1992 Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell says the frosty relations he had with some of his teammates was down to him beating them in equal machinery. Mansell won 31 Grands Prix across an F1 career spanning 1980 to 1995, and before scooping the 1992 title, was teammate to several previous World Champions, including Mario Andretti, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost. Serving as teammate to then-double World Champion Nelson Piquet in 1986, Mansell had only two Grand Prix wins to his name, and was expected to support the Brazilian’s title challenge. However, Mansell had the measure of Piquet for much of the year, and would have won the title himself were it not for a tyre blowout in the closing stages of the season’s final race at Adelaide. Mansell and Piquet famously did not get on during their two years as teammates at Williams, which the Briton now puts down to him regularly beating the Brazilian in 1986. "People forget that when I was driving for the teams up until '91, '92, I was the number two driver, driving with four different world champions," Mansell said in conversation with Adrian Flux . "When I look back on my career, I understand far more now than I did then, because I never realised why they didn't like me too much. "But when you're a World Champion, and [I'm] beating them in a number two car, like I was with Nelson Piquet with Williams, he wasn't my best friend, was he?"
Mansell: Number two status meant inferior reliability
Having come tantalisingly close to the title in 1986 and 1987, Mansell moved to Ferrari for 1989, but was put into the shade by the arrival of Alain Prost the following year. While the Frenchman had four victories to his name by the season's halfway point, Mansell was winless and struggling with reliability issues. After retiring from the British Grand Prix having led the race, a frustrated Mansell decided to announce his retirement from the sport immediately afterwards – though he would later reverse that decision in order to sign for Williams in 1991. Discussing his inferior reliability relative to Prost, Mansell said his number two status was to blame for his frequent mechanical retirements. "I retired at the end of 1990 at Silverstone because a lot of friends had died who I knew really well, and I was never getting the support to get the job done," said Mansell. "I signed as number one for Ferrari for '89, '90, and then Ferrari bought the number one status back so that Alain [Prost] could come to the team. "And the reliability of the cars back then was crucial. If you don't finish a race, you can't get the points, you don't accumulate the points, you don't become World Champion. "If you're the outright number one driver back in the 80s and 90s, you had a 30 per cent better chance of finishing a race. "If you're a number two driver, you could be as quick, but your car is not as good as the number one car from a reliability point of view. "So, I decided at Silverstone, in fact, that enough was enough, I was never going to get the support that I actually needed to get across the line."