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1988 Mexican Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1988 Mexican Grand Prix
Race 4 of 16 in the 1988 Formula One World Championship
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.svg
Race details
Date 29 May 1988
Official name Gran Premio de México
Location Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City, Mexico
Course Permanent circuit
Course length 4.421 km (2.747 miles)
Distance 67 laps, 296.207 km (184.054 miles)
Weather Sunny and hot
Pole position
Driver McLaren-Honda
Time 1:17.468
Fastest lap
Driver France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda
Time 1:18.608 on lap 52
First McLaren-Honda
Second McLaren-Honda
Third Ferrari
Lap leaders

The 1988 Mexican Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 29 May 1988 at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City. It was the fourth race of the 1988 Formula One World Championship. The 67-lap race was won by Alain Prost, driving a McLaren-Honda, with teammate Ayrton Senna second and Gerhard Berger third in a Ferrari.



Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix saw few surprises. The turbo powered cars were expected to dominate in the high (2,240 metres (7,350 ft)) altitude of Mexico City where the naturally aspirated cars would lose approximately 20-25% of their power in the thinner air.

The McLaren-Hondas dominated the qualifying session once again. Ayrton Senna took his 20th career pole and his 4th pole from 4 races in 1988 with a lap time that was almost a second faster than Nigel Mansell's 1987 time despite the restriction in turbo boost from 4.0 Bar to 2.5 bar for 1988 (a drop of approximately 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS)). It was the first time in 1988 that a 1987 pole time had been beaten. Alain Prost was predictably second on the grid, though he was some 6/10ths slower than his teammate. Gerhard Berger (Ferrari) and Nelson Piquet (Lotus-Honda) made up the 2nd row. Satoru Nakajima (Lotus-Honda) and Eddie Cheever (Arrows-Megatron) made good use of the turbos' altitude advantage to qualify 6th and 7th respectively behind the 5th placed Ferrari of Michele Alboreto. For Nakajima it was something of a redemption as he had failed to qualify at Monaco. Mansell in the Williams-Judd could only make 14th due to continuing problems with the FW12's reactive suspension.

Alessandro Nannini's Benetton-Ford was the fastest 'atmo' car, some 3.3 seconds slower than Senna's pole time, while the Tyrrells of Jonathan Palmer and Julian Bailey, the turbo Osella of Nicola Larini and the Minardi of Adrián Campos failed to qualify. German Bernd Schneider qualified in 15th place for his first Grand Prix start in the Zakspeed turbo.

The last qualifying session was dominated by Philippe Alliot's terrifying crash after he lost control of his Lola, coming out of the Peraltada curve that leads onto the pit straight. The Peraltada, being slightly banked, was being taken at speeds in excess of 240 km/h (149 mph) in qualifying. After riding the outside curbing, the car suddenly pulled hard right, cut across the track and collided with the pit wall, barrel-rolling down the straight and back across the track, immediately disintegrating, and in the end stopped upside down on the edge of the track. Remarkably, Alliot was not only unhurt, but the Larrousse team was able to rebuild the Lola LC88 overnight (the re-build was necessary as the team was still awaiting a replacement chassis after Alliot had also crashed in the previous race in Monaco). After being given a clean bill of health from chief F1 medico Professor Sid Watkins, Alliot was able to take his place on the starting grid.


The first start was aborted because of Alessandro Nannini, who stalled the engine of his Benetton on the grid. As is normal practice since it meant an extra formation lap and as re-fueling on the grid was not allowed, this saw the race reduced from 68 to 67 laps. On the second start, Prost made a lightning get away and took the lead. Senna was slightly slowed by the pop-off valve opening too soon and was passed by Nelson Piquet who had actually made the best start, so good that he was almost able to out brake Prost into the first turn. This allowed Prost to take advantage and build a lead of almost two seconds by the end of the first lap. Senna passed Piquet for second coming into the Peraltada curve on the first lap, but could only ever bridge the ever-growing gap to Prost when lapping traffic. While the McLarens held the first two places throughout the race, Berger had passed Piquet for 3rd place under braking at the end of the main straight, and by half distance he had moved to within three seconds of Senna when he backed off after receiving a 'low fuel' warning (which turned out to be incorrect). Nakajima was also slightly slowed by the pop-off valve opening too soon on his Honda engine and was passed by Michele Alboreto on lap 8. On lap 28 Nakajima retired with piston failure in his Honda engine, followed on lap 59 by teammate Piquet with a similar engine failure.

As predicted, the turbo cars dominated the race. The two Ferraris finished 3rd and 4th (Alboreto in 4th being the last car to be lapped by the McLarens) ahead of the two Arrows of Derek Warwick and Eddie Cheever who had a race-long duel and were separated by just 0.7s at the line. The first 'atmo' cars home were the two Benettons who finished two laps down (even lapped by the two Arrows cars) and out of the points in 7th and 8th after another race long duel with Nannini coming out on top, battling not only his teammate but a pinched nerve in his right foot. Yannick Dalmas (Lola-Ford) fought his way from 22nd up to 9th at the flag and after starting 15th, Bernd Schneider had run as high as 11th in the early laps before retiring with a blown engine on lap 17.

