Champion of Champions: Nigel Mansell vs Nelson Piquet

Nigel Mansell vs Nelson Piquet

Champion of ChampionsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Champion of Champions: Nigel Mansell vs Nelson Piquet

There was little love lost between Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet when they were team mates in the mid-eighties. They had some dramatic battles along the way, none more so than Mansell’s famous comeback drive at Silverstone in 1987.

The Brazilian driver arrived at the team via Brabham, where he won two titles in 1981 and 1983. He came from behind in the final round on both occasions, taking titles from Carlous Reutemann and Alain Prost.

But after his second title the team hit a rough patch, and that led him to Williams.

Mansell, meanwhile, served a lengthy F1 apprenticeship with Lotus and finally became a race winner after joining Williams in 1985.

His title miss the following year was the stuff of legend – robbed by an exploding tyre in the final race at Adelaide – but edged Piquet in points. Dogged by unreliability in 1987, he was injured in a crash in practice at the penultimate race, making Piquet champion.

That marked the end of their time as team mates. Mansell spent two seasons with Ferrari but returned to Williams after falling out spectacularly with team mate Alain Prost.

In 1991 he was championship runner-up again, this time to Ayrton Senna. Piquet, meanwhile, had joined Benetton after two wasted years at Lotus. He claimed his final Grand Prix win for at Mansell’s expense in Canada that year.

Piquet retired at the end of the season after briefly partnering Michael Schumacher. Mansell dominated the 1992 championship at the wheel of the crushing Williams FW14B, but left for Indy Car when he discovered Prost had signed for the team in 1993.

He made a sporadic return for Williams the following year, taking a final win at Adelaide, but aborted a planned comeback with McLaren in 1995 after two desultory races.

Which of these drivers should go through to the next round of the Champion of Champions? Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Nigel Mansell Nelson Piquet
Nigel Mansell, Williams, 1992 Nelson Piquet, Williams, 1987
Titles 1992 1981, 1983, 1987
Second in title year/s Riccardo Patrese Carlos Reutemann, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell
Teams Lotus, Williams, Ferrari, McLaren Ensign, BS Fabrications, Brabham, Williams, Lotus, Benetton
Notable team mates Nelson Piquet, Riccardo Patrese, Alain Prost Niki Lauda, Riccardo Patrese, Nigel Mansell
Starts 187 204
Wins 31 (16.58%) 23 (11.27%)
Poles 32 (17.11%) 24 (11.76%)
Modern points per start1 8.07 8.27
% car failures2 32.62 24.51
Modern points per finish3 11.98 10.96
Notes Runner-up in 1986 and 1987, the latter after back-breaking crash Runner-up in championship in second full season
Returned to Williams in 1991, taking title in 1992 Two titles with Brabham in early 1980s
Quit for good after two-race comeback for McLaren in 1995 Ill-timed switch to Lotus followed third title with Williams
Bio Nigel Mansell Nelson Piquet

1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Nigel Mansell (64%)
  • Nelson Piquet (36%)

Total Voters: 674

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193 comments on “Nigel Mansell vs Nelson Piquet”

  1. On straight stats, Mansell. On personalities … Mansell but only just. Piquet was a little stirrer who thought insulting Mansell’s wife to gain a track advantage was ok. Mansell just ended up a prima donna e.g. He demanded to know who was testing a Benetton F1 car with times faster than anyone else (Johnny Herbert as it turned out).

    Mansell was a whiner. Piquet was just nasty … and look what a cheat his son turned out to be …

    1. I agree, but this isn’t a popularity contest

      1. I think this is: If not then the stats would suffice to establish who is the Champion of Champions, isn’t it?

        1. No, because stats can be deeply flawed. For instance, as said below, if it wern’t for a burst tyre and an injury, Mansell would have the three titles.

          Dominant cars can totally inflate F1 stats, if we did this on stats it’s obvious who the winner can be but stats can hide the truth.

          Famous quote “statistics statistics and damn lies”

          So as the stats arn’t completley reliable this competition is as i’ve understood it and I could be wrong. Our judgements of how good the drivers really are.

          1. I’m pretty sure that’s what I mean :P

            But btw, your “if it weren’t for this and that” does not mean the stats are flawed in any way. Stats are simply a recollection of things that happened or didn’t happened and how many times they happened.
            Tires may be flawed, drivers may drive with flaws leading to crashes, but stats (as long as they’re accurate) can’t be flawed.

          2. The application of a statistic can be flawed. That’s what he means.

            In a close battle like this the stats are a jumping-off point. 3 titles to 1 would make PK the favourite, but then you look at the others and see Mansell scored more when he had a reliable car, and you start to look at why he didn’t win more titles. Then you start to think maybe Mansell was better.

            Then you remember that he stalled the car waving to the crowd before the race had finished and you vote for PK.

          3. Haplo, yeah kinda lol. v tired for that post, what I ment was it’s about your judgement of ability not how nice a bloke they where, ie not a popularity contest, which I took your post to mean this was.

            @Daniel, he did do that, Mansell was occasionaly a bit silly, still a better driver than Piquet. Doesn’t change the fact that Mansell lost one title to straight up bad luck, an the other to Piquet, through injury.

          4. I think the quote is: lies, damn lies and statistics.

            There was more to Mansell losing the ’87 title than simple injury – Piquet was well ahead in the points before Mansell’s shunt at Suzuka.

          5. Tim is correct, I believe it was Benjamin desraeli

          6. The quote is another of Mark Twain’s; ‘There are lies, there are damned lies and then there are statistics. This will surely be a popularity contest though, it’s hard to see it going any other way.
            Piquet over Mansell for me though I’ve never much liked either of them.

          7. That Famous quote I believe is –

            There’s Lies, there’s dammed lies, and there’e statistics.

            Ferrari have been using this system for years.

    2. On straight stats, Mansell.

      Piquet won 3 titles while Mansell only won 1 and that is the altimate stat that people race for, championships.

      1. And that Piquet won 3 titles is, to me, still the most confounding and unpalatable statistic in Formula 1.

        Yeah, hats off to the guy for managing it, but those 3 titles flatter the guy beyond belief.

        1. he who scores most points is world champion and deservingly so.

          i personally dont think vettel drove much like a champion other than about 3 races this season. it was fernando/lewis who were the stars of the show.

          But history will show Vettel as champ if i like it or not lol.

    3. If stats were the thing to choose we wouldn’t have to choose it was done for us. Nelson a piece of nasty but a beter driver then Mansell but just at a slight bit.

      1. Halfcolours (@)
        10th January 2011, 23:59

        I think the best example of stats not being the be all and end all of the champion will be measured by Jack Brabham (can’t wait to see that one) may not have the race record of some of the drivers, but his total involvement in winning from every aspect is unmatched. It always about the subjective matching.

    4. Mansell. Less starts, more failures but more poles and wins.

  2. Mansell on account of the fact he didn’t spawn Nelson Piquet Jr., thereby having an untainted legacy.

    1. And here I was thinking I was the only one to vote Mansell for this reason. :-\

    2. that’s an insane comment.
      Mansell was faster, but the question is who was better. And piquet was an overall better pilot. He won titles against prost, reuteman and mansell. In the turbo and atmosferic eras. He won races in three diferent teams.
      From the personality point of view, both were difficult men, but then again, most champions are.

      1. As pointed out in other places here, he beat Mansell in the same car in ’87 but Mansell still won more races that year – there was nothing dominating about his championship. Piquet never beat Prost in the same car, and never won a championship when Prost had a car capable of winning championship.

        Mansell had plenty of ordinary moments, but when he was on he was really on.

        1. I disagree. Renault in 83′ was probably better overall than Brabham that struggled most of the championship and was dominant just in final 3 races. Anyway, Ferrari was the best car in that year, but I think everybody agrees here that Prost and Piquet were far superior than Arnoux and Tambay.

  3. wow this is a tough one for a round 1 match up, I think I’m going to have to take a while to think about it before voting. Hopefully there will be lot’s of thoughtful comments to read to help me decide

    1. same here. Difficult one. Mansell had some near misses, wich would make him a 2/3 time champion. He was a guy who raced till the end and was very fun to watch.
      I think I’ll go for Nigel, but not 100% sure yet!

