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From the Motor Sport Archive
Nelson Piquet displayed the sort of unruffled superiority that has helped him win two World championships when he triumphed in the Detroit Grand Prix at the wheel of his team spare Brabham-BMW BT53, the Brazilian easing his pace with brilliant judgement in the closing stages of the race to allow Martin Brundle's Tyrrell-Cosworth DFY to close to within a second at the chequered flag. It might as well have been a lifetime, of course, and it is to young Brundle's credit that he appreciated that Piquet was slowing up: the English Formula 3 graduate simply concentrated on driving as quickly and smoothly as he could and successfully avoided being tricked into a last lap error as he sped to a fine second place.
On reflection, it has to be said that Piquet and Brundle provided the only performances of lasting worth during the 63 lap race round the rather seedy streets of "Motor City". With only six of the original 26 starters managing to complete the distance, it wasn't a terribly positive advertisement for Grand Prix racing under the eyes of a critical American audience and it's worth noticing that the grandstands were emptying long before the event drew to its conclusion. Mechanical failures and driver errors abounded throughout this race, but, at the end of the day, it must have been Alain Prost who came away from Detroit with the most on his mind. Eight days earlier he had been riding high at the head of the Championship points table, a worthy leader with three Grand Prix triumphs to his credit. Nelson Piquet had none: his Brabham BT53 had failed to finish a single race prior to the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal. Now, reflecting on a troubled fifth place at Detroit, Prost could see the worrying spectre of Nelson Piquet . . . perhaps on the verge of staging a repeat of his 1983 performance when he gradually crept up on the French driver, pipping him for the World Championship title in the very last race of the season. It was the same ghost at his shoulder...