1987 - Piquet makes it three!
Formula One article

1987 - Piquet makes it three!

This season would be completely dominated by Williams drivers, with 10 victories and not scoring points in only three races. The turbo pressure was limited to 4 bar, with all 1.500 cm3 engines equiped with a pop-off valve, also the aspirated engines were allowed again, but with 3.500 cm3. But the great novelty would be introduced by Lotus: active suspension used during all the season. Williams also will launch their own, but only Piquet were capable to manage with it. Inexplicable the team only allowed him to use in two GP: Italy and Spain, even with the brazilian arguments... 

1 – BRAZIL
Mansell snatched the pole, but failed at the start and Piquet took the front, followed by Senna, Fabi, Boutsen and Prost. But at 7th lap, Piquet have a problem that would decide the race: a lot of papers that were thrown to the track got to his radiators and he had to pit due to overheating. Tyres changed, radiators cleaned, he returned making a strong race, marking fastest lap and arriving 2nd. Mansell could only manage to be 6th, Senna had a broken engine, so Prost had just to run to the flag.
2 – SAN MARINO
Piquet would have his worst F1 accident in the practices. Arriving at Tamburello flat out, touching 280 km/h, his rear tyre failed and his car flied to the barriers. Piquet dind´t suffer any injury, but were impedite by the british doctor Sid Watkins to take part of the race...Mansell had no problem to win, with Senna 2nd and Alboreto´s Ferrari making the crowd get crazy with his 3rd place. Prost abandoned with injection problems.
3 – BELGIUM
Two starts to race really began, as in the first Streiff crashed, but his team-mate Palmer couldn´t avoid him and also crashed, blocking the track. Race interrupted. At restart, Senna got the front, with Mansell and Piquet following him. But Mansell, sometimes not so patiente as a champion pretender should be, jumped outside Senna squeezing the brazilian at the braking zone. The inevitable happened: Senna with no place to go, enlarge the corner trajetory, hitting Mansell and both got off the track. But the british also came back, but abandoned later due that. Senna also retired and when they met each other on the boxes, they had a short combat...Piquet, Alboreto and Prost were in front. Then something really curious and strange happened at 9th lap: at the same time Alboreto and Piquet had problem, both reducing their speed, let the way free for Prost even Stewart´s record of 27 success. Johansson 2nd and De Cesaris 3rd, pushing his car to the finish line...
4 – MONACO
A big accident involving Alboreto and Danner at the practices resulted in suspension for the german, but certainly he simply did not see Michele´s approach and couldn´t avoid the collision. Mansell pole, Senna 2nd, Piquet 3rd and Prost 4th. The main oponents were in the first two rows again...Mansell took the front, Senna not far from him, but Piquet was not so comfortable at this track, just drive securing his third place. Mansell abandoned near the half of the race. Senna, more than 30 seconds ahead Piquet just controlled the race to take his first victory of the season and the first ever for a active suspension. Piquet 2nd, Alboreto 3rd and Prost lost his 3rd place three laps to the end with a broken engine.
5 – USA
Mansell pole again, Senna 2nd Piquet 3rd, Prost 5th. Mansell led Senna and Piquet, but Nelson had a puncture and went to the pit, dropping many positions. But when Mansell came to his pit, Senna could take the lead and, as usual, he would not change tyres and would win easily. Piquet in a amazing recovering was 2nd, Prost 3rd and Mansell only 5th. 
6 – FRENCH
Again Mansell, Prost, Senna and Piquet dominate the two front rows. Mansell led from the lights, with Piquet passing Senna and Prost yet in the first lap. They would be never separeted more than 5 seconds, until Piquet had a too long braking at main straight, what allowed Prost overtake him. Prost tried hard to take Mansell, but in vain. After a long pit, Piquet was leading, but Mansell very close in second and Prost in third. But Nelson´s tyres were in bad shape and Nigel could pass him. Piquet change tyres again, passed Prost and tried very hard to catch Mansell, marking for two times the new track record, but could only arrive in 2nd, with Prost 3rd and Senna 4th.
