- October 25 down the years
Surtees is champion on four wheels and twoWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
The championship battle came down to a thrilling finale in Mexico City with three drivers in with a chance of lifting the drivers' title. Graham Hill led on 39 points from John Surtees on 34 and Jim Clark the outsider on 30 points and needing victory with the others failing to score. Clark duly claimed pole almost a second faster than Dan Gurney. Clark set off into the lead and Hill's chances were dented when he dropped to 10th after the elastic on his goggles broke. Surtees too started badly, and he slipped to 13th with a misfiring engine before beginning a charge back through the field. Hill, meanwhile, had moved into the third place he needed to stay ahead of Clark but his chances ended when he spun after contact with Lorenzo Bandini. Surtees moved up to third but Clark looked set for his second title until his engine agonisingly seized up on the final lap. "It was just bad luck - the worst possible," said a deflated Clark afterwards. With Bandini having passed Surtees, the Englishman's chances now relied on charity from his Ferrari team-mate to allow him to finish in the second place he needed behind Dan Gurney. He duly obliged and Surtees became the first motorcycling world champion to win a world title on four wheels as well. "It was fantastic, I never thought I had a chance," said Surtees.
After announcing that he was to quit the sport at the end of the season, Nigel Mansell gave a parting gift to his loyal team-mate Riccardo Patrese by pulling off the racing line to allow the Italian to pass and win the Japanese Grand Prix. It was a generous gesture from Mansell, who had already wrapped up the title in record-breaking style although to make the point he was still the quicker man, he sat on sister Williams' gearbox until he retired with an engine failure. Gerhard Berger finished second and Martin Brundle piloted his Benetton home in third after Mika Hakkinen's late retirement.
Jacky Ickx led home team-mate Clay Regazzoni for a Ferrari 1-2 at the season-ending Mexican Grand Prix. Regazzoni had secured his first pole position and set off into the lead pursued by Jackie Stewart and Ickx. Both Ickx and Stewart soon passed Regazzoni and it the race looked set fair until Stewart's steering column broke, allowing Denny Hulme to finish third.
Stuart Lewis-Evans received fatal injuries at the Moroccan Grand Prix when his engine seized and he was hurled into the crash barriers. He was airlifted back to the UK but died of his injuries six days later. It cast a dark shadow over the team's win in the inaugural constructors' championship and team owner Tony Vandervell was so upset he quit the sport at the end of the year.
The qualifying session for the title-decider at Jerez produced an extraordinary result as title protagonists Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher ad Heinz-Harald Frentzen were separated by less than one thousandth of a second. Such a close margin in qualifying has never happened before or since.