaco. So after the first lap collisions and subsequent stoppage Prost had to jump on the spare car, which had been attributed to Mansell. Unfortunately for him Nigel had been using the six-gear transmission, whereas Prost preferred the seven-gear box.
    I remember before the re-start watching TV footage of Alain running towards Nigel's grid-slot: he had to go ask Nigel what gear to take corners in, as he hadn't driven the six-gear transmission at all that week-end.

    That might have changed later in the season when only one of the two could win the title, I don't remember... but it would be the perfectly logical thing for any team to do.
    Slyboogy likes this.
  18. RasputinLives

    RasputinLives Not dead Contributor

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    That might be true Incubus but there is no question Prost was the fave son at Ferrari that year. Didn't they redesign the Ferrari completely and not tell Nigel?

    Anyways Mansell had always been a ponderance for me as to how good he really was. He world championship season goes down in my view as the most boring season of F1 ever due to the dominance of the Williams but does that really take away from the skills Nigel had. The following year he went to Indy Cars and won that(Isn't he the only person to ever hold the Indy Car Title and the F1 title at the same time?) which I didn't think much of at the time but after watching a review of that Indy Car year he really did have a fight on his hands and was a great achievment. He even drove a couple of good races for his comeback in 94 - his duel with Alesi in the wet at Susuka and his win in Australia. We'll stop there as to not mention the 95 season.

    Nigel's real skill was probably shown in the seasons before that. The win in Hungry in 89 was legendary! I think there is a great likeness between Mansell and Hamilton actually both of them need to build a head of steam up and get on a charge. If you look at both of their greatest victories its when they've charged through the field and I think both are at their best when they're doing the chasing rather than being chased.

    Whatever you think of Nige you have to say he was at the front during a very strong era of F1. Did you know Nigel only had 3 team-mates that didn't eventually win a world championship? De Angilis, Patrese and Berger. All 3 of them were race winners too!
    F1ang-o and teabagyokel like this.
  19. teabagyokel

    teabagyokel #dejavu Valued Member

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    His 9 team-mates were:

    Elio de Angelis
    Mario Andretti
    Keke Rosberg
    Nelson Piquet
    Riccardo Patrese
    Gerhard Berger
    Alain Prost
    Damon Hill
    Mika Hakkinen

    Winners of 151 Grands Prix between them! Has anyone ever had a more talented set of team-mates than that?
  20. RasputinLives

    RasputinLives Not dead Contributor

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    probably explains his qualifying record! 6 world champions in that lot!
  21. Slyboogy

    Slyboogy World Champion Contributor

    To be fair, Hakkinen and hill weren't challenging for wins (well Hill was I think) or the title and were not at thier peak. Berger was the best from the rest but not up there with the title contenders, Patrese I don't really know about, same mould as Berger? De Angelis I don't know about but from what I heard, he was beating mansell, and Andretti was on a decline? (correct me if I am wrong didn't follow the 80s)

    But that is quite impressive

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