7 – GREAT-BRITAIN
This would be certainly the best race of all Mansell´s carrer. Piquet marked a historic pole, beating Mansell by only 0´080 seconds! In the race, Piquet led 62 laps, but Mansell could overtake him and won for british delirious. The fact is that Piquet and Williams team have decided to not change tyres, due to good Silverstone asphalt conditions. At the half of the race, Mansell decided to change his tyres as he was not getting any chance to pass Piquet. He came back 26 seconds behind, but of course, he was very much quicker than Piquet. But it seemed that the brazilian was just managing the situation. Althought with four laps to go, he still was securing the difference near 2 seconds, when they had latecomers in front. Piquet got them in a bad position, what allowed Mansell to get for the first time his vaccum. It took just one lap to Nigel overtake his team-mate and run to victory. He wouldn´t complete the lap after flag, because his fuel ended! Four Honda engines in four places: Mansell, Piquet, Senna 1 lap down and Nakajima 2 laps down. Prost abandoned.
8 – GERMAN
Porsche prepared a new engine for his home race, but Mansell took another pole, Senna 2nd, Prost 3rd and Piquet 4th. Senna took the front, but Mansell overtook him at second lap. Prost, showing that new engine was powerful, passed Senna and attacked Mansell. The french took the lead, as Piquet passed Senna and Mansell abandoned due to engine failure. When it seemed that Porsche and Prost would won easily, his engine just cut off. Five laps to go, Piquet inherited the lead with Prost and Mansell out...Johansson would be second with three wheels, due a tyre explosion at last lap. Senna could yet be 3rd. Half of the season: Piquet, 39 where group by Senna, 35 where group by Mansell, 30 and Prost, 26.
9 – HUNGARY
Surprising performance for Ferrari team. Mansell pole, but Berger in 2nd and Alboreto 5th were the new guys in front. Piquet 3rd, Prost 4th and Senna 6th. Mansell jumped to front, with Piquet passing Berger, with Alboreto very close. But at first corner Berger came outside Piquet, who had to lift to avoid a unnecessary collision. Alboreto could benefit from that and also passed Piquet. First lap, Mansell, Berger, Alboreto, Piquet, Senna and Prost. Meanwhile Ferrari happiness would last only 13 laps, as Berger had a transmission broken and Piquet managed to retake his position over Alboreto. The italian would have to abandon some laps later with engine failure. Mansell leading Piquet with 15 seconds and Senna almost 1 minute behind. Then, again five laps before the end, Mansell almost lost control of his car...he had lost a screw-nut from his right rear wheel! Unexplicable he stopped the car there, instead of bring it to the pit...Big lucky for Piquet who inherited the victory with his strong oponent out...Senna 2nd and Pros 3rd.
10 – AUSTRIA
Piquet again on the pole. The race had three starts. In the first one Brundle had a broken suspension just after the lights, hitting the barriers, causing a big mess. In the second start it was Patrese´s time to touch Warwick and cause a big confusion. In the third start, again Piquet manage to take the front, but Senna had problems and don´t start, as Alboreto started very badly. Piquet took the front, while Mansell managed with Berger and Boutsen to take second place. At 19th lap Piquet had Mansell nose to tail, but under control. All of a sudden, when they came to the higher speed corner of F1 (named Rindt), Piquet´s car slided strange and scarefully. The brazilian controlled it very smothly, but reduced his rythim trying to find out what happened. At this moment they have three cars in front of them, what allowed Mansell to take advantage of all those vacum and pass Piquet. The brazilian went to the pit to change this tyres, believing they were the reason for that scaring moment. Once more Williams team would make his “small favour” to Nigel. Piquet lost almost 18 seconds in the pit, loosing any chance to fight with Mansell. The british won, Piquet 2nd,  Fabi and Boutsen got points for Benetton, Senna 5th and Prost 6th.
