[Video] GP F1 Hungary 1989: the incredible comeback of Nigel Mansell


Nigel Mansell. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The career of Nigel Mansell in the Ferrari was not able to start with best foot. The british did it with a victory in the Great Prize of Brazil of 1989 that surprising, as the 640 -the first creation of John Barnard to the team’s Italian – I had not given more than problems in the preseason. Racing successive returned to the computer to reality. The dropouts are happening –Gerhard Berger would not see the chequered flag until Belgium, the eleventh test of the year-, although three consecutive podiums of Mansell in France, Great Britain and Germany were infused some optimism.

No one could dream of a similar result in the Hungarian Grand Prix after Berger and Mansell would be classified in sixth and twelfth position in a grill spearheaded by the Williams-Renault of Riccardo Patrese and McLaren-Honda of Ayrton Senna. With a special mention for Alex Caffi, who took his modest Dallara to third place. However, the seemingly impossible occurred.

In a circuit notoriously difficult for overtaking -much more in that old setting- Mansell won four positions only in the first lap and continued to make progress. It took the third place for Alain Prost, and achieved the duo of head, Patrese and Senna. The Italian, with a radiator full of holes, was overtaken by Senna and Mansell in the space of a few curves and left shortly after. The pressure of Nigel on Ayrton was tremendous, but the higher power of the Honda engine allowed the brazilian to contain the british.

Until, on lap 58, Senna found himself with the Onyx of Stefan Johansson at the exit of turn 3. The brazilian had a moment of hesitation that his opponent took advantage of without hesitation to be the lead. Mansell, without losing the rhythm in no time, he ended up crossing the finish line almost 26 seconds of advantage and he described as well that decisive moment: “Ayrton was too close to the car ahead and had to slow down in the middle of the curve. I was also near, and by bit will not hit it, but I was able to take the car to one side and maintain the momentum needed to overtake him”