      1. Yeah it’s the first time it probably comes down to opinion and perspective. Mansells stats are inflated by the FW14B but those near misses do make him a worthy champion.

        Piquet was a highly underated driver, but I think, overall Mansell got the better of him as teamates, despite Piquet winning the title. As we know, Mansell was carrying injuries, he won more races than Piquet that year as well.

        I think Mansell shades it on comparison as team mates but very tricky one.

    2. I agree, will wait a wile before casting my vote. I have to think it over.

      Both had very tough opponents in each other as well as Senna, Prost and Lauda to mention the best of them. Then again, they were a bit behind these guys in prowess.

      Mansell had all those near misses has more races won and his jump to IndyCar and getting the title there immediately was great to watch, but I have never been a big fan, and his WDC year was largely from an absolute killer in the Williams FW14B

      Piquet is a 3 time WDC, but never really shows up in top of the all time greats lists.
      His win rate is not top notch, average points not too good, but that will be because of his spell with Lotus in between. Still he did clinch these 3 titles with quite some years in between and was quick right from the start.
      Against him is his pretty unpleasant character (what I have heard of him) and the way he handled his son’s F1 career and the fall out. Then again it is

      1. … about how good a champion he was, not about being mr. nice guy.

        1. A good world champion doesn’t always mean whether they were a great driver on track.

          Many remember James Hunt, after winning the world title, he still admired and even expressed sympathy with Niki Lauda.

          A great world champion means being an ambassador for your sport, not just the best behind the wheel.

          I voted for Mansell, partly because of his obvious talent behind the wheel, but also because he loves his sport and has its best interest at heart (As well as his at times) Piquet just had his interest at heart. There is a fine line between World Champion rutheless and ‘win-at-all-costs’ rutheless.

          Of course this will become a major talking point when it comes to Senna… (Let’s leave that for later…)

          1. Why should the World Champion be the sport’s ambassador? Drivers that win the title don’t sign up to be the ambassador, the just try to retain the title the following year. The ambassador job can be left to the leader of the GPDA.

        2. Good summary – I too am deliberating those points.

  4. Nice one Keith, this is a good line up. It was pretty difficult to choose this time. In the end, I had to give it to Piquet as Mansell had more shortcomings when trying to win the title. But they were both pretty equal and Mansell was a great driver.

  5. Piquet was 2nd to Piquet?

    1. I saw that as well (was it his son appearing already?), i think you have a little mistake there Keith, with these guys as Second in title year/s to Nelson Piquet:

      Carlos Reutemann, Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet

      1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
        3rd January 2011, 20:13

        Yes, if Wikipedia is correct it was Mansell second to Piquet.

    2. Sorry about that – fixed it.

  6. Although Nigel only won one wdc, the stats alone, in my opinion make him better than piquet.

    1. btw, Nigel won his WDC by miles, Piquet got all 3 nervously with lots of luck

      1. Mansell’s stats where inflated somewhat by the FW14B superiority. He won 9 times in 1992, while Piquets wins came in generally more balanced feilds. Still, Mansell suffered bad luck that deprived him of a few championships.

        Wish the stats clinging would stop, there often misleading.

        Regardless, I think that Mansell’s shaded superiority over Piquet as his team mate makes him the better driver.

  7. I am going to vote for Mansell despite not being a great fan of him. The reason simply being that I think he was the faster and probably more complete driver. The last driver that Ferrari personally signed says a lot for his talent and he was also signed by Colin Chapman. I feel Piquet’s titles were tainted by having a superb car and relatively low competition. The Murray Brabham’s really were the car of the day. Championships lost in 1986 were more down to silly errors and Prost’s brilliant knack for winning from no-where.

    Mansell showed more raw talent over the course of his career, let’s not forget that Mansell came back for a one-off appearance and won. After Piquet’s title his only win came as a result of Mansell’s mistake/poor fortune depending on who you believe.

    This is Keith’s first tough one and it will be interesting to hear comments as Piquet certainly was a personality and that goes a long way.

    1. Great post, I’d tend to agree.

      Shows the differance between those two and Prost though huh?

    2. i think piquet won at least twice after 1987. certainly the 1991 canada win that is mentioned in the article (where mansell started waving the crowd on the final lap and then stalled/broke down). he won a couple on the trot for benetton (might have been 1990).

      1. Correct, sorry for the oversight. He won the Japanese GP 1990 after Senna and Prost collided and he won the following race in Australia from seventh. I watched the race on the bbc calssic series but unfortunately , it shows a greater array of Mansell’s skills than Piquet’s I feel. Senna’s backmarker ability is phenomenal here.

        This race is a great example of stats not being everything!

        Thanks for pointing that out, really enjoyed watching this great race again!

      2. In Susuka 90 Nelson won after Nigel smashed Ferrari’s gearbox during his pitstop.

        In Adelaide, Senna and Mansell battled during most of afternoon, but Nigel destroyed his tyres. He did a good recovery, but Nelson deserved the victory.

        Btw, this championship is a good example of Nelson’s talent. He finished 3rd in Drivers Championship even driving a underpowered Benetton Ford against Mansell, Berger and both Williams drivers in most powerful cars.

  8. Arghh this is tough, Piquet I rate in my top 5 drivers, although Mansell’s story is brilliant. Hmmm, i’m going with Piquet, purely because ’87 was an awesome season and he beat Mansell fair and square, ’86 was closer but that was marred with ridiculous incidents. It was very much a Senna v Prost type situation, the rivalry was brilliant but Piquet for me showed he was the more complete competitor.

    Very close though, much closer than the previous 2 face-offs.

  9. Very close call. In the end i voted Piquet because of the bigger number of titles won, but at their best when put in equal cars there really wasn’t much to separate the two. They both were very capable racers and worthy champions.

  10. Well. I rank Mansell the greatest retired single title winner. Piquet, meanwhile, weakest of triple champions. Therefore I won’t put too much emphasis on number of titles. It was very competitive era when they both drove. Piquet was starring earlier than Mansell, whose glory days started in mid-80s.

    Taking account their time as team-mates, where in 1986 Mansell beat Piquet, and in 1987 had some terrible luck, I declare Nigel the better. Interesting to see whether there will be more matchups where I will vote for the driver with less titles.

    1. Lets not forgett how entertaining Mansell was, that shouldn’t really count but my god he had balls of STEEL

      Nicknames included The Showman, an Il Leone. (Also Our Nige) Most detirmined, agressive, and spectacular overtaker F1 has ever seen. Senna thought he was nuts, but my god it was entertaining. Youtube is full off spectacular mansell moments, just go take a look.

      On the other hand, Piquet had his moments, overtaking Senna’s lotus on full opposite lock being one of them.

      1. Jeffrey Powell
        8th January 2011, 15:54

        Yes! my critera for chosing would be the abilty to win,so not a lot in it and then sheer ‘LUNACY’ so Nigel by a country mile.

  11. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
    3rd January 2011, 20:10

    Just a quick thing Keith, with Piquet you say that he also came second in his last title year when I believe it was Nigel Mansell. Just thought I’d let you know so you can fix it up.

  12. Nigel all the way, probably the greatest entertainer in F1

  13. Difficult choice, I would’ve thought Nelson Piquet having 3 championships as opposed to Mansell’s 1 would be backed up by the better statistics but obviously not. It makes it difficult to choose because they were both great champions.

  14. Having seen both on the track in the 80’s, it’s obvious to me that Piquet was a much better driver. Mansell was always all over the place when Piquet was sharp and accurate. Mansell stands as one of the most overrated driver in the history of Formula One – and a whiner on top of it all – and Piquet one of the most underrated (with Prost) and his three titles speak volume. So my vote goes to Nelson.

    1. Having seen both on the track in the 80′s, it’s obvious to me that Mansell was a much better driver. Piquet never did anything special and almost “lucked in” to his championships whilst Mansell was sharp and accurate. Piquet stands as one of the most overrated driver in the history of Formula One – and a nasty one top of it all – and Mansell one of the most underrated but his stats speak volume. So my vote goes to Nigel.

      1. You know, i’m agreeing with Jihelle, Mansell didn’t have that killer instinct to clinch more than one title. I mean he won in ’92 simply by having the best car by miles, I mean that was on par with the 2004 Ferrari in terms of sheer performance to other competitors.

