Mexican Grand Prix – 1986


Mexico had last hosted an F1 Grand Prix in the distant year of 1970. This meant that the track of the 1986 season’s next-to-last race would be new to all the drivers. Besides the challenges of a new circuit, Mexico City’s searing heat promised to be a big problem to everyone.

On Saturday, Senna already had a reason to smile: one more pole position. It was his 15th in Formula One, his second in a row and his eighth that year, half of a possible the 16 – an impressive feat for Ayrton Senna.

With a qualifying time of 1min16s990, Ayrton secured a Brazilian one-two with Nelson Piquet, whose Williams would be starting in second place. Britton Nigel Mansell and Austrian Gerhard Berger were in the second row, while Prost – who would go on to win the season – started only in sixth.

The main concern for Sunday was the resilience of the tires. At the time, Goodyear tires were used by McLaren, Williams and Lotus, whose cars were driven by the top four drivers that year – Mansell, Piquet, Prost and Senna, respectively. And Berger took advantage of the leaders’ tires’ wear and tear. The Austrian, whose Benetton was equipped with Pirellis, took on the risk of not making any pitstops, scoring the first win in his career, and Benetton’s first, that year.

Piquet took the lead after the first corner, with Senna in second and Berger in third. Prost jumped to fourth before the first lap was over, and, by the sixth, he was ahead of Berger.  Mansell fell to 16th place when his car sputtered out, and he had to make a brilliant race to finish in fifth.

Prost was the first among the leaders to change tires. When Piquet stopped, Senna led the race for four laps, testing the limits of his Lotus’ Renault engine at the 6,500-feet-above-the-sea-level track, the highest in the season.

After leaving the pit-lane, Senna had to slow down, because his Lotus was “shimmying too much”, referring to its serious stability issues in a track with a wavy layout where cars lost touch with the ground too often. This led to another pit-stop by Senna, and he slipped to third place. Piquet had even more trouble with his tires, pited three times and finished in fourth. The Williams driver knew that his chances of becoming champion were dwindling away, but he would get to the last race still technically in contention.

Alain Prost finished in second, after stopping only once. The Frenchman was the main beneficiary of the final result, as Mansell’s advantage over him fell from 11 to 6 points.  After the race, the world waited for the showdown between Nigel Mansell (70 points), Alain Prost (64) and Nelson Piquet (63). The result in Mexico meant that only those three were going to be fighting for the title in the final race, to be held two weeks later in a new track: Australia’s street circuit of Adelaide. All that was left for Ayrton was to fight for third place in the Driver’s Championship.

Resumo da Corrida

  • 1 Ayrton Senna
  • 2 N. Piquet
  • 3 N. Mansell
  • 4 G. Berger
  • 5 R. Patrese
  • 6 A. Prost
  • 7 D. Warwick
  • 8 P. Tambay
  • 9 T. Fabi
  • 10 P. Alliot
  • 11 K. Rosberg
  • 12 M. Alboreto
  • 13 R. Arnoux
  • 14 S. Johansson
  • 15 A. Jones
  • 16 M. Brundle
  • 17 J. Drumfries
  • 18 J. Palmer
  • 19 P. Streiff
  • 20 C. Danner
  • 21 T. Boutsen
  • 22 A. de Cesaris
  • 23 H. Rothengatter
  • 24 A. Nannini
  • 25 P. Ghinzani
  • 26 A. Berg
Voltas 68
Tempo Ensolarado
Volta mais rápida N. Piquet - 1´19´´360
Podium 1º G. Berger 2º A. Prost 3º Ayrton Senna
Carros 26
Abandonos 8

Senna na corrida

Posição de largada 1
Posição final 3
Melhor volta 1’20’’237
Pontos somados para o Campeonato 4
Posição no Campeonato após a prova 4
O que disse após a prova
“I had trouble with the tires, which forced me to return to the boxes right after a pit stop. But the car had been set up very well.”