Motor Racing / British Grand Prix '92: Mansell's crusade marches on - Stewart slips into the history books as Williams take another one-two and Brundle returns to the rostrum / Derick Allsop reports from Silverstone

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The Independent Online
NIGEL MANSELL has repeatedly told us Silverstone is his own circuit and yesterday he drove as if he owned it, running away with the British Grand Prix amid remarkable crowd scenes to register his seventh win in nine races this year.

It was also the 28th of the Williams-Renault driver's career, taking him past Jackie Stewart's 19-year-old British record. Another success will equal Ayrton Senna's landmark of eight in a season. The possibilities are endless for a driver in his pomp and a car which remains far too good for the rest, but already the world championship is assuredly in his safe-keeping.

Mansell's team-mate, Riccardo Patrese, took his customary second place for his first points in Britain and now trails in the championship by 36 points. It could all be wrapped up within the next three races.

Martin Brundle followed up his third position in France the previous week with an even more admirable podium place here. He had to defend against the hounding Senna's McLaren-Honda for most of the race, and although the Brazilian ultimately seized the opportunity to pass, he was brought to a halt by a transmission failure.

Michael Schumacher, after another erratic drive in his Benetton, was fourth, ahead of Gerhard Berger's McLaren and the Lotus-Ford of Mika Hakkinen, who had a brush with the local constabulary for using the wrong side of the road in his rush to reach the circuit and missed the warm-up session. Michele Alboreto was seventh for the fourth successive race in his Footwork-Mugen Honda.

Nothing could upset Mansell's schedule. The man who beats the traffic by making his weekend home here among the caravans of his faithful supporters was contained only by the hordes who invaded the track the moment he greeted the chequered flag with a raised arm. He backed off, as did other drivers; the stewards and police scurried into pre-planned positions and mercifully there were no accidents.

The inquests will follow, but the champion-elect and his public were awash in celebration. Mansell had to abandon his car at Club, half-way round his lap of honour, and was plucked from the throng by a rescue vehicle.

Mansell now has five victories on home ground, and this one was scarcely in doubt after he destroyed the opposition in the first qualifying session. Even so, his performance was hugely impressive. He was, yet again, out-accelerated from the line by Patrese, yet put his No 2 in his place exiting Copse, the first corner, and simply disappeared. The Italian conceded: 'Nigel was in another world so when he got me I forgot about him.'

Mansell was 3.2 seconds clear after the first lap, and opened it to 10 seconds in four laps. It took him just 13 laps to catch and lap Damon Hill, his team's test driver here making his grand prix debut in a Brabham-Judd.

Only the inevitable French blockade by the name of Olivier Grouillard momentarily held up the 38-year-old Englishman.

By the end of the 30th lap he had an advantage of 38 seconds, time enough for a gentle tyre stop. In fact, he might have been pulling in at Newport Pagnell services to spend a penny and have a cup of tea. He moved away, still seven seconds ahead, and inexorably opened the gap again. On the 57th of the 59 laps he lowered the lap record once more. 'I did that for the fans,' he said. 'They deserved a bit of a show. They gave me an extra 300 revs blowing me along.'

He brought down the curtain with a 39-second margin of victory and gave those gathered beneath the podium three encores. 'This is the most marvellous experience of my life,' he said. 'To think I had made it 28 wins. Jackie sent me a telegram welcoming me to the No 27 club and said it would be a short membership, but I didn't think it would be this short.'

For Brundle, too, this was a scene to savour. There was no champagne on offer in France last week, so he made the most of it this time. He had a splendid start, spearing into the gap as Schumacher squeezed over the two McLarens. Gradually, however, Senna closed and we had a playback of their 1983 British Formula Three battles. Senna hauled himself alongside going through Stowe, but Brundle stood his ground.

'It was just like old times scrapping with Sennapod,' Brundle said. 'But then I got held up behind Damon Hill and Senna went through. I had to smile when he stopped a couple of corners later.'

Hill, making his first appearance in the world championship after five vain attempts to qualify, completed an excellent weekend's work by going the distance and bringing the Brabham home in 16th place.

Johnny Herbert, in the other Lotus, was again on course for a place in the points until he was grounded by a broken gearbox.

Senna stood by his car, watching the closing laps and doubtless pondering his future. He returned to the pits to reiterate his intention to find a 'winning package' for next season. He is talking to Williams and Ferrari, as well as McLaren, but clearly his preference is Williams. That is also the preference of Mansell and Alain Prost, so it seems Frank Williams will perm two from the 'Big Three'. If Mansell relents and accepts joint No 1 status, he will probably resume his partnership with Prost, which ended in acrimony after a year at Ferrari. Senna would then consider a year off, to 'enjoy myself at my beach house in Brazil'.

This season's proceedings still have seven races to run but the contest could be declared over in Belgium, on 30 August. That evening, Mansell's crusade may well be over and Britain may have its first world champion since 1976.