11 – ITALY
Finally Piquet convinced the team to use their active suspension. Piquet made the pole and start in the front, scaping from Berger, Boutsen, Mansell, Prost and Senna. Mansell recovered 2nd place, but Piquet had a good difference when at lap 22 he came to change tyres. Again Williams made a bad service, but Piquet could return exactly in front his team-mate. Senna took the lead, but as usual he wouldn´t stop for tyre change. So, Piquet with almost 10 seconds behind, started his pursuit to the lead. He was managing with some blisters on his tyres, but was reducing his disadvantage in half second per lap. Then at lap 43, Senna with 4,5 seconds of advantage for Piquet, arrived to Parabolica corner with Ghinzani´s Ligier ahead. Suddenly he dived inside Ghinzani, braking too late, going off track. Piquet retook the lead and slowed down, reducing from 1´27” to 1´31”. But once more Senna surprising everyone: he not only managed to avoid the barriers as retook his rythim. He made two laps in 1`30” to clean his tyres and start his pursuit to Piquet. The last three laps were unforggetable. Both breaking the record of the track and cruising the line with 1´8” seconds for Piquet! So amazing that the race director didn´t give the flag to Piquet and receive a big mockery from the public. What a race and what a first victory for the active suspension for Williams.
12 – PORTUGAL
At this race Williams decided to use normal cars for both drivers, against Piquet´s desire. Also the race almost gave Ferrari his so expected victory, as Berger started from pole and led until two laps to the end. Then, with Prost near him, he made his unique, but fatal mistake all the race: brake too late and spun. Prost took the led and won for 28th time, marking a new all time record! A a frustrated Berger was 2nd, Piquet 3rd. Mansell had a broken engine. 
13 – SPAIN
Again the team agreed with Piquet and he would drive his car with active suspension. Again he marked the pole. The race was totally dominated by Mansell. Piquet started in front, but in the end of first lap, Mansell forced and took the lead. Mansell, Piquet, Alboreto, Berger, Prost and Senna. When Berger tried to pass Alboreto, both got wider and Prost passed both. Piquet came to the pit, 19 seconds were used to change his tyres...he could return only in 4th place, behind Senna and Prost. Piquet quickly got Prost, but when he tried to pass, he braked too long and spun, dropping to 7th. Mansell led, Senna 2nd – without change his tyres once more – was in a very slow rythim, securing Boutsen, Prost, Piquet and Berger. Piquet overtook Prost and Boutsen, closing to Senna. When he came inside Senna to overtake him, Senna forced, both went side by side, but Senna had to slow, losing also position to Boutsen and Prost. Berger blew-up his engine, spreading oil in the track, Piquet and Boutsen were victims, but Piquet manage to return to track, but the belgium don´t. Piquet came to pit, as he had a lot of debris on his radiator, backing to track in 4th place! Mansell won, Prost 2nd, Johansson 3rd, Piquet 4th, Senna 5th and Alliot 6th.
14 – MEXICO
Mansell started from pole, leading Berger, Piquet, Prost, Boutsen and Senna. Then in the beginning of the esses, Prost made a ridiculous movement over Piquet. It was simply impossible to pass, as he was far from the brazilian. The collision was inevitable, with Prost broking his left front suspension, ending race. Piquet, with his engine off, was in dangerous position, so the marshals pushed him and, as he could turn on his engine, he started his recovering from last place. In the 2nd lap Nakajima would make a tremendous mistake at the end of the straight: he passed the braking zone, catching Warwick left rear wheel, broking his suspension. At the front, Mansell lost two places to Berger and Boutsen, but both abandoned soon. So Mansell retook the lead, while Piquet storming the chronometers, was already in 4th place! Then Warwick had a big shunt, probably due to Nakajima´s touch. The race was interrupted with Mansell 43 seconds ahead of Piquet. At restart, Piquet jumped between Mansell and Senna and took the lead. He would make a remarkable race, discounting 17 seconds from Mansell, but it was not enough to take first place. Mansell won, Piquet 2nd and Patrese a happy third. Two races to go and now only Williams drivers could be champion: Piquet, 73 and Mansell 61 points. 
