Video: F1 Legend Pushes Car, Faints

Nigel Mansell, Formula 1’s greatest showman, was never the type to deny the crowds a dramatic spectacle. Self-confident and braggadocious, the hard-charging swashbuckler was either winning in style or crashing. For him, as tired as the saying is, there was no second place. Perhaps the grittiest, most determined man to pilot a Grand Prix car, Mansell put himself through the ringer to achieve what he did.

He had to surmount some obstacles to get his seat, which he won with talent, not money. He also entered an era in which the larger driver was becoming more of a handicap, and Mansell, the racer with a boxer’s build, was always disadvantaged when running against some of his jockeyish contemporaries. At 5’11” and 185 pounds, he was not exactly a heavyweight, but that extra bulk puts a greater strain on the heart. Perhaps that’s why he always looked so exhausted after a race.

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Mansell pushed too hard at times, but was never dull.

Mansell was by no means out of shape, but the oppressive heat and the demanding layout at the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix proved too much for him, despite claiming pole position there. As was common during the height of the turbo era, Mansell’s Lotus 95T ran out of fuel on the last lap, just shortly before the finishing line.

In typical Mansell-style, he pushed his black Lotus towards the end, weaving worryingly on the way there. Collapsing beside his car, Mansell’s dramatic sixth-place finish marked the beginning of a career that was never boring. Call him a prima donna, but the man had a grittiness and a never-say-die attitude that won over millions of fans.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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