Rahul Sharma (Editor)

1987 British Grand Prix

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Date  12 July 1987
Course length  4.778 km (2.969 mi)
1987 British Grand Prix
Official name  XL Shell Oils British Grand Prix
Location  Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Great Britain
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  65 laps, 310.570 km (192.979 mi)

The 1987 British Grand Prix (formally the XL Shell Oils British Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held on 12 July 1987 at the Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone. It was the seventh race of the 1987 Formula One season. It was the 42nd British Grand Prix and the 23rd to be held at Silverstone. The race was held over 65 laps of the five kilometre circuit for race distance of 311 kilometres.


British driver Nigel Mansell won his third race for the year in his Williams FW11B. For the second time in eight days, Mansell hunted down his more illustrious teammate, Brazilian two-time World Champion Nelson Piquet to take victory. This time though Mansell was a lot further back with less time than at the French Grand Prix. In one of the most memorable performances in Formula One, Mansell took the lead from Piquet with two laps remaining. Ayrton Senna finished third in his Lotus 99T.

Mansell's win put him into second place in the championship, tied with Piquet and one point behind Senna.


As usual, Honda-powered cars dominated the qualifying sessions, with Nelson Piquet taking pole position from Williams teammate Nigel Mansell by seven-hundredths of a second, and Ayrton Senna third in his Lotus despite being a full second slower than Mansell. Alain Prost was fourth in his McLaren, while the Benettons of Thierry Boutsen and Teo Fabi were fifth and sixth, and the Ferraris of Michele Alboreto and Gerhard Berger seventh and eighth. Completing the top ten were Andrea de Cesaris in the Brabham and Stefan Johansson in the second McLaren.

During qualifying, Piercarlo Ghinzani's Ligier ran out of fuel in front of the pits. His mechanics jumped the pit wall, refuelled him on the track and then push-started him, a clear violation of the rules leading to Ghinzani's exclusion from the remainder of the event. Before the incident, the Italian had set a time which would have put him 19th on the grid.


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).


Numbers in brackets refer to positions of normally aspirated entrants competing for the Jim Clark Trophy.

  • ^1 * Piercarlo Ghinzani was excluded from the race due to refuelling his car on the track during qualifying.
  • Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for all four sets of standings.
  • References

    1987 British Grand Prix Wikipedia

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