FIA German Grand Prix, Hockenheim, Germany

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Heir apparent
Record-tying eighth victory of season puts Mansell on threshold of the throne By Nigel Roebuck

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tgel Maasell won his eighth nre of the )rr. UIUS quallimg Ayrm Senna's m r d number of from Patrese, who slmllarly movch victories in a season. With six to go, I clear of The Rest. Everv time chances are he soon wtll sn a new around. Senna lost a secbnd or mark of b own; chanw are, too, more to the Williams duo: If you lhathewdlclmhthe Worldchamwere lwking fw a race, attention at pmnahtpatabwtthesamrim. this time turned to Schumacher, It was closer ban Stlverslone, who had detached himself from perhaps. but a l l you never doutuul Be~tton teammate Marlin Bmndle a Wdbams-Rcnault would wm. and was moving in on Berger. The h a l l fourprtrce srssionsbfirst capacity crowd at Hockenheim sell w a mlustvely qu~~keat, so 1 1 in many years really liked that. Not surprised m one to find the No 5 since the sadly brief career of StcWiramsatthetopofthehem fan Bellof has Germany had a genthe warm-up Rather more unexuine star for whom to cheer. pected was that Gerhard krger's There had been doubts abwt tire McLaM pipped Msmell's tammate choice before the race--doubts that R J a a l d o W l r s c f o r s f a d AAaone set of Goodyear's C compounds ward, boIh Wlllums driven claimed would go the distance. Williams. to be lcss than thnlkd with the h a n McLaren and Lotus opted for them. dltng of thou cars R~vals and so also did Brundle for his Poor handltng ltke that they wuld Benetton and Thierry Boutsen for we, they d. his Ligier. Schumacher and Ligier's Elsewhere. there was more m k Comas. by contrast, decided to drama. Mvhael Schumaeher, htake no chances, choosing Bs, as quenUy off the road on Friday and did both Ferrari drivers. Saturday. kept the record tncact Some on Cs planned a pit stop. Sunday mornmg. the k n c a o n finamong them the Lotus drivers. ishing up in a sand trap. This time, ~ohnni Herbert in after only 13 laps. however, it was not the conseMika Hakkinen three laps later. q w w of going over the limit. As Y.nrll,m bulldlng ~a"se11, 1 0 0 , at the end of ipp 14Schumacher braked for the third aftn a waminn - linht - on the dash inchicane, the right rcar tire went down. 'lhc cmdo went a bit deep into the f m comer dicated a puncnrre. valve cap bad not been fitted. which is and 1 was able to get a good tow from "Yw may remember Riccardo had a big Rther more cmcial than on your road car. him down the following suaight." testing at lmola earlier this year, because of Then. at the end of the h e m . Aymn Into the fmt chicane, the Williams-Ren- a puncture." Mansell said. "At one point a Senna wrote off the monocoque of his aults swapped places. There were no team car in front of me kicked up some din. and McLarcn. At the last turn he ran wide. orders this dayy-beyond the usual polite re- I ran over it. Alter that, a warning light clipped a c u b and spun over awcba one. quest from Pauick Head that neither driver came on, and at the same time the car hegan The curbs are high at Hockmhcilll and. as the do anything to jeopardize the team, that oversteering. and I felt sure I must have a wmcpted,all fourwhcclswncck.rofthe both cars should finish, if possible, please. puncture. You're flat out for long periods at deeL.Itm~tthespsrccmfathem. The opening lap at Hockenheim is always this place so I though it was better to play it So to the p e n light. W h e n it tlashed. unsettling. With a full field of cars closely safe and came in. It was too early, of Mansell got a little too much wbeelspin. packed on a nanuw road at nearly 200 mph. course, but there was no choice. After that. which allowed Pavcv to grab a temporary there is considerable srope for a major acci- I had to work on conserving the tires. belead. Indeed. Mansell was quite fortunate dent. But everyone made it through. cause the finish was a long way off." to arrive at the first corner with only his As they came through the right-hander That was not the impression he gave while teammate ahead, for the wheelspin-and into the stadium for the f m of 45 times. overtaking Senna, one of several driven inconsequent revs--had fooled the bansmis- Mamu was securely Phead of PalEx. the lending to go through withwt a i i stop. sion m thut the gearbox had shifted from Williams leading the rest a if to the Ark: two From the speed at which the Williams c l o d fust straight to third. McLarens followed, then lhe Bemom. the on the McLaren. it lwked a thwgh Mansell "I realized what hpd happed." Mansell Fenaris, the Ligiers and the Lotuses. As Peter would not be long delayed, but gening by said, "but decided to kave it where it was, Cdlim pointed out, the symmetry of t h o s e Senna is never the work of a moment. For in third. rather than uy to find second. Ric- early laps told you what counts fw most at some laps the two ran in landem. Mansell all

