Ricardo RodrÌguez de la Vega

Saturday 14th February 1942

Born on this day, Ricardo RodrÌguez de la Vega, the younger of the two racing Rodriguez brothers, was a wild and fearless Mexican who entered Grand Prix racing with a bang. Invited by Enzo Ferrari to drive for Ferrari in the Italian Grand Prix that year, he sensationally qualified on the front row, just a tenth slower than World Championship leader Wolfgang Von Trips. He challenged Phil Hill and Richie Ginther for the lead until a fuel pump failure put him out. He thus became the youngest ever driver to debut in an F1 race. After promising spells at Ferrari, Ricardo was already being considered as a future World Champion, but had to find a car when Ferrari opted not to enter the non-Championship Mexican Grand Prix. He therefore signed to drive Rob Walkerís Lotus 24 Climax V8 (941). He desperately wanted to win the first Mexican F1 GP, and trying to improve John Surtees time when his Lotus veered sharply to the left in the middle of the fearsome 180-degree banked Peraltada corner and crashed heavily at about 140 km/h. Ricardo was dead on the scene at the age of 20.

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