F1 Retro: Mansell’s melodrama

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F1 Retro August 1998

August 16, 1992. After years of on-track travails and a few near-misses, this was the date Nigel Mansell finally secured his Formula 1 world champion title – with a runner-up spot at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Over the course of a career which included thirty-one Formula 1 wins, plus an IndyCar title to add to his F1 crown – ‘Our Nige’ achieved so much.

Despite his accomplishments, though, Mansell seemed to make as many enemies as friends in the grand prix paddock and to this day remains something of an enigma.

The man from the Midlands put every sinew into his driving, and the sheer range of moods he would go through pushed his relationships to the edge. He didn’t care though, as Mark Hughes explains in this month’s F1 Retro from 1998.

“Who does Mansell play to?” asks Hughes. “The fans of course. He becomes a showman, which means that beyond giving often sublime performances in any car – be it F1, Indy or Touring – he has to get across to them how hard he’s been trying.

“Each minor ailment becomes a drama, each effortless victory a fight against all odds. Which, as much as his prickly personality, makes him even less popular with the insiders.”

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