[Video] GP Canada 1991: Mansell and the skin of the bear


Nigel Mansell. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The World cup of 1991 came to the Grand Prix of Canada with an undisputed industry leader. Ayrton Senna had been imposed in the first four races of the season. Which ultimately become his great rival for the title, Nigel Mansell, had come with the problems of youth of his Williams FW14, the first creation of Adrian Newey for the team of Sir Frank. But at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the streak of the brazilian seemed to be nearing its end.

The pole went to Riccardo Patrese, but Mansell took the lead to his teammate and nothing more given the output and domino to delight while behind followed the abandonment of its main rivals, the McLaren of Gerhard Berger and Senna and Ferrari Alain Prost and Jean Alesi. Nelson Piquet (Benetton) took advantage of the problems with the change of Patrese to take the second place, far away from Mansell, who seemed destined to achieve an uncontested victory.

The british began the last lap waving to the stands of the curves 2 and 3. He repeated the gesture on the fork, less than two kilometres from the finish. suddenly, the car lost speed to a stop in the left margin of the track. From there, powerless, saw to pass a surely incredulous Piquet (his nemesis from the years that they shared at Williams) heading to the that would be the last victory of his career.

According to the official version of Williams, it was a power failure. The own Mansell stated that he had not done anything that I wouldn’t have done in the 68 laps earlier to draw the fork. Ensured that at the exit of the curve was found in neutral and the engine immediately stopped. However, other versions suggest that, busy greeting the public, erred in the change and dropped in excess of the revolutions, or that you shut down the engine accidentally. Be that as it may, Nigel became the first pilot to remain without a victory in the last turn after having led the whole race. Never was more true the saying that we must not sell the skin of the bear before you get the hang of it.