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The Mexican Grand Prix - did you know?

27 Oct 2015

Did you know that Sergio Perez will be just the third Mexican driver to start a race on home soil, or that the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is located at over 2,200m above sea level? Ahead of the first race in Mexico City for 23 years, we present some of the more obscure facts and figures about the race...
  • This year is the 16th occasion that Mexico has featured on the world championship calendar, but the first since 1992. All 15 previous races have been run in Mexico City, at the circuit now known as the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

  • Nigel Mansell was the victor in that last race in Mexico, 23 years ago - his second victory in the country. Only two other drivers have won as many races in Mexico - Jim Clark (who won the inaugural race in 1963) and Alain Prost.

  • Richie Ginther is one of nine other drivers to have won once in Mexico, the American claiming his only - and Honda’s first - Grand Prix victory in 1965. In fact, the Japanese manufacturer has always fared well in Mexico, with Honda-powered cars having taken a record four victories and four pole positions in the country. However, given McLaren’s current form there seems little hope of them adding to that illustrious tally this weekend…
  • A number of other milestones have taken place in Mexico: Mike Spence, Jackie Oliver and Michael Schumacher scored maiden podium finishes in 1965, 1968 and 1992 respectively; Jo Siffert and Clay Regazzoni captured their first pole positions in 1968 and 1970; and Gerhard Berger claimed his - and Benetton’s - first F1 win in 1986. Berger’s triumph, incidentally, was Pirelli’s first in Mexico, and was achieved on a zero-stop strategy.

  • The aforementioned Jim Clark is the only driver to have completed a ‘Grand Slam’ (pole position, fastest lap, led every lap, victory) on Mexican soil, doing so in the inaugural event in 1963 in what - at 2h 9m 52.1s - remains the longest race in the country to date. The legendary Scot came close to another slam in 1967, taking pole, fastest lap and the win, but failing to lead from flag to flag.

  • Speaking of Clark, the Lotus driver was responsible for the biggest margin of victory in Mexican Grand Prix history when in 1963 he beat Jack Brabham by 1m 41.1s. In fact, four of the first six races in Mexico were won by over a minute, which is very unusual. On the flip side, the smallest margin of victory came in 1991 when Riccardo Patrese defeated Williams team mate Mansell by just 1.336s.

  • The 1968 race was one of those won by over a minute, though it was also notable for the lead changing five times between Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and Jo Siffert, with Hill eventually emerging victorious (and claiming his second world title to boot). No other race on Mexican soil has seen P1 switch as many times.
  • The newly modified circuit runs clockwise and has 17 corners - seven left and ten right - which is three more than the version raced in 1992. The pit straight, meanwhile, is one of the longest in F1, and with the low altitude (and therefore lower drag) brake suppliers Brembo reckon the drivers should hit around 361km/h (224mph) before braking to 101km/h (62.7mph) for Turn 1 - a hefty 4g deceleration.

  • Located at over 2,200m above sea level, Mexico City is easily the highest altitude venue on the F1 calendar. To put it in perspective, Brazil’s Interlagos - the second-highest race location - is around 800m above sea level.

  • Guadalajara-born Sergio Perez will be the only ‘local’ driver on the grid for this year’s race, and just the third Mexican driver after Pedro Rodriguez and Moises Solana to start a world championship Grand Prix in his homeland.

  • Rodriguez - Mexico’s only F1 race winner - finished in fourth place in the 1968 race - the best result for a Mexican on home soil to date. Solana, meanwhile, was notable for having raced with the number 13 in his home race in 1963. The so-called unlucky number wasn’t used again for another 51 years until Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado selected it as his designated race number ahead of the 2014 season.

  • Finally, looking to the present day, Hamilton took his tenth win of the season in the United States, and thus, with three races to go, remains on course to equal Sebastian Vettel's single-season record of 13 victories, set in 2013. On a related note, the British driver needs to lead for just 23 more kilometres to break through the 3,000km barrier for 2015 - a truly astonishing feat when you consider the next best driver - Sebastian Vettel - has racked up just 866km in the lead.