- September 27 down the years
'Perfect' Mansell rewrites the record booksWhat happened on this day in Formula One
Nigel Mansell, who secured his only drivers' crown a month earlier, completed is ninth win of the season at the Portuguese Grand Prix, one more than the record set by Ayrton Senna four years earlier. He started on pole and had built a 2.4 second lead by the end of the first lap, and by the end he had extended that to 37.5 seconds. His team-mate Riccardo Patrese had a remarkable escape when he collided with Gerhard Berger's McLaren at 170mph, cartwheeling and disintegrating before slamming upside down into the pit wall. He was able to limp away and admitted: "I really could have hurt myself … I'm just glad to be here."
Another dominating performance by Mansell, this time at the Spanish Grand Prix, his win described by team boss Frank Williams as "perfect … an absolutely brilliant performance". Mansell overtook championship rival Nelson Piquet on the opening lap, and was never challenged - his day got better with news Piquet had spun battling for second with Alain Prost and eventually finished fourth. Senna, who came fifth on a no-stop strategy, was roundly condemned for causing a traffic jam as he defended his position.
Jacques Laffite's win at the Canadian Grand Prix set up a thrilling finale to the season three weeks later. Carlos Reutemann, who finished ninth, led by one point from eventual champion Piquet, who took fifth. In appalling conditions, the start of the race was delayed by an hour after confusion over insurance cover for the drivers. In front of his adoring home fans, Gilles Villeneuve took third despite major damage to his nose wing, which eventually flew off his Ferrari four laps from the finish.
Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Singapore Grand Prix ensured the season was going to go down to the wire. Although Jenson Button finished fifth and led the championship by 15 points, Hamilton was quick to point out two years earlier he had led by 17 points with two races to go and lost. "My advice to him is to continue pressing hard all the way to the finish," he said. Fernando Alonso finished third, his best result of the season to date, and slightly controversially dedicated his drive to his agent Flavio Briatore, who six days earlier had been banned from the sport by the FIA after his involvement in the Crashgate scandal.
The Ferrari pair of Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine took the front row of the grid, but it was Mika Hakkinen in a McLaren who won the Luxembourg Grand Prix in front of a capacity crowd at the Nurburgring, giving him a four-point lead in the drivers' championship with one race to go. He outbraked Irvine on the 14th lap and then ate into Schumacher's lead, and then passed him by staying out an extra five laps when the German made his pit stop.