The 1986 Mexican Grand Prix, otherwise known as the X Gran Premio de Mexico, was the fifteenth and penultimate round of the 1986 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City on the 12 October 1986. The race, which was the first Mexican Grand Prix to be staged since 1970, would see Gerhard Berger claim a maiden victory for himself and Benetton-BMW.
In the sixteen years since F1's last visit to the Autódromo the circuit had been renovated and shortened, with the infamous Peraltada also re-profiled to lessen the banking. However, while the facilities had been revamped the circuit itself remained hugely bumpy, with geological developments causing the surface to deteriorate further before F1's return.
Qualifying would see Ayrton Senna grab pole position for Lotus-Renault, with compatriot Nelson Piquet alongside. Championship leader Nigel Mansell, who would win the title if he finished ahead of Piquet and Alain Prost, was third, while Berger grabbed fourth.
Unfortunately for Mansell his title hopes were slashed at the start, with the Brit making a miserable getaway from third. He duly slumped to the back of the field as Senna and Piquet duelled for the lead, with the Lotus emerging from the first corner ahead of the Williams-Honda.
The early stages would see the order stabilise out front, with Senna able to keep Piquet at arms length, while Prost elbowed his way past Berger for third. Mansell, meanwhile, would easily sweep past the backmarkers to get back into the top ten, although in doing so he trashed his tyres and had to pit.
Indeed, the race ultimately became one dictated by tyre wear, with all of the Goodyear runners having to make a stop. In the resulting mix-up Berger would shuffle to the head of the field, the only driver in the top end of the field using Pirelli tyres.
Prost would also benefit from the stops, shuffling ahead of Senna and Piquet, and duly managed to close the gap to the non-stopping Berger. Yet, before too long Prost, as well as the other Goodyear runners, had huge blisters develop on their tyres, effectively ending any hope of them catching the Austrian out front.
With that the race was effectively run, with Berger nursing his Benetton-BMW home to claim his first victory in F1. Prost, Senna and Piquet duly held station in second through to fourth, while Mansell benefited from several late retirements to grab fifth ahead of Philippe Alliot.
Ultimately, those two points would mean little to Mansell's title hopes, for his fifth place in Mexico was considered as a dropped score and hence kept his tally for the season at 70. Yet, the Brit would still win the title in Australia if he finished on the podium, while Prost and Piquet would have to win the race outright to claim the crown.
Victory in Portugal had moved Nigel Mansell ten points clear in the Championship with two races to go, meaning he could take the title with victory in Mexico. Indeed, either Nelson Piquet or Alain Prost would have to finish ahead of the Brit, and claim points, to keep the title fight alive, with Prost having to claim fourth or better regardless. Ayrton Senna, meanwhile, had fallen out of the title fight with two rounds to go, his late retirement in Estoril ensuring he was nineteen points off Mansell, with eighteen left to fight for.
In contrast the battle for the 1986 Constructors' Championship was over, for Williams-Honda had built an unassailable lead with two rounds to go. Indeed, their tally of 130 left them 49 points clear of McLaren-TAG Porsche after the battle of Portugal, with the Anglo-German alliance effectively guaranteed second as consolation. Lotus-Renault still had a mathematical chance of beating them to the runner-up spot, but would have to claim first and second in both of the remaining races to do so.
The full entry list for the 1986 Mexican Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1986 Mexican Grand Prix are outlined below:
|6||1||Alain Prost||McLaren-TAG Porsche||1:19.294||1:18.421||+1.431s|
|8||16||Patrick Tambay||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:20.492||1:18.839||+1.849s|
|11||2||Keke Rosberg||McLaren-TAG Porsche||—||1:19.342||+2.352s|
|15||15||Alan Jones||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:20.525||1:20.090||+3.100s|
|22||23||Andrea de Cesaris||Minardi-Motori Moderni||1:22.470||1:22.521||+5.480s|
|24||24||Alessandro Nannini||Minardi-Motori Moderni||1:25.179||1:23.457||+6.467s|
|25||21||Piercarlo Ghinzani||Osella-Alfa Romeo||1:25.767||1:24.176||+7.186s|
|26||22||Allen Berg||Osella-Alfa Romeo||1:26.573||1:27.209||+9.583s|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
|Andrea de Cesaris||______________|
- * Rothengatter was unable to start after an accident in the warm-up.
The full results for the 1986 Mexican Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Palmer, Johansson, Patrese and Arnoux were all still classified despite retiring as they had completed 90% of the race distance.
- † Rothengatter was unable to start after an accident during warm-up.
- Piercarlo Ghinzani started his 50th Grand Prix.
- Also the 200th entry for a car using #21 as its race number.
- Fifteenth pole for Ayrton Senna.
- Maiden victory for Gerhard Berger.
- This was the tenth win for a car using #20 as its race number.
- Benetton secured their first win as a constructor.
Nigel Mansell remained at the head of the Championship after the Mexican Grand Prix, although his lead had been cut to six points. Regardless, the Brit would claim the crown if he finished third or higher in Australia, regardless of what Alain Prost or Nigel Mansell could do. Indeed, nothing short of a victory for either the Frenchman or the Brazilian would do in Oceania to overhaul Mansell's 70 point tally.
In the Constructors Championship, meanwhile, there had been very little movement, with Williams-Honda already declared as Champions, and McLaren-TAG Porsche confirmed in second. Indeed, Lotus-Renault had even claimed third after the race in Mexico, leaving the battle for fourth as the only significant issue heading into the finale in Australia. Ferrari held the advantage, four ahead of Ligier-Renault, although the Italian team's rather indifferent campaign meant that the French "garagistas" stood a fair chance of moving back ahead of the Scuderia at the final hurdle.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 '15. Mexico 1986', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/mexique.aspx, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 'Mexican GP, 1986', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr435.html, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Mexico 1986: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/mexique/engages.aspx, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Gran Premio de Mexico - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1986/races/512/mexico/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Gran Premio de Mexico - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1986/races/512/mexico/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
- ↑ 'Mexico 1986: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/mexique/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 'Mexico 1986: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/mexique/classement.aspx, (Accessed 30/01/2019)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 '1986 Mexican GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1986&gp=Mexican%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 31/03/2019)
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