It had been 16 years since the last Mexican GP (the country that hosted the football World Cup earlier that year) and the same circuit, now called the Rodriguez Brothers Autodrome in the heart of Mexico City had been completely rebuilt was a shorter circuit than the original but despite resurfacing work it was very bumpy, thanks to Mexico City's geologically active surface. The circuit was located 7,380 feet above sea level- even higher than the Kyalami circuit in South Africa, of which this event was replacing. The only change from the field at the Portuguese GP was that AGS had not made the trip to Mexico. Qualifying was a familiar story with Senna on pole in his JPS Lotus-Renault. Then came Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell in their Williams-Hondas with Gerhard Berger fourth in his Benetton-BMW. Next up was Riccardo Patrese (Brabham-BMW) ahead of Alain Prost (McLaren-TAG/Porsche), Derek Warwick in the second Brabham, Patrick Tambay in the Haas Lola, Teo Fabi's Benetton and Philippe Alliot in the Ligier-Renault. The Ferraris were not competitive. Mansell was in the position to win the World Championship if he could score a good result but at the start he made a mess of it and was left at the back of the field. Piquet and Senna were running first and second. Berger was third with Prost fourth. On the seventh lap Prost got ahead of Berger. Mansell charged up through the backmarkers but then had to pit for new tires. The only man not to do so was Berger, who reckoned that he might be able to go the distance on his Pirelli tires. When the other front-runners returned to action they were not able to close on Berger because the Goodyears were blistering in the heat. Piquet had led comfortably until a suspension issue cost him several seconds per lap, and forced 3 pitstops in the last few laps, dropping him from the lead to 4th.
Berger thus took his first Formula 1 victory, followed home by Prost and Senna. Piquet and Mansell were fourth and fifth - Mansell had caught right up to Piquet but was unable to pass his team-mate, who needed the points to retain a mathematical chance of the championship himself, and set the fastest lap of the race in response to Mansell's challenge: while the final point went to Alliot. As the F1 circus headed off to Australia Mansell was still in a dominant position in the World Championship six points clear of Prost and seven ahead of Piquet.