The career of one of the most remarkable drivers in Formula 1 in the 1980s and 1990s ended exactly 25 years ago: on May 14, 1995, Nigel Mansell competed in his last race, in Spain. It was a melancholy farewell, with premature abandonment, and the announcement of his departure from McLaren a few days later. It was a union that almost everyone expected to fail, and it was.
Nigel Mansell competed in his last F1 race in Spain in 1995 – Photo: Getty Images
That race in Barcelona would be only the second race for León by McLaren. After being out of the first two races of the season because he did not fit properly in the cockpit of the MP4 / 10 model, Mansell debuted in Imola and did not score points. In Barcelona, more of the Englishman was expected, but he stayed in a discreet tenth place, 2s475 from pole position Michael Schumacher.
The German kept the lead after the start, followed by Jean Alesi (Ferrari) and Damon Hill (Williams). However, since the first laps, Schumi’s dominance was evident, so much so that he opened 6s8 over the runner-up in the first ten laps. Unable to pass Alesi through the power of the Ferrari V12 engine on the straight, Hill anticipated the first refueling for the 13th lap and returned in ninth.
Schumacher dominated the 1995 Spanish GP from the start – Photo: Getty Images
While Schumacher kept opening the lead, Mansell suffered from the balance of the car. On the 15th lap, Leão entered the pits complaining a lot that McLaren went too far ahead. After a tire change, Nigel came back in 18th. After escaping at turn 7, Mansell took the car to the pits to abandon the race.
A few days later, McLaren issued a statement in which it announced Mansell’s immediate departure. The team swore on their feet together that the “divorce” had been by mutual agreement, but the truth is that the team was not satisfied with Mansell, and Mansell was not satisfied with the team. The 1992 champion left F1 with 31 wins in 187 races. And he missed the fans …
Last pit stop of Nigel Mansell’s career at the 1995 Spanish GP – Photo: Getty Images
With the top finishers having made the first pit stops for refueling, Schumacher kept his lead calmly, seven seconds ahead of Alesi, with Hill in third, even though he lost time behind slower cars.
Schumacher’s situation was made even easier when Alesi’s Ferrari engine opened its spout. With 11 seconds facing Hill and 19 ahead of third-placed David Coulthard, only an error or problem could prevent the German from winning.
Jean Alesi came in second but left the 1995 Spanish GP – Photo: Getty Images
In fact, the problems hit Williams hard. First, it was David Coulthard who left the race on lap 54, 11th in the end, when the exchange rate had problems. Damon Hill was slow on the track on the last lap due to a hydraulic breakdown. Dragging himself across the track, the Englishman still managed to cross the finish line in fourth.
At the front, Schumacher calmly maintained the lead, while Johnny Herbert finally reached his first podium in Formula 1, in second place, even though he dragged the rear jack off his last pit stop. It was Benetton’s first one-two since 1990, with Nelson Piquet and Roberto Moreno in Japan. Gerhard Berger completed the podium with Ferrari.
Damon Hill was ranked fourth in the 1995 Spanish GP – Photo: Getty Images
Behind, more drama. After a hard-fought race, Rubens Barrichello was coming to score his first point of the season, but Jordan’s troubled Peugeot car left Rubinho in the hand on the final lap with an accelerator problem. After the excellent season of 1994, the Brazilian had been having a year to forget.
Schumacher, on the other hand, took the lead of the championship in order not to lose it anymore. By the end of the year, the German would win seven more victories to win the second world championship in advance. After the controversial 1994 title, when he played his Benetton against Damon Hill’s Williams, Schumi was consolidating himself with the new big F1 star.
Schumacher celebrates his victory in Barcelona in 1995 – Photo: Getty Images
– Photo: Infoesporte