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F1 2017: Mexican Grand Prix Preview

Formula 1 Car Drives on Track

With the Constructors’ Championship now sealed and the Drivers’ Championship all but wrapped up, there will be a certain amount of melancholy floating around Sunday’s race out in Mexico.

With the Constructors’ Championship now sealed and the Drivers’ Championship all but wrapped up, there will be a certain amount of melancholy floating around Sunday’s race out in Mexico.

So, Lewis Hamilton, has all but secured his fourth Drivers’ Championship last week. The ‘Brit now just needs one more top five finish or Sebastian Vettel to not finish on the podium in one of the remaining three races to claim his fourth Drivers’ Championship, which would, in a touch of irony that is so systematic with F1, see him equal Vettel’s World Championship title haul.

Previous Race
Was Hamilton edging ever closer to his fourth Drivers’ title in the States really ever in doubt? Not at all! The ‘Brit came into the race weekend requiring just 35 points from four races to secure the title. And if you had asked him: which would be the first track he’d like to take on when this scenario came about? it would almost certainly have been the Circuit of the Americas, where he has been almost frustratingly dominant.

Having claimed pole in qualifying, the Mercedes main man sauntered to a race victory, bringing his car across the line some 10 seconds ahead of second-placed Sebastian Vettel. The latter, actually did rather well to claim second place, having struggled with the setup of his car during the free practice sessions.

While Vettel did beat the odds to claim second spot on the podium, the man who really caught the eye this weekend was Max Verstappen. The Dutch youngster, who had a heavy grid penalty due to an engine upgrade, started from 17th on the grid and scythed his way through the field to claim a remarkable third-place finish. Unfortunately, for Red Bull and young Max, he was harshly penalised for what looked like a legitimate overtake on Kimi Raikkonen during the final lap of the race. Subsequently, the Red Bull man was handed a five-second penalty which saw Raikkonen promoted from fourth to third, much to the bemusement of the veteran Finn, who thought nothing of Verstappen’s manoeuvre.

The Top 5 was a bit of an All-Star cast out in Texas, with Mercedes number two, Valtteri Bottas, rounding it out. The ‘Finn would have been hoping for a podium this weekend, having qualified in third but lady luck just doesn’t seem to be smiling upon him at this point in time.

While Bottas put in a less than impressive shift, the man who followed him across the line, Esteban Ocon, enjoyed another fantastic drive. The Frenchmen really has looked the business this year and Force India may struggle to keep a hold of him come the close of the season.

The rest of the Top 10 compromised of Carlos Sainz (7th), Sergio Perez (8th), Felipe Massa (9th) and the ‘Torpedo’ himself Daniel Kvyat, who finally managed to go an entire race without writing his car off – good on you, you crazy Russian.

Mexican Grand Prix | Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez | Sunday 29 October | 20:00

To Win Outright
Lewis Hamilton 83/100 | Sebastian Vettel 5/2 | Max Verstappen 6/1 | Daniel Ricciardo 9/1 |  | Valterri Bottas 12/1 | Kimi Raikkonen 22/1

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – named after racing drivers and brothers Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez – is packed with low-speed corners which will drastically test the field’s brake-by-wire systems. The track does have one of the longest straights on the calendar, however, so the drivers won’t just be plodding around corners for the entirety of the race.

The 4.304-kilometre long track is situated in a public park, named the Magdalena Sports City, in the South East of the Mexican capital. The circuit contains seventeen turns, with the most notorious of these being the high-speed corner which goes by the name of the “Peraltada”. This corner leads onto the start-finish line, and while it is a real challenge, it’s also a corner the drivers thoroughly enjoy.

The start-finish straight is 1.2 kilometres long and because of the high-speed exit from the Peraltada corner, drivers get a slingshot into it. This combined with the high altitude, means that we will see some blistering sector times being set here.

As you may well recall, last year’s Mexican Grand Prix was won by Lewis Hamilton with Nico Rosberg claiming second place, and Daniel Ricciardo third.

The weather looks impeccable this weekend with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-20’s being predicted throughout.

Value Bet

Podium Finish – Valtteri Bottas – Yes – 11/10
The ‘Finn’s poor run of form continued out in the States as he could only muster up a fifth-place. Subsequently, the ‘books have moved his price up on a podium finish out in Mexico to quite a tasty price.

Bottas has a healthy record at the track claiming third place in 2016 and a top eight finish in 2017. He will face stiff competition from the Red Bull boys for the final podium spot, but I really think the Mercedes man is due a performance. I’ll be having a moderate strike on Bottas to get himself on the podium this weekend.

Fastest Qualifier & Race Winner – Lewis Hamilton – 72/100 & 83/100
There have only been two Grand Prix’s ever held at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and both poles have been claimed by Mercedes drivers with Rosberg claiming first spot on the grid in 2016 and Hamilton taking the honour in 2015. The ‘Brit has been raking up the podiums for fun this year, again, and I can’t see that run ending out in Mexico. And while he only needs a Top 5 finish to take the title, I reckon he’ll want to do it in style, by making it back-to-back Mexican Grand Prix victories. I’m having a solid strike on Hamilton to claim both of these honours – you should as well!

Written by Darry Worthington for

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