Flying over the Mistral
The 1987 French Grand Prix was won by British driver Nigel Mansell driving a Williams FW11B-Honda. It was Mansell’s second win of the year and his second victory in the French Grand Prix.
Mansell (photo ci-dessus) finished seven seconds ahead of team mate Nelson Piquet. Reigning champion Alain Prost driving a McLaren MP4/3 finished third, some 55 (!) seconds behind Mansell.
Even though the Mistral straight used in 1987 was some 800 metres shorter than when Formula One last used the full circuit at Paul-Ricard in 1985, the sheer acceleration and top speed of the Williams Hondas was comparable to the top speeds seen on the older version of the circuit.
Showing the advances in engine development, aerodynamics and tyres, made by Williams and Honda, on his pole lap, Mansell was timed at 325 km/h (202 mph) on the Mistral. Impressive.
Picture below: Nigel Mansell resolutely leads Prost, Piquet and Senna at the start, he will not be caught.