The surface of the road at times had about as much grip as snow and ice, but as the rain hammered down and a high wind blew, a young Mexican chased down the leading Ferrari with an impressive display in appalling conditions…
That was the scene at Zandvoort in 1971. Forty-one years before Sergio Perez challenged the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso for victory in a monsoon-hit Malaysian GP, Another Mexican going by the name of Pedro Rodriguez hunted down Jacky Ickx’s Ferrari to record a memorable 2nd place – the last time a driver stood on the podium for the Federation of Mexico.
Whilst Perez had but one opportunity to make a pass on Alonso (ultimately botched by running wide at a hairpin), the battle between Ickx and Rodriguez was far more lively – if not as intense – with both drivers sharing the lead numerous times.
If you have not seen their battle at Zandvoort you can view it here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ege2qfYuAuM
Pedro Rodriguez was just 20 and his brother Ricardo two years younger when US Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti dispatched them to Le Mans at the wheel of a Ferrari 250 “Testa Rossa.” There the Mexican kids put the fear of God into all their rivals and would have won the race had the car lasted. Oddly enough Sergio Perez is not only a graduate of the Ferrari Driver Academy, but also shares a motorsport sibling, as the younger brother of Antonio Perez; former champion of the Nascar Corona Series.