Sunday 12th July 1987
Nigel Mansell squeezed every last drop out of his Williams, overtaking team-mate Nelson Piquet three laps from the end of the British Grand Prix before running out of fuel on his lap of honour. Piercarlo Ghinzani had a less than memorable day after he ran out of fuel and was then push started by his mechanics. Add in that he had already angered stewards with a couple of extra laps at the end of qualifying, they wasted no time in disqualifying him.
At the start, Prost was the quickest and took the lead, only to be passed by Piquet at Maggotts; Mansell soon followed his teammate. The race then became a close fight between the two Williams drivers, as neither Senna (also Honda powered) nor Prost were a match for them. Lotus were finding that while the active suspension worked well on bumpy street circuits, at smoother tracks like Silverstone finding balance with the car was proving difficult. Piquet led most of the race. By lap 35 Mansell was around 2 seconds behind his teammate. Both Williams drivers were scheduled to complete the race without a tyre change, but Mansell and the team elected to make a stop in order to change tyres. Mansell rejoined the race some 29 seconds behind Piquet, with 28 laps remaining. On fresh rubber Mansell began an epic charge which saw the lap record broken 8 times to the delight of the over 100,000 strong British crowd. By lap 62 the two cars were nose to tail and on lap 63 Mansell performed his now famous ‘Silverstone Two Step’ move, selling Piquet a dummy on the Hangar Straight and then diving down the inside into Stowe Corner. 2 corners after crossing the finish line, Mansell’s car slowed down and was engulfed by the crowd. Initially it was thought that he had run out of fuel, but he had actually blown up the engine, out of the stress of running the last 6 laps on “Q” mode (which gives the engine +100hp), and risking running out of fuel at any moment (his fuel display was reading “minus 2.5 laps”). In fact that incident was the last straw for the patience of the Honda management, since it had – again – threatened their easily attainable 1, 2 result. Honda moved to McLaren the following year, leaving Williams with no options but to sign for underpowered Judd V8 units. Nelson Piquet went on to sign with Lotus on the following weeks, a move that kept Honda powering that team in 1988 as well. Senna finished a quiet race in third place while his teammate Satoru Nakajima had his best F1 finish by coming home 4th. Rounding out the points were Derek Warwick (Arrows-Megatron) and Teo Fabi (Benetton-Ford).