Mansell relives moment of magic in Mexico

Fri Oct 30, 2015 3:52pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A corner of Mexico's Hermanos Rodriguez circuit will always have Nigel Mansell's name on it, even if it is now a shadow of the one that witnessed one of the bravest overtaking moves in Formula One history.

In 1990, at Ferrari, the future world champion pulled off a breathtaking 300 kilometer per hour pass on Austrian Gerhard Berger's McLaren around the outside of the fearsome Peraltada corner to take second place.

The overtake instantly entered Formula One legend.

"I think, did I really do that? Because in that day if it went wrong, you were going to get seriously hurt. So you’ve got to be a bit mental to take it on," the Briton told Reuters on his return to the track where he won in 1987 and 1992.

"On the entry, because we were real close, I thought if he touches me now I’m history. Big time. I think it shocked him and frightened him a bit too because if he’d tangled with me he’d have gone too.

"I think he had a better sense of self-preservation that day than I did."

The same corner had triggered national mourning in 1962 when Mexico's rising star Ricardo Rodriguez crashed and died there on November 1, the day of this year's race, in practice for the non-championship grand prix.

The bumpy, flat out corner was a huge test of bravery and skill even after the banking was reduced in the 1980s but for the sport's return this weekend, having last had Mexico on the calendar in 1992, it is no more for obvious safety reasons.   Continued...

Formula One - F1 - Mexican Grand Prix 2015 - Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City - 29/10/15
Former drivers Niki Lauda and Nigel Mansell
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Hoch Zwei