        He destroyed Patrese sure, but he was an average driver whichever way you look at it.

        1. I’m with jihelle as well. Went for piquet. I don’t really rate Mansell.

        2. To be fair, he’d have two more titles if it weren’t for an exploding tyre, an the back injury that added one to Piquets tally.

          Over two seasons, apart from when he was injured, Mansell tended to shade Piquet. Hence Mansell gets my vote, he was also hella entertaining.

          1. That’s not being fair isn’t it?

            He “could have” 20 titles if this and that would have happened… That doesn’t count.

          2. It doesn’t count in the grand scheme of things but when comparing and making a personal judgement on Mansell and Piquet it’s highly relavant.

            Mansell generally outraced Piquet, Piquet only got ahead of him over a season in the same equipment when Mansell was incapacitaited. I’d say it counts.

            Also the fact that Mansell lost a title to an exploding tyre is relavant when people say Piquets three titles make him clear winner.

      2. @mikepaterson: rotfl That’s great. I love it !!

        1. Mike Paterson
          4th January 2011, 12:23

          Thanks jhele – Glad you liked/noticed it! :)

  15. This is a good example of stats hiding the true quality of the drivers. The fact that Piquet won 3 titles compared to Mansell’s 1 would suggest otherwise but the main point is their time as team mates.

    It has always been said that you judge a man against his team mate, and Mansell beat Piquet in their first season together, and was taken out of contention in their second, but was close enough to justify his superiority (just) over Piquet

    That, and he didn’t father the most hated driver in the modern F1 history.

    1. But if you look at the rest of the stats (race wins/%, poles and points per finish with DNFs discarded) it actually backs up your choice of Mansell over Piquet.

  16. Like the others said it is a very very close call, I couldn’t decide at first but had a slight bias towards Mansell.

    In one word Mansell was the hero. The ‘lion’ as they said. That said he could pull out everything which wasn’t entirely impossible. Effectively secured the 1986 WDC – the tyre was bad luck.

    I don’t want to involve personal feelings for them – I don’t want to discard Piquet because his personality and mine has nothing to do with each other. Piquet was cruel and prolific in his heydays during the early 1980s snatching the titles from Reutemann and Prost.

    I seriously cannot decide based on non-statistical arguments so I go for Mansell because of his better overall statistics – and with a little bit of subjectivity regarded the number of WDCs as less important because Mansell was a runner-up thrice and was agonisingly close to it in 1986.

  17. The stats tell it all.

    Mansell won more races and more poles despite starting fewer races and having greater unreliability.

    Piquer has always been for me the great over-achiever – through luuck rather than any great talent (though I am sure he was an OK driver).

    Piquet always struck me as a jack the lad – loads of money and a big mouth to boot. Mansell whilst a bit of a moaner had real fire in his belly and did some amaxing overtaking in his career including that classic Dumy of Piquet at the end oif the Hangar Straight at Silverstone.

    This is a no contest – Mansell is better in every way!

    1. Piquet was better at preserving his car, you could argue. He was also better at winning championships thanks to his consistency. To be ‘Champion of Champions’ that must count for something.

      I certainly agree that Nige was a faster driver, a better entertainer and my hero in the 90s. So I voted for him. But I’m having second thoughts.

  18. This was a tough one for me but on the face of it three titles vs one should make it an easy choice.

    Mansell and Piquet never really blew each other away and I always thought that Mansell’s title never did him justice. Mansell raced in a time where the cars could be a second apart and Mclaren dominanted during a period while having opposition in the likes of Alain prost and Ayrton Senna who are both greats.

    To me, Mansell was perhaps the quicker of the two and I liked his style more but racing is about so much more than that. If there’s a driver on the current grid who reminds me of him it’s Lewis Hamilton; blindingly quick and fearless but not able to be as smart as the opposition.

    My heart says Mansell but I’ve voted Piquet. Three titles, was smart and calculating and was damn quick too.

    1. I am still undecided, but I tend to agree with you on this Steph.

  19. This is really tough, I’m going for Piquet as Mansell’s only championship came when his car was miles better than the competition. I rate them pretty equally on straight talent though.

  20. Mansell, because of Silverstone, 1987

  21. lol Piquet 2nd to Piquet a bit of a mistake kieth

  22. Although I really like Nigel, Pique was better. 3 titles to 1 says it all.

    Will be sad if Nigel wins simply because of his “story” or his country.

    1. Check the full stats.

      Mansell was way quicker.

      Piquet got lucky a couple of times – Mansell got unlucky.

      Piquet generally won against weaker competition.

    2. But for one tyre and one crash, Mansell would have been 3-2 to Piquet. Titles do not always say it all.

  23. That’s a good one Keith, really interesting match.

    Mansell for me. Becuase Piquet reminds me Dick Dastardly.

  24. For me in these kind of close stats it’s hard to choose between the two. But stats don’t hand you world titles, other things have to come into play and if mental games must be used to get one over your rivals then that driver is using his head unlike the rest, recognising his weaknesses and strengths and getting the maximum out of the situation.

    It shows winning a f1 title just doesn’t demand skill it also requires cunning even if the public eye consider it volatile.

    I dislike Piquet jr as much as any other f1 fan but this subject is not about him so my vote goes for Piquet snr.

  25. That is certainly the hardest clash in the first round of “Champion of Champions”! Mansell is the biggest “single champion” in terms of wins (31, fourth overall) and poles.

    I’d vote Piquet since we’re talking about champions and Piquet was able to win three titles, always in difficult circunstances, unlike Mansell, whose only championship was won with an overwhelming car against a reliable but uncompetitive team-mate.

  26. The titles score is 3-1 so it’s an obvious choice this one. Mansell was a great driver, but this guy won the title 3 times!

  27. Quite a hard one to call. You can’t ignore a three-times champion. But Mansell went up against Prost and Senna and nearly beat both of them and had the measure of Piquet during their years together. Also, who could forget that manoeuvre? In retrospect, perhaps Our Nige isn’t so hard a choice after all.

    1. Like you say above,

      – 1 tyre – 1 crash = Mansell 3-2 Piquet.

      This Piquet got more titles so he’s better argument is irritaiting the pants off me.

      If they want stats how about, even without the 9 wins obtained in the dominant FW14B Mansell still has a better alround stats than Piquet, apart from the titles.

    2. James Whiteley
      11th January 2011, 20:16

      “But Mansell went up against Prost and Senna and nearly beat both of them.”

      I have to say I disagree there. When Prost and Mansell were teammates in 1990 Prost scored 73 points (not counting best 11) compared to Mansell’s 37. He was completely outclassed by the Proffesor!

  28. There was one ocassion when (at Williams), Nelson had a development fitted to his car whereas Nigel did not. They were supposed to do comparative testing, for the overall benefit of the team. Nelson found the improvement to be better, but ‘sandbagged’ and showed no improved time over his tammate. Come the race, Nelson drove away comfortably with the development thgat he lied about.
    Nigel gets my vote.

  29. Mansell. For the simple reason that if some car issue or injury hadn’t let him down he would probably have equal or more championships than Piquet.

    I am a little surprised by people marking Piquet down for the simple reason that he is Piquet Jr’s Father. That arguement in this poll is not relevant as that has nothing to do with Piquet Sr’s ability as a driver.

  30. I’m going for Nigel. One of the purest racers ever, in my opinion. Off course, Piquet was great and won 3 titles. But Nigel should also have won at least one more. Besides, he won so many races. For me he is one of the alltime greats.

    So I’m going for him, altough it is a very close call this time.

  31. Result of my analysis:

    Mansell – best driver of years 1987, 1992 (after 190GPs)
    Piquet – best driver of years 1983, 1986 (after 128 GPs)

    both should be 2x World champions, with Nelson achieving it earlier then Nigel… :)

    But personally, I would go for Mansell… :) He was quite nowhere in terms of performances and pace when he started his Formula One career, but transformed himself into a quick and entertaining driver…

    1. Correction – Mansell after 187 GPs…

    2. James Whiteley
      11th January 2011, 20:19

      Piquet – best driver of years 1983, 1986 (after 128 GPs)

      Prost way outclassed Piquet in ’86!