15 – JAPAN
Once more Williams team decided to not attend Piquet´s request to use active suspension there. They argue that Mansell doesn´t suit well with the equipament, what wouldn´t guarantee the same conditions for both drivers...Althought was not necessary to wait until Sunday to know the new champion. At the practices, a concentrated Piquet was faster than an agited Mansell. And the british driver demonstrated that he was not ready to be champion: trying to catch Piquet´s time, he made a foolish mistake in the esses. He exceeded the corner approaching speed, causing a wrong trajetory, losing the control of the car and hitting the barriers very hard. He stayed in the car, without his helmet, with his face demonstrating pain...In the pit, Frank Williams and Piquet were worried about him, but of course Piquet wouldn´t need that to conquest his third tittle, as he had 12 points lead...Mansell decided to go back to England in a gossip situation. At the race, Berger and Ferrari got a soberb week-end, with the pole and leading all time. Senna 2nd, Johansson 3rd, Alboreto 4th, Boutsen 5th and for the japonese happiness, Nakajima 6th. Piquet had a broken engine and Prost got 7th place due to a puncture. 
16 – AUSTRALIA
The last race of the year could give Williams the chance to beat the record of points and Piquet, once more, insisted with the team to bring active suspension, but they denied again. Patrese substitute Mansell and Modena got his place at Brabham. In the race, once more Berger and Ferrari surpreended leading from lights to flag, with pole and fastest lap! Piquet abandoned due to brake failure, same as Prost. But the french driver hit the barriers, while Piquet could bring his car to the pit. Senna, 2nd,  would be vice-champion if he were not disqualified due to irregular brake cooler. So Alboreto inherited 2nd place making one-two for Maranello team. Boutsen, 3rd where group by Palmer 4th, Dalmas 5th and a surprised Moreno 6th.  Jonathan Palmer won the tittle called Jim Clark Trophy and Tyrrell the Colin Chapman one.
Curious facts
* When Piquet suffered his accident at S.Marino, Dr. Sid Watkins impedite him to participate of the race. But at Japan, when Mansell had his accident, he declared that if Nigel intend to race, he would allow...but Nigel had decided already to go back to England.
* At USA GP start, by Nakajima´s on board camera, we could see the japanese driver make a big mistake hitting Capelli´s March at the second corner braking zone. But in the next corner he was knocked out by Adrian Campos...
* At Hungary GP week-end Lotus and Piquet announced a two years deal. Piquet didn´t accept McLaren´s invitation, even when his close friend G.Murray tried to convince him to sign the team. Piquet explained that he had lost the 86 championship due Williams political and he wouldn´t risk to face it again. Joking, he indicated Senna for substitute him at Williams...
* At Austria GP Johansson had a strange and dangerous accident: he stepped on a hart, destroying his car, but scapping unhurt.
* Also in Austria, when the car was carrying Mansell, Piquet and Fabi to the podium, Mansell upraised in the moment they cruised a little bridge...of course he knocked his head for the delight of Piquet. The brazilian laughted all time in the podium, as Mansell was staggering...
* In the podium at Italy, Piquet, as usual, joked with Senna because his uniforme was covered by sand he caught when was off track...
* With his podium at Portugal, Piquet even Clark´s record of nine consecutives podiuns!
* Horrible accident for Palmer at Spain, when he touched wheels with Alliot, went off the track, transpassed the barriers...but was unhurt!
* Also in Spain, Mansell jumped out of the car when the tecnicians were checking the equipament and let the car there. FIA fine him in US$ 3.000!
* At Mexico Senna spun off due to a broken clutch. As the marshals only push him to a safe place, he became furious with one of them. The FIA decided to fine him in US$ 15.000!
* After 37 races Ferrari returned to the higher place with Berger victory at Japan. (Since August 85 – Alboreto/Germany).
* Since Canada 1985 (Alboreto/Johansson), 40 races were necessary to Ferrari take another one-two! 
First appearance
* Drivers:A.Campos, N.Larini, S.Modena, Y.Dalmas, F.Forini.
* Constructors/Teams: Coloni, March.