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began to drop back. albeit without losing his place. The problem was with the man, rather than the car. "I got an awful pain in my back and hwhik looking. Saw cmaing e M y gap. anivcd nose to tail eventually my right leg was affected, so On lap 19, h o w e h o w e v e r , at I hnew chicaw before the Ostkwve. l k badly rhat I couldn't b d e as hard or as late M c h tod; it in mnvcntional fsghoo, bur as I needed--in fact, sometimes I could hWilliam b y & the second half of ir hardly feel my foot," he said. For him. the , pbughing swight on a m he race k a m e an endtest. Once reinstalled in the lead, Mansell aldr md rubb*. P. Head builds a s m q drew away. Attention turned to Patrese, m,rmdlaaaquickone. & hc exit. Senna was still ahead, but who had Schumacher and Senna to pass if W p r l l 0 8 rbm cut bad betn quicker and he this were to be a seventh 1-2 for Williams*aptptmhmntotheRentchicane. Rcnault in 1992. If we expected him to waft by SchuSap thought lhue might have been repauwkms f a k l l from the incident, macher, however. we were wrong. Getting htsil of I h&Mtw was MY enough; but rwmc ~ s e 'No, . I'm wc going to p cmto I tat," M c h n ' s Ron Dennis said after- gelling by it was m. Before his home crowd, wud. "I'll leave it in the hands of the Sch~ma~her wanted a place on I hpodium. rtcwds." And there it stayed. Evcntudly Schumacher lacked his flatMansell's move put him up to s s d . spotted lires once loo o h and gcd crossed bee^ 8 1 8 1anew at the end of the up. It was all Pavex needed; and he was lap vbcn Pamsc came in for tires. Wtresc past. gone. going now after Senna. The defending World Champion drove a wm unfomulate to rejoin, m only behind wonderful ran. knowing b e f m he start he M.osell and Senna, bur also Schumacher. By now Senna's was the only M c h n could win only if the Williams-Renaults kfl in the Getman Grand Rix. On lap 14 failed but driving really hard throughout, &rsa h d stopped for lires, after which his M d y to take advantage of any opportunity ar bogan to misfire. Anocher stop. a single 4doing it, whu's more, on a single set of Cs. By lap 38, when Pavese caught him. lap, lhen the car was parked. Schumachcr was having anything but an they were long past heir best. And Pa. dlly lime of it, this he consequence of an trese, remember, had been in for a fresh set. 'houghout he last seven laps, we ex' h y mistake. "1 rm over a high curb. which damaged a pected to see he William head the M c k n ndLla." he said. "After that. something iao the stadium. "I had nally bad tire vibrawas s p y i n g onto my left n x tire." Not tion towards the end," Senna said, "but I'd idul, d l y . at a circuit as quick as Hock- known b e f w the race my best hope of a a. As well as that, the engine tem- place was to take a chsnce on going through soon began to climb, so this was wimoln a tin stop. At the time I was thinking some IW of WS lamt Serks 7 HB. It about it. Berger. khumachcr and Brundk wen mrrc or less keeping up with me. If I'd ncwflaggcd. Ibr Bruadk. loo. lhcrc wnc m b l e s . He stoppod, they'd have g a ahead. and men's bd mpde a Mgnifrcnt sun. horn ninth m m way you can ovemkc." PIhse was f d i n g that. On the last lap hc grid, to position himself right b e h i i hk tanmute. But it wasn't long before he he made a final attempt, into the rightAVlOWBBK AWUW 3. 1992

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hander leading into the stadium. Senna. though, was ready. and closed the door. It was hard, Pavese said later. but fair. Senna had been defending his pasition; he would have done the same. As it was, he had to brake off he line. where the track was ditly, and the Williams looped into a spin. "This was noc." he said, with consummate understatement. "the result I would have liked." At the press conference. Mansell said it had been a difficult day, that he needed to see a dentist aflcr the tire vibrations he had suffered. Then he said how impsscd. in his atIempIs to pass Senna. he had been by the Honda's acceleration, the McLarcn's handling. Senna just shook his head. Plainly, he didn't see it thaf way. Ten races down; 657 racing laps. of which Mansell h a s led 524. If he wins at the Hungamring, he is World Champion. To Senna and the het. Adelaide in Nw vember must look a very long time away.
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