  32. Piquet way ahead. 3 world championships vs 1 (the only way Mansell could be WC was by driving a rocket). Not a fan of Piquet, but he was better

    1. Mansell lost two titles to a tyre and injury. Without that injury he’d have beaten Piquet two seasons in a row on points in the same car. Don’t see how Piquet was better driver or indeed champion, merley a luckier one.

      1. Scribe, remember that Nelson had a huge accident in Imola ’87 (and Mansell won that race). And he was really affected by that.

        Also, Nigel didn’t lost the title in ’86 just because of his tyre failure. Remember that he could be WDC in Mexico and threw the chance away after a terrible start. Something similar to Lewis Hamilton in ’07.

  33. I will tip Nigel Mansell on this one although Nelson Piquet was a three time champion it seems luck stayed with him. In a fantasy battle where you could remove car failures, I think the stats speak for Nigel.

  34. Mansell for me, the ‘tash wins it (joke ofc).

    Interestingly, Mansell has mentioned that a Steward told him (after the tyre blow up at Adelaide) that if he had crashed into the wall and not run of the track as he did, the race would have been Red Flagged and he would have been WDC as a result. He mentioned it on Top Gear a few years back.

  35. Mansell is horrendously overrated and appreciated.

    Farcical that he would outdraw Piquet.

    1. Any arguments or evidence you’d care to provide?

    2. Mike Paterson
      3rd January 2011, 23:06

      Hee Hee – Illl wager that you have a strange hate of Lewis as well!

      1. If that’s directed at me, Hamilton would be in the upper half of the grid as far as ‘favorite’ drivers go.

        1. So none then, because it’s no farce and basically logical.

  36. Mansell. It’s a well-established fact that a proper moustache will bring a full second a lap in downforce. None of this Josh Groban-style face fungus on the likes of Alonso, thanks – Mansell’s moustahe was a real man’s facial hair.

    1. Indeed, a point Vettle was nice enough to prove for us last year. Real racers wear a tache, spread the word.

    2. It’s a well-established fact that a proper moustache will bring a full second a lap in downforce.

      If only that were on Twitter, so that I could retweet it! ;-)

  37. It’s got to be Mansell. Who could forget that great dummy he sold to Piquet at Silverstone in 1987?

    And then of course, Piquet took that dummy home and raised it as his own. But that’s a different story.

  38. OK, I just went through almos 3 pages of reply’s…and I.m still not convinced who was the better driver…

    But going on gut instinct I’ll go for Mansel…his 31 wins were what finally got me convinced.

    And yes, but for better luck, he could have outscored Piquett 3-2 in titles, but would have, could have, should have are not quite the same as hook, line and sinker, no mather what the circumstances…

    Also what I think is a convincing argument is adalaide in 1994…he got poll, and won the race (and yes I know schumacher and hill crashed out in front of him and were laping almost a second faster per lap)
    That show’s that after being away for a year and a half he was still up to speed, and able to compete with the top drivers of what was basicly the next generation.

    SO mansell gets my vote…if by a hair.

    1. I really hope that last line is a moustache joke!

  39. I chose Mansell, when he had the car he was insanely fast, and had the worst luck ever. Piquet was also great but I don’t think he was quite as great as Mansell.

  40. There is a lot more to be said about Mansell than has been in this article – i.e. held the CART championship at the same time as the F1 championship.

    I think Mansell will probably win because this is a British website. However, I would also argue this is justified. Mansell lost championships because of bad luck and Piquet won them because of luck. 1987 is the perfect example of this. Mansell was a whiner and Piquet was arguably the more interesting person, but on pure racing skills, Mansell wins for me.

    The two drivers are quite mixed up in the description – i preferred the layout where there was a section for each.

    1. champion’s luck. That thing that’s imposible to define, but that all great champions have. And piquet had that in big amounts. Mansell on the other hand, had to work harder to get the results.
      I would say piquet was a natural, while mansell, working hard at it, became faster than the brazilian.
      Piquet with three titles, eventhough with less wins that the lion, had to be considered the best of them, but for a very small margin.

  41. I am going for Piquet because he was fast and knew to bring the car to the end. Reliability was an issue in the 80s. To save engine and tyres was not for everyone.
    Besides, what he did to Senna in Budapest 86 was incredible. Ok, he had a faster car, but that shows the kind of driver he was.
    If you want to win a championship, go with Piquet, not Mansell.

  42. I consider Mansell and Piquet to be almost equal with the very slight edge to Nigel. Tough one.

  43. WOW! I hope the 1st round doest stay as tough as this. How do you eliminate a 3 time world champion who was a top condender for over 10 years and the most succesfull through the era’s of Lauda, Prost, Senna and Mansell! But early memorys of watching Mansell he was electric and was brilliant to watch, memory of 92 was chasing down Senna in Monaco showed what he was all about. Piquet got the results but i have to choose Mansell on how much i enjoyed watching him, He deserved alot more than his single title, nobody can deny that. The only British driver since Stewart i can genuinly say i loved to support

  44. 1986+87 Piquet Rarley beat Mansell in the same car without reliability problems thats me deceided for Nigel

  45. Very interesting on many levels – as they were teammates, we can actually directly compare them!

    The head says Piquet, but the heart says Mansell. And Mansell I shall vote.

  46. Mansell, had some terrible luck, but still managed more wins and poles than Piquet, and was a much better rival for Senna and Prost than Piquet. IMO, Piquet is the least deserving triple world champion.

  47. So far the best & the toughest pairing,drivers of same era who have fought to the death with each other.I don’t know whom to vote but I went for Mansell as I saw some old races where he impressed me more then Piquet did.

  48. It was too close for me, having just watched all of the ’86 races!

    The thing that made me vote Mansell is some spectacular drives that I can’t recall Piquet matching…
    Mansell and Senna side-by-side at Catalunya
    Passing Piquet at Silverstone FTW in ’87
    The way he was exhausted at the end of a race… sheer determination

    I never really admired him, but certainly have an appreciation to the way he went racing. I found it more inspiring than Piquet.

  49. I am astonished that Mansell is leading here. To me, this match up is no contest…Nelson by a country mile. Three hard fought championships vs. one cake walk- that’s the bottom line IMHO.

  50. I’m betting Nigel will win this one mainly because most readers are from UK?

    I watched both of them race and is very difficult to decide over any of them, I think Piquet has the edge (just) because he was a more controlled driver, while Mansell was usually all over the place… Besides, Mansell won his title in a devastating machine while Piquet won his on a more balanced field.

    1. Less than half of the site is British. End of.

      1. Still more than anywhere else. You can’t tell me it’s not worth a few more percentage points can you?

        1. Sure a few percent, but at this moment it’s about 10:7 for Mansell, harly a few percent.

    2. I think your better off arguing that Mansell raced very well as recently as 93, so people here have a half decent memory of him. Yet Piquet’s best was well before the 90’s, The same as Jacques is endlessly criticised now, Piquet gets a bad reputation stemming from being well below his former form at the end of his career.

      1. Especially Piquet walking out after not managing to overcome Schumi at Benneton. I agree that this is a factor here.

  51. Tough call, and since I didn’t ever see either of them drive in their day I thought I’d take a refresher and read a bit about those seasons in F1. That only made it harder. In the end though it had to Mansell for the mighty push broom on his upper lip.

  52. mark in florida (@)
    4th January 2011, 4:17

    Mansell purely on stats not personality.Neither one was mister congeniality.

  53. I don’t think it’s a tough call. Nelson was better and there are lots of reasons for that. Nigel won a WDC and has more GP wins or poles than Nelson, but a significant quantity of poles, wins occurred when Nigel drove the fantastic Williams FW14, one of the best ever F1 cars. Also, Nigel had no opposition from Riccardo Patrese. Riccardo let Nigel go in some occasions in 1991 and ’92. Nelson never had a car like that and even though he won 3 WDC.

    Nelson was miles ahead when setting up the car. In 1986, it’s a fact that Nigel edged Piquet by a whisker, but also is a fact that in most of occasions, Nigel just copied Nelson’s set up (e.g. British Grand Prix, which he won with Nelson’s spare car). It’s not only a coincidence that once Nelson’s crew stopped sharing set up informations with Nigel’s crew the Brazilian he started to beat Nigel frequently (from German GP on). Let’s remember that Nelson did all the job in Williams first active suspension in 1987. While he had no problem driving that car, Nigel hated it. In 1988, without Nelson, Williams suffered and gave up the device.

