Taxi for Senna
There was only one man British fans wanted to see at the new look Silverstone in 1991: Our Nige.
Mansell-mania had well and truly hit, and the man of the moment did not disappoint.
Less than a week after taking his first win of the season, Mansell secured pole in front of his home crowd, his 1m20.939s more than six tenth of a second quicker than championship leader Ayrton Senna.
It might have been a McLaren man at the top of the standings, but the team had been struggling to keep up with Williams after a strong start to the season. In an effort to bounce back, it had brought five cars with two engine specifications to the British GP. McLaren was taking no chances.
Warm up before the race, and Senna swapped between two cars as he tried to work out what specification engine to use. If he was going to be able to challenge the Williams in dry conditions, it needed to be just right. He finished warm up 11th, while Mansell was once again top of the times.
Fans were confident they would see their man walk away with the race when Mansell lined up on pole, but it was Senna leading at the first corner. The McLaren had made a strong get away while Mansell overdid the revs.
For a moment, the fans were silence. Just a moment.
Mansell’s start hadn’t been too poor, and he passed the McLaren down the Hanger Straight, retaking the lead with ease.
There was nothing Senna could do, with Mansell continuing to lap a second of a lap faster than the McLaren. The Williams’ pace was so great even a pit stop didn’t take Mansell out of the lead.
Senna opted against a pit stop. It wouldn’t allow him to challenge Mansell, but he could minimise the damage to his points’ advantage with a second place.
On the final lap, it became clear that wasn’t a good idea. The McLaren slowed to a stop. He’d run out of fuel.
Senna was classified fourth, allowing Mansell to close the gap to 25 points.
There were no hard feelings between the championship rivals, though. On the cooldown lap, Mansell stopped to give Senna a taxi ride back to the pits.