<
>

Mexican GP to hold minute's silence for earthquake victims

MEXICO CITY -- A minute's silence will be held ahead of Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix to honour the victims of last month's earthquake.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck central Mexico on Sept. 19 claimed the lives of 370 people, injuring over 6,000 more, and caused severe damage to parts of the city. This weekend's Mexican Grand Prix is the first international event to take place inside the city limits since.

Plans are in place to commemorate the victims and send a message of thanks to every nation to send aid to Mexico City in the aftermath of the earthquake. The flags of those nations will be displayed on the grid ahead of the race.

The memorial will take place immediately after the 20 drivers have formed up at the front of the grid for the Mexican national anthem and before they return to their vehicles for the formation lap.

F1's only full-time Mexican driver, Sergio Perez, has helped raise over £2 million for the earthquake appeal fund. Perez believes putting on a good show is crucial for the morale of the city.

"It has been a very tough couple of months for my country in general, not just Mexico City, but other cities," he said earlier in the weekend. "What happened was horrible. But it was amazing to see a united Mexico -- but not only Mexico, the whole world, how everyone supported Mexico was pretty special. I think that's one of the reasons that this race is going to very special for the fans.

"I really hope that the fans that come here will have an amazing time, and the ones watching at home, hopefully I give them an amazing race and a lot of happiness that they really deserve to have.

In the days after the earthquake, circuit bosses made it clear this year's race would be going ahead as planned to send "a powerful message" about Mexico and its people's resolve. Not only has the race stuck to its original preparation schedule, it has sold out again, with circuit chiefs expecting similar numbers to last year's overall attendance of 339,967. The race-day crowd in 2016 was 135,026.