    People say that Nigel lost the championship in 1987 due to his accident in Suzuka (caused by Nigel’s overdriving), but Nelson had a terrible crash in Imola (caused by a tyre failure) that affected him for most of season.

    It took almost 5 complete seasons to Nigel win a single Grand Prix. In his 5th complete season Nelson won his 2nd WDC. In his first complete F1 season Nelson frequently outqualified Niki Lauda. Nigel was beaten fair and square during 4 years he raced with Elio de Angelis at Lotus (the same driver that Senna easily destroyed in 1985). Nelson was really really good in race strategy. His partnership with Gordon Murray ( 1983 is the best example) was in minor scale, similar to Schumacher-Brawn duo. Both championships he won in 81 and 83 were nearly lost and Nelson recovered in similar ways that Raikkonen in 07 and Vettel last year did.

    In early 80’s F1 was very very competitive (more competitive than now). Each race could be won by 8 or 10 different drivers (from Williams, Renault, Ferrari, Ligier, McLaren and Brabham teams). It was a totally different situation from late 80’s or early 90’s when only 2 teams and in lots of occasions only one team could win races. Nigel and Nelson competed and both eras. Nelson was a tough competitor and regular contender in both eras while Nigel only achieved success in the second period.

    Nigel was very aggressive. A never-say-die driver. Nelson was more complete, though. He knew when, where and how to be aggressive. Nelson’s overtake in Hungary ’86 (against Ayrton Senna) was probably the best ever. Nigel’s driving style and some disastrous overtaking trials cost him races and championships.

    Obviously, Nigel was more charismatic but we are not judging personality, we are judging drivers and Nelson is far ahead of Nigel in this subject.

    1. Sorry by strange expressions. Yet a english student…

    2. nicky santoro
      4th January 2011, 14:06

      Finally a more thorough comparison that casts a fairer light on both.
      BTW, Piquet’s outrageously ballsy and controlled pass on Senna at HUN’86 was for the lead…
      I remember loving both guys, Mansell and Piquet on their time. I had a soft spot for Mansell, in fact. But i’d always choose Piquet.

    3. Thanks for putting up this background. It certainly helps in forming an oppinion

  54. Just wondering, did ‘BS Fabrications’ really think their name through properly?

  55. Why I can’t vote?

    1. Are you signed in?

    2. I have trouble voting as well, it is so hard a choice to make ;-)

  56. perveze7 (@)
    4th January 2011, 8:17

    clearli its mansell , who was a much better racer than piquiet.

  57. Sorry if this has already been covered, but can we have some sort of repecharge round before the final 16?

    For example, what if we think that both Mansell and Piquet are better than Alonso (using a possible example of the already-featured drivers). One of Mansell and Piquet has to be eliminated.

    So maybe a few of the drivers with the lowest winning percentage should go up against some of the drivers who only just lost to make sure the best 16 get through.

    1. I think that would be over-complicating things a bit, but thanks for the idea!

      1. OK, that’s fine – it shouldn’t have an impact on the final standings really, only on those in and outside the top 16.

        1. If we’re going to get a wildcard it should be for people who weren’t championship winners.

          1. Or people who raced before F1. All the pre-F1 European Championship winners would be a great one to do.

          2. Actually, I really really like my idea there. Can we have that Keith, pleasssseeeee?

  58. I must compliment Keith on the match up! Tough choice, as mentioned Piquet has the titles, but I believe Mansell had the balls, still yet to decide.

  59. Thanks for putting this on after I asked what had happened to it :-)

  60. % car failures2 32.62

    Definitely my early memory of F1.
    It was where would Nigel finish but would Nigel finish.

    How many extra DNF’s were due to Mansell’s driving technique? He was aggressive and he pushed very hard.
    Oh this one is a tough one and Arl84 has made a very good argument for Piquet.

  61. Hard to decide for me – it doesn’t help that I only saw the tail of their careers (well, that did include Mansell winning 1992 WDC and Indy in 1993, but still) at the time – had to go youtube hunting to see more. I think both had quite a bit of guts and had some very good moves, and while I hear a lot of people being a fan of Mansell as a person, I don’t think either was an angel.

    From their time as team mates, I think Mansell was the quicker driver, but at the same time, that doesn’t make a champion, and his 1992 WDC was driven by a car that was very far ahead of the field, and without a team mate that challenged him. Piquet did manage well under the pressure and clinched titles that were heavily contested, from early on in his career. So I chose him.

  62. I think this is where you see that the bulk of f1fanatic readers are british. It’s preposterous that Mansell is to be considered better than Piquet. Back in Brazil, people are discussing Senna x Piquet, Mansell is out of the picture entirely.

    And in my opinion, Piquet was genius.

    1. I think the difficult thing with Piquet – and perhaps why he’s arguably under-rated – is that’s it’s difficult to pinpoint what his key strength was.

      You think of Senna’s one-lap pace, Prost’s racing savvy, Mansell’s overtaking. I don’t think people can readily identify what it was that made Piquet special.

      I think he also suffers on benchmarking with other drivers. Here Senna does very well, because he turned up at McLaren and beat Prost.

      Piquet won his ’81 title with a complete nobody in the other car, and as you cans see in the comments plenty of people reckon Mansell had the beating of him at Williams (perhaps someone could look up the detailed stats on 86-87 and give a view on that?)

      1. in 87, mansell put 1,5 seconds on piquet for pole in spa, and he beat the brazilian fair and square in france and britain; basically, in the first half of that season, mansell would always win whenever he had no problems with his car (which was rare enough).
        in general, one can say that mansell was far superior to piquet over that whole season.
        and looking at the 86 season, one can see the same pattern.
        it was a mistake to vote for piquet, as i have to recognize now…

        1. But in one post above it is argued, that Piquet stopped getting beaten regularly when he stopped sharing his setup information with Mansell as that was his forte.
          I do not know if this is true, but it would be a bit like Jenson Button who arguably was helped at times in 2009 by Rubens with setup (not to mention the Hulks pole in Brazil).

          If true, we have Piquet being expert at car setup.

      2. I think the difficult thing with Piquet – and perhaps why he’s arguably under-rated – is that’s it’s difficult to pinpoint what his key strength was.

        In some ways, though, the best historical comparison for Piquet is Fernando Alonso – drivers who both shaded good not great team mates to win double WDCs early in their career, who are both fast but not the fastest, who drive with their brains as well as their backsides. Piquet’s experience at Williams was not unlike Alonso’s at McLaren – both arrived thinking they were the undisputed number one driver but the incumbent had other ideas.

        Mansell vs Piquet is a very tricky question for anyone who knows much about the latter.

        To generalise, as most people know, Mansell usually drove with his heart – it was all or nothing. But, for every stunning pole position (Silverstone ’92) or daring overtaking move (Mexico ’90), there was an abject failure. Think spinning out of the ’92 Canadian GP in a futile attempt to take the lead. Think the first corner shunt with Senna in Portugal ’89, which earned Mansell a one race ban. Nigel was a fantastic driver but he never quite worked out where to draw the line between bravery and stupidity.

        Piquet was a very different animal. He was generally a good all rounder, quick and consistent, and he often drove with an eye on the title. In his prime he was supposed to be particularly good at developing a car advantage and then exploiting it to win races and titles ahead of a makeweight team mate. His relationship with Gordon Murray at Brabham really being the pinnacle of his career and the key to his titles in ’81 and ’83. Not unlike Alonso joining McLaren in ’07, Piquet walked into Williams in 1986 expecting to work in the same way and was on his backfoot when his team mate proved to have other ideas.

        Piquet continued in F1 for far too long – he never really looked interested after 1988, despite three further victories. The third title in 1987 was, in many ways, akin to Prost’s fourth in ’93 – i.e. cruise and collect in a superior car while your rivals hit trouble. But that should take nothing away from his first two WDCs, which were well earned.

        On balance there’s little to choose between the two. It really depends what you look for in a WDC – heart in the mouth bravery or consistent success.

