Motor Racing: Mansell holds no fears for Hill

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The Independent Online
NIGEL MANSELL duly arrived, entourage in tow, to be reunited with Williams-Renault for the French Grand Prix here, and Damon Hill focused on the new challenge to his status, writes Derick Allsop from Magny-Cours.

Hill knows that unless he can contain Mansell his credibility will be, at best, seriously undermined. It is a scenario he does envisage.

He said: 'If Nigel blitzes us it will show I've not done well enough. I have been compared with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna as team-mates, and feel comfortable with the comparison. So I don't think Nigel will blitz me.'

Hill has made no secret of his frustration over Williams', or to be more precise, Renault's, anxiety to recruit a 'heavyweight' No 1 driver. He said: 'I feel that if we are going to win the championship it would be best done by putting everything behind the resources here.

'I don't know if I am the No 1 driver here. I just feel my championship hopes should be given priority.'

Prost was given priority in this race last year. Asked if he felt the team would engineer victory for him in the event of another clear one- two situation, Hill replied: 'That would make sense, wouldn't it?'

But did he expect that to happen? 'No,' he answered.

All of which would require Williams eclipsing Michael Schumacher, or the Benetton- Ford to run into problems. More realistic is a strong, two-pronged attack from the defending champions and a damage-limitation exercise.

Johnny Herbert is one of those questioning the need to bring back Mansell. He said: 'I think there are a lot of younger guys worth the money, given the chance.'