British GP 1986

British GP, 1986

Jacques Laffite was due to equal Graham Hill's record of 176 Grand Prix starts and the popular Frenchman was hoping for a good performance at Brands Hatch as the Ligier-Renault had been very competitive. Williams celebrated the return of team boss Frank Williams to the F1 paddock for the first time since he was paralyzed in a road accident in March. There was considerable action on the engine front with Ligier announcing a three-year deal for 1987-88-89 with Alfa Romeo and Team Lotus negotiating for Honda engines.

The entry was unchanged from the French GP and in qualifying the two Williams-Hondas were dominant with Nelson Piquet ahead of Nigel Mansell. Ayrton Senna was third in his Lotus-Renault ahead of Gerhard Berger (Benetton-BMW), the McLaren-TAGs of Keke Rosberg and Alain Prost, Teo Fabi's Benetton, Rene Arnoux's Ligier, Derek Warwick's Brabham and Johnny Dumfries in the second Lotus. Laffite had a bad qualifying and was 19th.

At the start Mansell's Williams failed as he went into Paddock Hill Bend. He was fortunate however because moments later the race was stopped following a multiple crash behind him. This was caused by Thierry Boutsen losing control of his Arrows in the midfield. This bounced off the wall into the backmarkers and Stefan Johansson jinked right to avoid it. Unfortunately Laffite was alongside him and the Ligier had to swerve and went head-on into the barrier. Back on the track Boutsen was hit by Piercarlo Ghinzani (Osella) and by Christian Danner (Arrows) and the accident also involved the two Minardis, the two Zakspeeds and Allen Berg's Osella.

Laffite was cut from the wreckage of his car and then flown to hospital but his Formula 1 career was over.

It took nearly an hour and a half before the race was restarted and Mansell (in the spare car) followed Piquet into the first corner with Berger getting ahead of the second Williams in the course of the first lap. Mansell soon retook the Benetton and went after Piquet. Senna was fourth under pressure from Rosberg but the Finn went out soon afterwards with a gearbox failure and so Prost was fifth ahead of Alboreto.

Prost pitted early for new tires (his original set having been out of balance) and he dropped back while Berger went out on lap 23 with electrical trouble. On the same lap Piquet missed a gear and Mansell went ahead, to the delight of the British fans. Soon afterwards the third-placed Senna went into the pits to retire with a gearbox problem. The Williams-Hondas battled for the rest of the afternoon but Mansell stayed ahead to win. Arnoux had run third early on but a bad choice of tires meant he had to stop twice and so Prost took the position with Arnoux fourth ahead of the two Tyrrells of Martin Brundle and Philippe Streiff, the Frenchman overtaking Warwick on the last lap as the Englishman had to conserve fuel.

Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda  75 1h30m38.471s  
Nelson Piquet Williams-Honda  75 1h30m44.045s  
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Porsche  74  
25 Rene Arnoux Ligier-Renault  73  
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Renault  72  11 
Philippe Streiff Tyrrell-Renault  72  16 
11 Johnny Dumfries Lotus-Renault  72  10 
Derek Warwick Brabham-BMW  72  
14 Jonathan Palmer Zakspeed  69  22 
nc 18 Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW  62  13 
16 Patrick Tambay Lola-Hart  60 Gearbox Pinion Bearing 17 
27 Michele Alboreto Ferrari  51 Turbo 12 
24 Alessandro Nannini Minardi-Motori Moderni  50 Cv Joint 20 
19 Teo Fabi Benetton-BMW  45 Fuel Pump 
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW  39 Engine 15 
12 Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault  27 Gearbox 
29 Huub Rothengatter Zakspeed  24 Engine 25 
23 Andrea de Cesaris Minardi-Motori Moderni  23 Alternator 21 
20 Gerhard Berger Benetton-BMW  22 Electrics 
15 Alan Jones Lola-Hart  22 Throttle Linkage 14 
28 Stefan Johansson Ferrari  20 Radiator 18 
Keke Rosberg McLaren-TAG Porsche  Gearbox 
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Renault  Accident 19 
17 Christian Danner Arrows-BMW  Accident 23 
21 Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo  Accident 24 
22 Allen Berg Osella-Alfa Romeo  Accident 26