DETAILS FROM SILVERSTONE

(308.3km, 191.6 miles, 59 laps)

1 N Mansell (GB) Williams-Renault

1hr 25min 42.991sec (av speed 215.828kph/134.109mph)

2 R Patrese (It) Williams-Renault

+39.094sec

3 M Brundle (GB) Benetton-Ford

+48.395sec

4 M Schumacher (Ger) Benetton-Ford

+53.267sec

5 G Berger (Aut) McLaren-Honda

+55.795sec

6 M Hakkinen (Fin) Lotus-Ford

+1min 20.138sec

7 M Alboreto (It) Footwork-Mugen Honda,

+1 lap

8 E Comas (Fr) Ligier-Renault

+1 lap

9 I Capelli (It) Ferrari

+1 lap

10 T Boutsen (Bel) Ligier-Renault

+2 laps

11 O Grouillard (Fr) Tyrrell-Ilmor

+2 laps

12 A Suzuki (Jap) Footwork-Mugen Honda,

+2 laps

13 J J Lehto (Fin) Dallara-Ferrari

+2 laps

14 G Tarquini (It) Fondmetal-Ford

+2 laps

15 P Martini (It) Dallara-Ferrari

+3 laps

16 D Hill (GB) Brabham-Judd +4 laps

17 G Morbidelli (It) Minardi-Lamborghini,

+6 laps

DID NOT FINISH (not classified): 18 A Senna (Bra) McLaren-Honda 52 laps covered; 19 A de Cesaris (It) Tyrrell-Ilmor 46; 20 J Alesi (Fr) Ferrari 43; 21 S Modena (It) Jordan-Yamaha 43; 22 M Gugelmin (Bra) Jordan-Yamaha 37; 23 B Gachot (Bel) Venturi-Lamborghini 32; 24 J Herbert (GB) Benetton-Ford 31; 25 K Wendlinger (Aut) March-Ilmor 27; 26 U Katayama (Jap) Venturi-Lamborghini 27.

Fastest lap: Mansell 1min 22.539sec (227.936kph, 141.633mph).

WORLD DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP

(Standings after nine races)

1 Mansell. . . . .76pts

2 Patrese. . . . .40

3 Schumacher. . . 29

4 Berger. . . . . 20

5 Senna. . . . . .18

6 Brundle. . . . .13

7 Alesi. . . . . .11

8= Alboreto. . . . 5

Hakkinen. . . . . .5

10 De Cesaris. . . 4

11= Wendlinger. . .3

Comas. . . . . 3

13= Capelli. . . . 2

Martini. . . . 2

Herbert. . . . 2

16 Gachot. . . . . 1

WORLD CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP

1 Williams-Renault. . . . . 116pts

2 Benetton-Ford. . . . . . . 42

3 McLaren-Honda. . . . . . . 38

4 Ferrari. . . . . . . . . . 13

5 Lotus-Ford. . . . . . . . . 7

6 Footwork-Mugen Honda. . . . 5

7 Tyrrell-Ilmor. . . . . . . .4

8= March-Ilmor. . . . . . . . 3

Ligier-Renault. . . . . . . . 3

10 Dallara-Ferrari. . . . . . 2

11 Venturi-Lamborghini. . . . 1

ROAD TO THE RECORD

MANSELL'S GP VICTORIES

1985 (Williams) - Europe (Brands Hatch), South Africa. (Sixth in championship).

1986 (Williams) - Belgium, Canada, France, Britain, Portugal. (Second).

1987 (Williams) - San Marino, France, Britain, Austria, Spain, Mexico. (Second).

1988 (Williams) - No wins. (Ninth).

1989 (Ferrari) - Brazil, Hungary. (Fourth).

1990 (Ferrari) - Portugal. (Fifth).

1991 (Williams) - France, Britain, Germany Italy, Spain. (Second).

1992 (Williams) - South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, San Marino, France, Britain.

MANSELL MILESTONES

First drove: Aged 7, Austin Seven in a field.

First race: 1968 Shennington, 100cc Fastakart.

First win: 1969 Tern Hill, Shropshire, kart race.

First car race: 1976 Mallory Park. Won in a

Formula Ford Hawke DL11.

First drove GP car: 1979 testing at Paul Ricard

circuit, France.

First raced GP car: 1980 Austria. Retired with blown engine, suffered petrol burns.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 DRIVERS

1 Alain Prost (Fr). . . . . . . . . . . . 44 grand prix victories

2 Ayrton Senna (Bra). . . . . . . . . . . 34

3 Nigel Mansell (GB). . . . . . . . . . . 28

4 Jackie Stewart (GB). . . . . . . . . . .27

5= Jim Clark (GB), Niki Lauda (Aut). . . .25

7 Juan Manuel Fangio (Arg). . . . . . . . 24

8 Nelson Piquet (Bra). . . . . . . . . . .23

9 Stirling Moss (GB). . . . . . . . . . . 16

10= Jack Brabham (Aus), Emerson

Fittipaldi (Bra), Graham Hill (GB) . . . .14

(Photograph omitted)

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