GP Mexico: [Video] GP Mexico 1964: Surtees, champion 'in extremis'


John Surtees. Photo: Scuderia Ferrari

When he made his debut in Formula 1 in 1960, John Surtees accumulated five world championship, two in the category of 350cc and two in the 500cc. That same year, he added two other gimped to his belt rider. Four years later, in the Great Prize of Mexico, the british took the title of Formula 1 and became the only world champion on two and four wheels.

The circuit Magdalena Mixhuca, current Rodriguez Brothers, was the tenth and last race of the season. Three britons, Graham Hill (BRM) Jim Clark (Lotus-Climax) and Surtees (Ferrari) vying for the title. Hill had five points ahead of Surtees and 9 about Clark, though, for scoring, you should rule out a result in, since it was the only one of the three contenders who had already reached the six that the regulation allowed to post.

From the pole, Clark assumed the command, followed by the Brabham of Dan Gurney, Hill and the Ferrari of Lorenzo Bandini. Surtees was fifth and, apparently, few options. The first coup de theatre occurred when Bandini, at the exit of the hairpin prior to the eses, struck Hill, causing damage that made you lose power to your motor and led him to positions delayed. It was an action that, according to the images, hardly could be considered a racing incident. The title was in the hands of Clark, but two laps from the end his engine melted.

At that time, the positions were Gurney-Bandini-Surtees. Again, Hill was the virtual champion. But in the box of Ferrari did fast the accounts. If Surtees had just second, the title was theirs. With dramatic gestures, made it know Bandini passing by on the main straight that should lift the foot. The Italian obeyed, and Surtees (father of the late Henry Surtees, who died in 2009 in a race of F2 at Brands Hatch) crossed the line second, winning the championship with 40 points compared to the 39 Hill.