Britain 1987 - Mansell magic at Silverstone 16 Jul 2003
The 1987 British Grand Prix was one of those Formula One fairytales. A gritty drive from a local hero, overcoming the odds to fight back for an unlikely win in front of an adoring home crowd. Nigel Mansell was the man that brought Silverstone, quite literally, to its feet.
Fresh from their one-two finish at the previous round in France, the rivalry between Mansell and his Williams team mate Nelson Piquet was intense. With two world titles to his name, Piquet was the supposed number one, but it was Mansell who had taken Williams' two victories of the season to date, revelling in his employers' refusal to issue team orders.
The battle resumed in qualifying at Silverstone, with no one else able to get close to the Honda-powered cars. It was Piquet who edged Mansell for pole, by just seven-hundredths of a second, with Ayrton Senna's Lotus a full second adrift in third.
At the start the McLaren of Alain Prost briefly moved in front, but by the end of lap one the Williams pair were ahead, with Piquet leading Mansell away from the field. The Englishman was running less wing than his team mate, a tactic he hoped would pay off in the latter stages of the race when fuel loads lightened. In the mean time he was happy to sit behind the Brazilian.
However, Mansell's plan suffered a major setback on lap 12 when his steering began to vibrate due to a missing wheel weight. By lap 36 he had no choice but to pit for new tyres. He retained his second place, but found himself almost half a minute adrift of Piquet, with only 29 laps remaining.
Taking close to a second a lap out of a double world champion in identical machinery was not going to be easy, but Mansell rose to the challenge in spectacular fashion. Aided by his fresh tyres, he put in a series of fastest laps, while Piquet on his aging rubber struggled to respond.
As Mansell got ever closer the tension in the crowd grew more intense and with just two laps remaining he was finally within striking distance. The passing move proved even more exciting than the chase. As the pair ran nose to tail at over 300 km/h approaching Stowe, Mansell jinked left. It was the classic dummy - Piquet moved left to block, as his team mate dived right and into the lead.
Piquet was unable to regain the advantage and Mansell took the chequered flag close to two seconds ahead of his team mate. Almost 30 laps of qualifying-type pace had taken its toll on his Williams, though, and it promptly ran out of fuel on the slowing-down lap, much to the delight of the ecstatic fans who wasted no time in mobbing an exhausted but jubilant Mansell.