After a week of tucking up early with a hot water bottle, a dose of Calpol and his favourite teddy, we’re pleased to say that @F1StatMan has sufficiently recovered from his flu to bring us this week’s edition of Fast Facts. This week, it’s the Mexican Grand Prix – a location with plenty to talk about, steeped in history – and a World Champion to crown (most probably) this weekend.
It’s nice to have @F1StatMan back with us!
This is the 18th World Championship Mexican Grand Prix. The race has had three distinct eras of operation: 1963-1970; 1986-1992 and the modern derivative, which returned to Mexico City in 2015.
Each era has had it’s own version of the track. The original Magdalena Mixhuca circuit was 5km long, shortened to 4.421km and renamed the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez before F1 returned in 1986. The configuration has been shortened further to 4.304km for the modern race – but the corner-count has increased from 14 to 17, with the addition of the low-speed section cutting through the centre of the Foro Sol stadium, which replaces the banked Peraltada corner.
With two victories, Jim Clark (1963, 1967), Alain Prost (1988, 1990) and Nigel Mansell (1987, 1992) are the most successful drivers at this race. Lotus (1963, 1967, 1968), McLaren (1969, 1988, 1989) and Williams (1987, 1991, 1992) are the most successful manufacturers with three wins each. Clark and Lotus also won a non-championship race in 1962.
The 1965 Mexican Grand Prix witnessed a first victory for the Honda team, in it’s original incarnation as a manufacturer. It was also a first and only victory for American driver Richie Ginther. In similar circumstances, the 1986 race saw a first victory for the Benetton Team, and also the first (of 10) win for Gerhard Berger.
Nine grands prix in Mexico City have been won from pole, including both races in the modern era: Nico rosberg in 2015 and Lewis Hamilton last year.
Both Mercedes victories came with one-two finishes, emulating the performance of Ferrari in 1970 and 1990, McLaren in 1990 and Williams in 1987, 1991-92.
Ayrton Senna started his 100th race at the 1990 Mexican Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso celebrated his 250th start at the 2015 event. The 1992 Mexican Grand Prix had a young Michael Schumacher recording his first podium finish, with a third place for Benetton.
Lewis Hamilton has a 66-point advantage in the Driver’s Championship with a possible 75 points available. Valtteri Bottas was eliminated from the title race at COTA. Fifth or better secures the title for Hamilton, regardless of Sebastian Vettel’s finishing position. John Surtees (1964), Denny Hulme (1967) and Graham Hill have all clinched the title in Mexico – though on each occasion it was the final round of the season.
At COTA, Mercedes won the Constructors’ Championship. It is a fourth consecutive title, matching the feats of McLaren (1988-1991) and Red Bull Racing (2010-2013). Ferrari hold the record with six titles between 1999-2004.
Lance Stroll, Stoffel Vandoorne and Pierre Gasly make their Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez debut this weekend. Brendon Hartley, however, has two WEC victories for Porsche in Mexico, winning in 2016 and again earlier this year.
A pole position for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel this weekend would mark his 50th in Formula One.
Daniil Kvyat has been dropped by Toro Rosso for the Mexican Grand Prix and will be replaced by Pierre Gasly.