For the second consecutive Mexican Grand Prix there will something incredibly rare on offer to the driver that claims pole position at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, raising the stakes for the likes of Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, but especially Mexican Sergio Pérez.
At last year’s Mexican GP, the pole sitter was awarded a replica Juan Manuel Fangio helmet, to commemorate the five-time World Champion’s first world title, which came 70 years prior to last year’s race.
The poleman on that day was former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas; however, it was Verstappen who went on to win his third Mexican GP from the last four races at the circuit.
It could be argued that this year’s pole prize is somewhat greater, because as well as starting first, the person who claims pole will be awarded a replica Pedro Rodriguez and Ricardo Rodriguez helmet.
The two brothers are Mexican motorsport legends, with Ricardo (the younger of the two), having become the youngest ever Ferrari driver when he made his debut at the 1961 Italian Grand Prix aged just 19 years and 208 days.
Ricardo remains as the youngest Ferrari debutant ever; however, he sadly died the following year at the Mexican GP whilst driving for Lotus in a non-championship event, something which commonly happened in that era.
It meant the incredibly talented driver died at just 20 years of age, at his home race.
Dramatically, Pedro was due to make his F1 debut at the race his brother died at, which resulted in the older brother rejecting the chance to make his awaited debut.
He went on to make a few appearances in 1963, before claiming a seat at Cooper in 1967 for the South African Grand Prix, which he unbelievably won.
Pedro claimed victory also at the Belgian Grand Prix, as well as the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Daytona 24 Hours.
Sadly, though, Pedro was killed in a racing accident whilst competing in a sports car race in West Germany in 1971.
The brothers’ deaths continue to be remembered amongst Mexicans, with the circuit being named in memory of them.
Pérez actually wore a Pedro-inspired helmet at Monaco this season, a race he, of course, famously won.
You’d have to imagine that the Red Bull driver will be wanting pole position at Mexico more than any other Grand Prix, in what would be an incredibly emotional moment.
“It is a great honour to collaborate again with the Fangio Foundation to offer an invaluable gift to the winner of the pole position of our event,” said Mexican Grand Prix general director Federico Gonzalez Compean.
“The Rodríguez brothers are great heroes of motorsport not only in Mexico, but also in Latin America and throughout the world.
“I am sure that just as Valtteri Bottas was honoured to receive Fangio’s replica. The 2022 pole winner will be delighted to collect both helmets on this special 60th anniversary of the arrival of Formula 1 in our country.”