“When you win a race, it’s not like winning a race in any other country in the world, because all the bells are ringing in all the churches across the country – and how many teams get a visit from the Pope? It’s an institution.”
Mansell was no less effusive when he described what it was like to get back behind the wheel of his FW14B, which he described as a ‘great car’.
“It was great, beautiful,” he said. “Last night we got to know each other again after a long, long time and we practiced a little bit to get up the hill.
“Obviously the car is a bit delicate – in first and second gear it’s okay to give it some berries, but just like this car [the 639] it jumps out of gear so you have to be very protective because we want the cars to drive every day.
“Especially the Williams we have to be very careful with – a great car and the mechanics did a fantastic job getting it up and running. It’s just a joy to drive here.”
Mansell also shared what it was like to be back at FoS after several years.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. ‘And many, many compliments on what his grace has done, Lord Charles, it’s just absolutely wonderful. It’s fantastic for motorsport to have someone like that, to give a presentation for four days to the fans, the cars, the drivers, the sponsors, everyone who displays their wares. It’s just an incredible sight, isn’t it?
“Everyone around the world should be very grateful for what his grace has done.”