Alain Prost set a new lap record on lap 52 of the 67 lap race with a time of 1:18.608, half a second faster than Nelson Piquet's 1987 lap record when the turbo engines had approximately 300 more horsepower. This, along with Senna's faster than 1987 pole time, showed the advancements in engines, tyres, aerodynamics and chassis development in the seven months between the 1987 and 1988 races.



Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Rial-Ford 1:24.720
2 36 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 1:27.331 +2.611
3 32 Argentina Oscar Larrauri EuroBrun-Ford 1:27.523 +2.803
4 31 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Coloni-Ford 1:28.498 +3.778
EX 33 Italy Stefano Modena EuroBrun-Ford 1:31.473 +6.753


Pos No Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Gap
1 12 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 1:17.468 1:17.666
2 11 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 1:18.097 1:18.301 +0.629
3 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 1:19.725 1:18.120 +0.652
4 1 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Honda 1:20.380 1:18.946 +1.478
5 27 Italy Michele Alboreto Ferrari 1:20.328 1:19.626 +2.158
6 2 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Honda 1:21.694 1:20.275 +2.807
7 18 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Megatron 1:21.691 1:20.475 +3.007
8 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 1:20.740 1:21.403 +3.272
9 17 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Megatron 1:20.775 1:21.403 +3.307
10 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 1:22.335 1:21.952 +4.484
11 20 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Benetton-Ford 1:22.164 1:22.029 +4.561
12 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Rial-Ford 1:22.864 1:22.245 +4.777
13 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Ford 1:22.348 1:22.557 +4.880
14 5 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Judd 1:23.246 1:22.363 +4.895
15 10 Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed 1:24.335 1:22.642 +5.174
16 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin March-Judd 1:22.801 5:30.133 +5.333
17 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Judd 1:24.142 1:22.972 +5.511
18 9 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Zakspeed 1:25.375 1:23.078 +5.610
19 14 France Philippe Streiff AGS-Ford 1:23.191 1:23.750 +5.723
20 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Judd 1:24.315 1:23.287 +5.819
21 31 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Coloni-Ford 1:24.662 1:23.603 +6.135
22 29 France Yannick Dalmas Lola-Ford 1:24.279 1:23.606 +6.138
23 36 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 1:25.564 1:23.716 +6.248
24 26 Sweden Stefan Johansson Ligier-Judd 1:25.277 1:23.721 +6.253
25 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford 1:23.911 1:23.857 +6.389
26 32 Argentina Oscar Larrauri EuroBrun-Ford 1:23.405 1:24.032 +6.564
DNQ 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 1:24.390 1:24.849 +6.922
DNQ 21 Italy Nicola Larini Osella 1:24.405 1:24.408 +6.937
DNQ 4 United Kingdom Julian Bailey Tyrrell-Ford 1:25.525 1:25.231 +7.763
DNQ 23 Spain Adrián Campos Minardi-Ford 1:26.696 1:26.058 +8.590


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 11 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 67 1:30:15.737 2 9
2 12 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 67 + 7.104 1 6
3 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 67 + 57.314 3 4
4 27 Italy Michele Alboreto Ferrari 66 + 1 Lap 5 3
5 17 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Megatron 66 + 1 Lap 9 2
6 18 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Megatron 66 + 1 Lap 7 1
7 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 65 + 2 Laps 8  
8 20 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Benetton-Ford 64 + 3 Laps 11  
9 29 France Yannick Dalmas Lola-Ford 64 + 3 Laps 22  
10 26 Sweden Stefan Johansson Ligier-Judd 63 + 4 Laps 24  
11 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford 63 + 4 Laps 25  
12 14 France Philippe Streiff AGS-Ford 63 + 4 Laps 19  
13 32 Argentina Oscar Larrauri EuroBrun-Ford 63 + 4 Laps 26  
14 31 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Coloni-Ford 62 + 5 Laps 21  
15 9 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Zakspeed 61 + 6 Laps 18  
16 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 61 + 6 Laps 10  
Ret 1 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Honda 58 Engine 4  
Ret 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Rial-Ford 52 Gearbox 12  
Ret 2 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Honda 27 Engine 6  
Ret 5 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Judd 20 Engine 14  
Ret 10 West Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed 16 Engine 15  
Ret 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Judd 16 Engine 17  
Ret 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Judd 13 Accident 20  
Ret 36 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 13 Brakes 23  
Ret 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin March-Judd 10 Electrical 16  
Ret 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Ford 0 Suspension 13  
DNQ 23 Spain Adrián Campos Minardi-Ford
DNQ 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford        
DNQ 21 Italy Nicola Larini Osella        
DNQ 4 United Kingdom Julian Bailey Tyrrell-Ford        
EX 33 Italy Stefano Modena EuroBrun-Ford   Illegal Rear Wing    

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ "1988 Mexican Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Mexico 1988 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 19 March 2019.

Previous race:
1988 Monaco Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1988 season
Next race:
1988 Canadian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1987 Mexican Grand Prix
Mexican Grand Prix Next race:
1989 Mexican Grand Prix
This page was last edited on 9 April 2022, at 23:33
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