The 3.968 kilometre-long Hungaroring circuit is not known for its overtaking opportunities. When Nigel Mansell found himself in twelfth place at the end of qualifying for the tenth Hungarian Grand Prix, everyone assumed the race would be an uphill battle for the “Lion,” as the Italians called him.
After victory on his debut for Ferrari at the Brazilian Grand Prix, a second win at the wheel of the Italian car had eluded Mansell and it seemed the wait would continue. Gerhard Berger had fared better than him but was still only in sixth.
However, despite the lacklustre qualifying, thousands of Ferrari fans put up with the scorching mid-August heat and filled the stands of the Hungaroring on Sunday 13th August.
At the start, the pole sitter Riccardo Patrese in the Williams maintained the lead ahead of Ayrton Senna in the McLaren, Alex Caffi in the Dallara, Gerhard Berger and Alain Prost in the second McLaren. Mansell was very determined from the green light, gaining four positions and making the most of the empty track in front of him.
After the tyre changes, Nigel was in fourth, lapping a second faster than the rest of the leading group, a pace which allowed him to get alongside and quickly overtake Prost, putting him in second place behind Senna after both easily overtook Patrese, who had been having problems since the tyre change and whichled to his retirement soon after.
Standing between Mansell and victory was Ayrton Senna, not an easy competitor especially on a track like the Hungaroring. However the Ferrari driver did not give up and kept very close to the Brazilian, ready to make the most of any opportunity.
The chance presented itself on lap 58 when Senna hesitated while lapping Stefan Johansson in the Onyx after the third corner. Nigel surprised the Brazilian by decisively changing track position and got his wheels ahead.
Once he was in the first place, Mansell confirmed his superiority by extending his lead and at the end of the 77 laps he crossed the finish line 25 seconds ahead of Senna, taking his second victory at the wheel of a Ferrari.