Nigel Mansell had shown a tremendous blossoming of his skills as a driver since his debut in the Formula One World Championship, and he had been on the Champion candidate list so many times. But, he was always prevented from reaching that goal by Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna, and before entering his 12 th season, he had remained unable to take the title. Mansell had been called ‘the uncrowned king’, however, and he showed superb performance in 1992, when he was competing in this second year after returning to the Williams team. This was the team be had worked with in the past, and he went on to win five consecutive rounds from the early stages of the season. This was the result of active suspension technologies of Williams, which had been improved and now suited Mansell’s driving style perfectly. For last five years, the Japanese Grand Prix has been the stage where the Championship title was decided, but that was a rare season; Nigel Mansell had simply been too strong to have the Championship title decided after the 11 th round. Adored by many fans, Nigel Mansell’s reputation had grown rapidly that year. The Japanese Grand Prix, 15th Round of the Championship saw many Union Jack flags waving to cheer on Mansell, who was given big hurrahs beginning from the first free practice session. Then Mansell showed a superb qualifying performance, and as if in response to the big backing he received from his fan’s, he took pole position by a large margin of 0.9 sec. over the second qualifier, his teammate Riccardo Patrese.
Going through the first and second turn without falter, Mansell then passed through the ‘S’ curves in a rhythmic manner. It was really a highlight when he passed through the Dunlop curve and the ‘130R’ with overwhelming speed that none could follow. He displayed his dynamic braking and brilliant steering through the chicane. The Williams FW14B which is very much talked about as the masterpiece in the history of F1, made by a young genius of a designer in Adrian Newey and engineering director Patrick Head. Nigel Mansell controlled the car as if it was a part of himself and drove fastest of all on Suzuka Circuit, one of the most technical tracks in the world. He regrettably had to retire from the race due to problems in the car. But, stories of Mansell driving brilliantly like a true champion, have been handed down over the years among many fans.
Riccardo Patrese was a driver often hidden behind the presence of his Williams teammate, Nigel Mansell. The Italian driver took no less than eight podium finishes before the Japanese Grand Prix, 15th Round of the Formula One Championship. Since the Championship title had already been clinched by Mansell, Patrese wanted to gain a victory in that season, at any risk. He concentrated on taking the lead at the start, but Mansell made a good start as well. Is it impossible to win a race if I compete with Mansell? That thought ran through his mind. However, Patrese did not give up. Ayrton Senna (McLaren) closed in from behind at first but then retired from the race. Gehard Berger (McLaren) moved into third position but Patrese did not allow Berger to close in. Riccardo had his sights only on Mansell running in front of him.
On lap 36, with the race entering its second half, Mansell slowed down and Patrese took the lead. Mansell then retired from the race due to problems in the car. With this, no one could chase Patrese. Although Senna and Mansell had retired from the race, Patrese made a strong impression on the spectators with his hard driving. He confidently received the checkered flag amid a chorus of cheers. His hard driving, which is still talked about today among fans who shared in that emotional scene. Making his Formula One debut in 1977, ‘Iron man’ Patrese took his coveted first win of the season and the sixth win of his career at Suzuka in his 239th Grand Prix race.
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