      3. Keith, here’s the stats of 1986 season (I’ll post 1987 stats by the end of day):

        Brazilian GP:
        Qualify: Piquet 2nd, Mansell 3rd.
        Best lap in race: Piquet.
        Final Result: Piquet 1st. Mansell DNF.
        Analysis: Mansell did a better start, but retired on lap after tried a quite optimistic overtaking manouvre against Ayrton. Nelson just sat down, waited 2 single laps, overtook Ayrton and easily won.

        Spanish GP:
        Qualify: Piquet 2nd, Mansell 3rd.
        Best lap in race: Mansell.
        Final result: Mansell 2nd. Piquet DNF.
        Analysis: Piquet retained 2nd place during first half of race while Nigel fall back to 5th and then charge through the field till 1st position. But, clearly Mansell destroyed the tyres and only replaced too late. If he had changed his tyres 5 laps earlier he would have won.

        San Marino GP:
        Qualify: Piquet 2nd, Mansell 3rd.
        Best lap in race: Piquet.
        Final Result: Piquet 2nd. Mansell DNF.
        Analysis: Nelson led first half, then drop back to third place due to high consumption. He would finish 3rd, but Keke Rosberg ran out of fuel with 2 laps to go. Nigel was never a contender. On lap 6 he stopped for eletronical issues and retired few laps later.

        Monaco GP:
        Qualify: Mansell 2nd, Piquet 11th.
        Best lap in race: Mansell.
        Final Result: Mansell 4th. Piquet 7th.
        Analysis: Both drivers had gearbox problems during whole weekend (Williams did a wrong gear ratios choice). Nigel was no match for Prost, Senna and Rosberg. Piquet was never a contender, losing 6th place to Laffite due to gearbox problems.

        Belgian GP:
        Qualify: Piquet 1st, Mansell 5th
        Best lap in race: Mansell.
        Final Result: Mansell 1st. Piquet DNF
        Analysis: Nelson did the pole and led without opposition till his engine blew up. Mansell spun by overdriving in early stages, but after pit stops snatch the lead from Senna and won.

        Canadian GP:
        Qualify: Mansell 1st, Piquet 3rd
        Best lap in race: Piquet.
        Final Result: Mansell 1st. Piquet 3rd
        Analysis: Nigel won easily, his only threat during race was Keke Rosberg in early stages. Nelson did a strange race. He was the last front runner to change tyres, charge through the field till 2nd place then had a tyre blister and stopped again, finishing 3rd.

        US GP:
        Qualify: Mansell 2nd, Piquet 3rd
        Best lap in race: Piquet.
        Final Result: Mansell 5th. Piquet DNF
        Analysis: Williams had brake issues in this race. Both drivers needed to save then if they wanted complete the race. Mansell led in early stages, but soon dropped back with brake problems. Nelson saved it during first part of race and in halfway was leading. After a bad pit stop, he lost leadership to Senna. When he tried to recover the position he had a brake faillure and hit the wall.

        French GP:
        Qualify: Mansell 2nd, Piquet 3rd
        Best lap in race: Mansell.
        Final Result: Mansell 1st. Piquet 3rd
        Analysis: Again Mansell won easily. Piquet did a quiet race, spending most of afternoon fighting against Rosberg.

        British GP:
        Qualify: Piquet 1st, Mansell 2nd,
        Best lap in race: Mansell.
        Final Result: Mansell 1st. Piquet 2nd
        Analysis: In a savage start, Mansell broke the transmission. But the race was red flagged so he could take the spare car (Nelson did the set up of this car). In the second start, Nelson led till lap 21 when he missed a gear. Mansell overtook him. They continued battling till the end of race. Mansell won. The pace of both williams drivers were so insane that they completed the race almost 2 LAPS ahead of Alain Prost.

        German GP:
        Qualify: Piquet 5th, Mansell 6th,
        Best lap in race: Piquet.
        Final Result: Piquet 1st, Mansell 3rd
        Analysis: Here we had the turning point of season. After losing the British GP, Nelson decided he didn’t share race set ups with Nigel anymore. The result couldn’t be more clear: While Nelson had a competitive car during whole race, Nigel struggled, fighting for 5th position all afternoon. Piquet’s race was a strategy masterpiece. During the race he decided to stop twice (in his first stop, we can see Patrick Head shouting “fu*k you Nelson!!!” because team was prepared for Nigel’s stop), charged up through field twice, with impressive manouvres over Senna, Prost and Rosberg and won. Nigel was supposed to finish 5th, but in the last lap both Prost and Rosberg ran out of fuel.

        Hungarian GP
        Qualify: Piquet 2nd, Mansell 3rd.
        Best lap in race: Piquet.
        Final Result: Piquet 1st. Mansell 3rd.
        Analysis: This is probably Piquet’s masterpiece: he lost second place to Nigel on start, overtook him and on lap 10 overtook Senna. He led till the tyre change. After mid-race qualifying laps Senna retook the lead but in closes stages Nelson was clearly quicker. He tried once, Senna recovered. In lap 56 however, he did probably the best ever F1 overtaking manouvre (Jackie Stewart rated the overtaking as something similar to “loop with a Boeing 747”). Mansell finished third, but a lap behind Nelson.

        Austrian GP
        Qualify: Mansell 6th, Piquet 7th
        Best lap in race: Mansell.
        Final Result: Both DNF.
        Analysis: Mansell qualified in better position, challenged Prost during most of afternoon but retired with Driveshaft faillure. Nelson’s race was quiet. He retired with transmission problems.

        Italian GP
        Qualify: Mansell 3rd, Piquet 6th
        Best lap in race: Piquet.
        Final Result: Piquet 1st, Mansell 2nd.
        Analysis: Mansell led most of race while Nelson had a slow pit stop. But the brazilian recovered in the close stages and overtook Nigel to win the race.

        Portuguese GP
        Qualify: Mansell 2nd, Piquet 5th
        Best lap in race: Mansell
        Final Result: Mansell 1st, Piquet 3rd.
        Analysis: Mansell led from start to finish while Piquet had a bad race. He pursuited Senna till 7 laps to go, when he spun off. He would finish 4th, but Senna ran out of fuel on last lap.

        Mexican GP
        Qualify: Piquet 2nd, Mansell 3rd.
        Best lap in race: Piquet.
        Final Result: Piquet 4th. Mansell 5th.
        Analysis: Mansell could have won the championship in Mexico, but he did a terrible start, finishing first lap in 19th position. Nelson led first half of race, but both Williams drivers had tyre problems. Actually, after 3 pit stops for each driver, they were in 6th and 7th positions when Johansson and Patrese retired.

        Australian GP
        Qualify: Mansell 1st, Piquet 2nd.
        Best lap in race: Piquet.
        Final Result: Piquet 2nd. Mansell DNF.
        Analysis: Piquet led first laps, but was overtook by Rosberg. In lap 19 he spun, losing 2nd and 3rd places to Prost and Mansell. He fought back and overtook Mansell on lap 52. Mansell had the tyre burst on lap 63, Nelson stopped for tyres a lap later. He tried to catch Prost, but he didn’t.

        Final stats:
        Points: Mansell 70, Piquet 69.
        Wins: Mansell 5, Piquet 4.
        Poles: Piquet 2 x 2 Mansell.
        Who outqualified who?!? Piquet 8 x Mansell 8.
        Who was quicker in races?!? Piquet 9 x 7 Mansell.

        1. Thanks very much for compiling all that information Arl84!

          My only reservation would be using the race fastest lap to determine who was faster overall in the race – I don’t think anyone would make a case for Vitaly Petrov being the fastest driver at Istanbul last year, after all.

          1. I agree Keith. Races like Brazil, San Marino, Spain or Belgium when one of them retired in early stages cannot be considered.

            But I think another stats shows that Mansell beat Nelson in 1986 by a whisker, and not by a mile as some people say. Also, we have always to keep in mind that there was the set up issue in that season.

        2. Great work.

          Indeed it shows how closely these guys were matched. With perhaps Mansell being the more balsey guy and Piquet the more intelligent driver.

    2. I’d say FLIG, I am happy then that this site isn’t purely Brazilian! I really think the nationality argument should be put at a rest.

