50 – 1964 Mexican Grand Prix


A series taken from the 162-page Motor Sport special 100 Greatest Grands Prix (other specials are available here).

Two years after the dramatic seasonal finale in South AfricaGraham Hill taking race and title for BRM after Jim Clark’s Lotus sprang an oil leak – the same pair vied for the big prize again, this time with John Surtees as a third interested party.

Clark needed to win with Hill no higher than third, while second would suffice for Hill, irrespective of other results. Second might be enough for Surtees, so long as Clark was behind him and Hill – who had to drop one score, with only a driver’s best six results counting – finished no higher than third.

Got all that? 

As was the custom throughout the early ’60s, Clark led away from pole with Dan Gurney (Brabham) running second ahead of Hill and Surtees’s team-mate Lorenzo Bandini.

Surtees was back in fifth – and seemingly out of title contention.

Hill’s chances were then partially torpedoed by Bandini, who ran into the BRM, spinning it around and damaging its exhaust pipe at the expense of a few bhp. Clark looked ever more likely a champion… although with a few laps to go his Climax V8 began to leak oil.

On the penultimate lap the leader was forced to park with a seized engine and the advantage passed to Hill, but only until Ferrari gave Bandini a signal to slow and let Surtees through. While Gurney swept to victory, Bandini complied during the final lap and, for the sake of one point, Surtees became the first – and so far only – competitor to secure world championships on both two wheels and four. In the space of a lap and a half, the title had changed hands three times. SA

About 100 Greatest Grands Prix | From the editor Damien Smith
The Grand Prix motor races we can never forget…

This was a special one-off magazine, dedicated to our love of Grand Prix racing and produced by the same team that brings you Motor Sport each month.

It seemed a good idea: whittle down 107 years of racing history to come up with 100 GPs that could be considered the ‘greatest’ – then rank them in meritocratic order. By week three, the old grey matter was beginning to ache…

Defining greatness was the first task. There were the obvious races – the wheel-to-wheel duels, the comeback classics. But there were also individual performances of supreme dominance, races that might not necessarily have been the most exciting to witness. Greatness goes way beyond thrill-a-minute, we decided.

Choosing which races should make the list was hard enough; ranking the top 100 in some sort of order was even tougher, especially when it came to the crunch: which should be number one? We never did agree unanimously on the ‘greatest’, but if the magazine was to be finished a decision had to be taken. And that’s what I’m here for!

Will you agree with our choice and order? Probably not. But if steam begins to issue from your ears, take a deep breath. In any exercise such as this, there is no definitive list – because there can’t be. Our top 100 is based on opinion, nothing more, designed to be a bit of fun and to spark good-natured debate among fans of the world’s greatest sport.

You can download 100 Greatest Grands Prix in PDF form in the Motor Sport app.

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