  63. I think it actually couldn’t be any clearer: when two drivers compete with the same material, normally it is pretty easy to see who is best. I know this has flaws (no one will say that Rosberg is an overall better driver than Schumacher, although that will be an interesting question for next year), but Piquet was usually faster than Mansell when given the same or similar material. Mansell title came with a superior car, and Piquet never had that kind of superiority. So, Mansell is okay and all, but I think he is totally overrated, where as in Brazil, the biggest F1 fanatics tend to prefer Piquet’s style over Senna!
    So, this is a clear Piquet for me.

    1. i take it back.
      mansell was the stronger driver in both seasons with piquet.

  64. Well, Mansell title came in a year that, while having a sub-par team mate, his car was miles ahead of anything else in the field… So I have to vote for Piquet. Otherwise it is a close contest.

    1. …but Mansell out raced Piquet…even though Mansell was the most unlucky man in F1 for much of his career.

  65. This was a pretty close match, especially since they’re from the same era. But I voted for Mansell because he won more races than Piquet in their two seasons together.

  66. I don’t think I hesitated a nano second before I pushed the button for Mansell.

    Yes Piquet does have 3 WDC’s but how many one time WDC would compare to say ummm…. Stirling Moss or Gilles Villenueve who never won a WDC.

    Piquet never comes to my mind when I think of champions.

  67. Piquet.
    Had to think long and read a lot of comments, but in the end, it was the three WDC’s which did it for me.

    Yes, Nigel has a higher points per finish score, but he’s just not a triple WDC. And WDC never comes unearned.

    I’m still not sure about the other way around. Does not winning the WDC also come earned or unearned?

    1. Maybe I should add, that in my view ‘being in the right car in the right time (and probably with the right teammate)’ is an important skill for an F1 driver.

    2. Ahh but following that logic we have MSC, Fanzio, Prost… and the rest is a contest for 4th place.

  68. That was a tricky one. Mansell got the vote for better stats, better personality and, frankly, being British.

    1. This is about which driver was better, not which one you like better as a person.

  69. Mansell without doubt, he had so much bad luck but his stats are still better and more importantly he was a great racer. His charges were amazing, and the number of times he was wheel to wheel with Senna and others (heart in mouth moments).
    Piquet was good but I don’t remember him racing as well as Mansell.
    The exciting track Mansell made up for the dull interviews…. lol

  70. Loved his dummy over takes as well. Great days, great era.

  71. ROFL, Mansell wins by a landslide over Piquet sr. Even Seriously, they were pretty much evenly matched.

    Mansell won only one WDC and he won it in a car in which (as he later claimed) “a monkey could win the WDC”. Well he said that when Prost won it a year later, but obviously the same applied to himself.

    Which is exactly what Mansell is. A monkey who happened to land himself a drive in the most dominant car in F1 to date. He did beat Patrese though.

    Kobayashi reminds me of Mansell. Kamikaze overtakes that fail most of the times. The entertainment value is high and thus they stick in peoples minds, but ultimately it’s useless from a racing perspective.

    I’ll bet that he was immensely popular in the UK though. Similar to the Dutch claiming Verstappen was a good F1 driver.

    1. But Kobayashi looks better in that comparison, as he was keeping it on track and out of opponents cars more often than not after the first 1/3rd of the season.

      1. 1/3 is less than 2/3, but even in that first third he wasn’t very clean nor overly succesful.

        In Australia he crashed because (according to the team) he had several contacts prior to losing his front wing.

        Kobayashi had only 20 (succesful) overtakes in 2010. That’s about the least of any “old” team driver.

  72. Ha ha ha! Mansell vs. Piquet? With a British jury? What’s next, Thatcher vs. Galtieri? But I gotta admit Mansell pulled off some heroic things. Dalls ’84 is reason enough to take him in this round.

    1. We’ve been over this dozens of times now. A “” domain suffix does not mean only British people can participate on the site. Two-thirds of the site’s visitors are not British (I’ve already posted the link to the stats earlier in this thread). Let’s keep the discussion on the drivers.

      1. The stats are warped because Mansell had his year in the unbeatable Williams car in 1992.

        When they drove together they were closely matched and ultimately Mansell was beaten by Piquet 3 WDC’s to 1.

        So why does Mansell get almost twice the number of votes? (although it does seem to be correcting to a more normal number)

        You’re honestly going to claim that the British vote isn’t responsible for those 100 extra votes for Mansell?

  73. After long thought, reading all the comments here and looking up some materials I just decided to go with Piquet here for my vote in the Champion of champions match up.

    While Mansell may well have been the more exting or even better racer and certainly ballsy overtaker, his championship was won only when he got in the RB6+ of his time.
    Piquet by comparison raced in different eras, won early on, showing a ********* killer instinct and luck far to often to call that just luck.
    And his skills in developing the car/setup should be rated as well.

  74. My vote is Piquet. Because i see Nelson as more “complete”\”balanced” driver than Nigel. Mansell had speed, courage, bravery – one of the most exciting drivers to watch ever. But had mental strength? Was he really good in technical details? Was he the true team leader?
    I’m not sure about mental strengths and skills in mind games, not sure his tech\development\setup knowledge were really deep and not sure about his leadership abilities.
    I guess, while being a generally faster driver than Piquet he was more weak in other areas which resulted in 3 to 1 title ratio between the two. And it’s not only because of luck. And that’s why i vote for Piquet.

  75. A million times Nigel Mansell :) !!!

  76. Has to be mansell, it was him that made me interested in f1 was i was a kid :)

  77. Easy choice: Mansell was the better of the two, and I say this as someone who simply couldn’t stand the man.

    He was a tedious, paranoid, self-absorbed drama queen, even (in fact especially) when in the FW14B he had a ride 2 seconds quicker than anything else, and a team mate who couldn’t handle its active ride and was therefore only 1 second quicker than all the others. Mansell’s droning “this was such a tough race, incredibly hard” post-race interview routine that year was simply nauseating. I was personally insulted by it, as a viewer. In fact I still am.

    He had a career-long chip on his shoulder about his underprivileged (in motorsport terms) background, as if he was the only driver who ever lacked a budget to go racing or had to overcome adversity to get to F1 (yes, Nigel, we know, you didn’t like Peter Warr and he didn’t like you either, but unlike, say, Tommy Byrne, you were afforded multiple shots at the WDC by the team owners and managers you thought had it in for you, and you still took the time to mouth off in public about how Williams-Honda must be turning your engine down). This revealed itself recently when he called Hamilton’s career ‘manufactured’ and got both the age and the amount of McLaren’s support for his fledgling career wildly wrong (you’d think he might identify with a WDC from a council estate but, it turns out, not). I’ve rarely seen an F1 driver with less personal grace than him.

    When I lived near his golf course in Devon I used to chat to some of his employees, and their testimonials spoke of someone who was borderline neurotic, boorish and unusually unpleasant to work with. I think we saw the same guy in F1. He was always in the right, even when he had ignored black flags for several laps after reversing in the pitlane in Portugal, and then collided at high speed with the rear axle of another driver. It wasn’t his fault, of course, because he “didn’t see the blag flag”. And he kept on retiring from F1, more often than not in a fit of pique over something, and then unretiring! I can’t have been alone in wishing he’d do it for real, long before he became too fat to sit in an F1 car.

    So, believe me when I say it is not through personal warmth that I rate him above Piquet. It’s just that he was obviously, head and shoulders above Piquet on raw pace when they were together at Williams, and was just better at dominating and winning races, a number of which I saw from trackside and witnessed first-hand the relentless charges he made. Yes, he made his own bed as often as not: the Adelaide blowout was immediately preceded by his forgetting to select first gear in Mexico and blowing everything, he made his own misfortune in ’87 including his off in the Suzuka esses that ended it, as well as trying to settle the Belgian race on lap 1 and pass Senna on the outside of a fast corner (really dumb move), he’s the one who threw it in the gravel at the WDC in Japan in ’91 (the fault of a “soft brake pedal”, of course) in a car that should have won the title, it was drama drama drama all the way and much of it his own fault. But when he had the hammer down he was what F1 is all about. The opportunistic pass on Senna when they hit backmarkers in Hungary, the Brands Hatch wins, hunting Piquet down at Silverstone and that pass at Stowe, going wheel to wheel with Senna at Barcelona, strong in wet weather, fearsome in places like Spa, brave as heck, and just plain quicker than Piquet. If ever the subject of not-really-well-deserved F1 WDCs comes, up Piquet’s ’87 crown is always the first one to spring to my mind.

    Piquet, for his part, made a bit of a fool of himself in the late 80s, in my view. If you’re going to tell the press how ugly you think your rival’s wife is, withhold information within your own team about what you learned during testing, and call another rival both the “Sao Paulo taxi driver” and gay, then it had better worth the psychological war in terms of results. As it was, Senna went on to win the ’88, ’90 and ’91 titles and Mansell in ’92, while Piquet faded to black, returning to spawn a driver whose most memorable feat other than hitting a wall in Singapore was being the victim, at Becketts of the best GP2 pass of all time.

    1. Excellent post.

      You did a remarkable job on picking up my original, inspired post on page 1 about Piquet’s legacy. Diligent research there, sir, although I’ll have to request credit as a “based on an original idea by Hairs” post, naturellement.

      1. You accusing me of plagiarism or something?

        Most likely we just watched the same era with the same perspective, though I clearly have a lot less to say about Piquet than I do about our Nige.

        1. No, I’m accusing you of being inspired by one of the greatest, most insightful, and most beautiful commenters on this fine site. You’ve nothing to be ashamed of, after all, we’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars – or up at my radiant magnificence.

          1. Yes, I see that you used the word “spawned” before I did.

            You are clearly magnificent, but one wonders what better generic description there could ever be for the process by which Piquet Sr, er, reproduced. It sort of rolls off the keyboard, after all.

    2. Nicely done.

  78. Can I vote for “neither”?

  79. I voted Piquet, even tought he was a little bit nasty sometimes. A matter of personal taste for me. A very close call, it took me by surprise after the two previous “easier” rounds. My two biggest memories from Nelson: his powersliding overtake move on Senna in Hungary, and his pounding of Eliseo Salazar at the Hockenheimring.

  80. It is Piquet and it is not even close.

    Piquet had a better start of a career, Driving at same level Lauda drived on his first full year in F1, and challenging Jones for the title in his second year.

    He won 2 world titles in a time when you had more than 2 teams challenging for the WDC. And more important, he rose to the occasion, since in this 2 championships he came from behind to clinch the title.

    He had a really good knack for developing and seting up the car.
    Which can be shown in the 83 Brabham via Gordon´s testimonies on how they had to catch up in the middle of the season to get to the same level of Renault and Ferrari, and most of this catch up came from the joint work of Gordon and Nelson.

    Also, he was really smart when driving, which can be measured very well in his 2 years driving alongside Nigel in the Williams.
    There was a reason why Nigel had so many DNF, and that is not just being unlucky.

    Of course Nigel was the fastest driver, but being fast is not everything in F1, specially in the 80s when you could gain much more time by setting up the car perfectly, driving aiming full race speed average, and not just one lap speed average, and also developing the car, as Nelson did with Williams active suspension in 87 which he was later prohibited to use because Nigel didn´t learn how to use himself.

    Mansell on the other side had a weak start of his career, failed to win the 87 title not because he crashed in Suzuka (because Nelson also missed a race in San Marino), but because he didn´t drive with his head for most of the season and at some point of the season Nelson decided not to share set ups anymore.
    After all, whats the point of sharing a setup with your main opponent for the WDC.

    It is a big merit of Nelson, perhaps as big as his 2 other WDC, that he managed to beat a British Driver, driving a British car, in a team full of British staff.
    Nelson also , perhaps from his background as a mechanic, invented things like the Tyre heating prior to the races in f3, the adjustable brakes…

    Mansell on his part had to have 4 opportunities having the best car of the season to win 1 championship, so i just can´t see how he can be put in the same sentence of a 3 time WDC…

    Nelson belongs on the group of Prost, Senna, Lauda, Stewarts..

    Nigel belongs on the group of Rosberg, Jones, Hakkinen

    1. Mike Paterson
      4th January 2011, 22:31

      well I for one loved Rosberg Jones and Hakkinen, and would stick Senna in amongst that lot rather than the first lot.

      Actually Piquet belongs in neither group. His ability pales into insignificance against any of those that you site, whereas Mansell woiuld sit happily in either group.

      Therein is another reason whty Mansell is head and shoulders above Piquet,

  81. Mansell looks like Mario on that picture. Just sayin’

  82. I would have to say Mansell.

    Piquet may have been World Champion 3 times but he enjoyed the super powerful BMW for 2 of them. He did beat Mansell fair and square in 1987 but Mansell was a very slowly evolving animal and, later, he was the only one able to mix it up with Senna and Prost in the early 90s.

    Piquet was probably better on average throughout his career as a whole but Mansell evolved into the better driver towards the first end of his F1 career.

  83. I’m in a country where the “Alonsochauvinism” is spectacular … But I see that everywhere the same cows are milked. That in the comparative Piquet-Mansell Mansell wins, could only happen in England. What a disappointment!

  84. Piquet for sure. 3-Times a Champion. Can’t dispute that

  85. Achille Varzi
    18th January 2011, 20:14

    I post on this blog for the first time. And I do it to express surprise about the outcome of this poll.
    Piquet won two world titles without having the best car. And the third in the face of Mansell himself.
    Piquet was the fastest driver around in the early eighties. Never in his career Nigel was the best driver on track, and he won his only title when he was put in a condition where no one, comprise his team mate, could touch him.
    not to mention that Piquet was a much fairer driver than Mansell.
    Frankly, Piquet is head and shoulders above Mansell in the history of F1.
    Or at least this is my humble opinion.

    1. Mike Paterson
      18th January 2011, 20:56

      It never ceases to amaze me how people can see things so very differently, I find your analysis bizarre and totally wrong. No doubt you would feel the same of mine.

      To call Piquet fairer than Mansell is very odd – I don’t remember Mansell neing unfaitr at all, but I remember Piquet attacking Salazar, and also his extremely rude comments about Rosanne Mansell.

      Nasty piece of work IMHO.

  86. In portuguese…

    Para mim Piquet foi um grande mecânico, ele entendia muito sobre manutenção, melhoramentos e truques para ter vantagem sobre os demais pilotos, uma prova disso foi em 87, no GP da Itália em que Piquet venceu com a suspenção ativa e no GP seguinte Mansell “arriou” o carro usando a mesma suspenção ativa

    Piquet foi também bastante inteligente (usando suas artimanhas e estratégias para deixar Mansell nervoso e dividir a equipe Willians) em 87 ao vencer um campeonato em uma equipe inglesa, com um companheiro inglês: Mansell que tinha praticamente toda a equipe a seu favor.

    Voto em Piquet, pois 3 títulos contra 1 do Mansell, pesa bastante, e o meu lado brasileiro pesa mais ainda…

  87. I’m not a huge fan of Piquet, but Mansell is the most overrated driver ever and piquet is in top 10 of underrated drivers. Piquet was a better driver by far and should be compared to guys like Niki Lauda instead of Mansell.

    He won two titles without the best car of the grid (Williams better in 81 and Ferrari in 83) and even suffering an terrible accident at Imola and lacking performance, he beat Mansell driving in a much smarter way during season.
    Most of it, beat a british driver in a british team that after Frank Williams accident favoured Mansell in 86 and 87 seasons. Some can argue that Honda favoured Piquet, but on the other hand the team favoured Mansell.

    86 season is the biggest proof of that. Piquet was doing good, so Frank’s accident and Mansell prevails. Piquet makes a ruckus on team, splits the team and avoids to give setups for Mansell since he was better doing that. So, he starts to make better performances than Mansell repedtly and both Williams drivers only lost the title due bad strategy from team for tires in Adelaide.
    87 Mansell got more wins, but Piquet already stated many times that he lost much of his performance after his accident in Imola. Even so, Piquet’s consistency overcame Mansell’s “win or wall” way of drive giving him his third title. Williams didn’t help Piquet, who accepted develop active suspension, since only him could use the device. They reduced the development group, and when Piquet used the suspension and was easily superior of Mansell in Monza, they forbid him to use the equipment for the rest of season.

    Mansell, on the other hand, never show consistency to be world champion and only got one title due a car so superior of competition that an old Patrese as teammate scored second ahead Senna and Schumacher. If you forget 92 season, even Piquet that was a driver who favoured points over risks is ahead Mansell in wins.

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