Lewis Hamilton will be looking to further cut Nico Rosberg’s lead at the summit of the Drivers’ Championship when the F1 field lines up for Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Things are rather nicely poised on the Drivers’ standings as we enter the second leg of Formula 1’s tour of the Americas. Lewis Hamilton’s victory out in Texas has seen Nico Rosberg’s lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship cut to 26 points, as we head North for the Mexican Grand Prix.
The question we’re now left to ask, is can Hamilton make further inroads or will Rosberg reclaim his cushy points buffer?
I have to be honest here and admit I missed the vast majority of last week’s race. Unlike Hungary, my reason for missing a good portion of the broadcast was not boredom but rather an electrical storm that decided to make an appearance just before the starting lights went out. When I was finally able to turn my television set back on, the sight that greeted me was a rather pleasing one with Lewis Hamilton well on his way to his fifth United States Grand Prix victory and Nico Rosberg set for a second place finish.
While I’m not a huge fan of the Brit, I was ecstatic to see him claim the win as it’s kept the Drivers’ Championship well and truly alive. And while Rosberg could still seal the deal this weekend, it would require a massive upset that would need to see Hamilton finish outside the top ten. So it looks like last week’s Hamilton victory will ensure that the final two races of the season – Brazil and Abu Dhabi – will decide the fate of the Drivers’ Championship.
While Mercedes managed to claim another one-two finish, the happiest team in Texas would have been McLaren-Honda as drivers Fernando Alonso (5th) and Jenson Button (9th) managed to finish inside the points scoring positions. Another team who will be delighted with their showing out in Austin is Haas, whose main man Romain Grosjean grabbed tenth-place. While it’s not the team’s best finish of the season, it was great for them to score points in front of their home crowd.
Ferrari didn’t have that great a day despite Sebastian Vettel claiming fourth place, as Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire early on in the Grand Prix due to an issue in the pits. Another team who had one driver finish in the top five and another retire from the race was Red Bull. Senior man Daniel Ricciardo managed to grab the final podium spot while Max Verstappen was forced to retire with gearbox issues.
The rest of the composition of the top ten was made up of Carlos Saiz Junior (6th), Felipe Massa (7th) and Sergio Perez (8th).
Mexican Grand Prix | Sunday 30 October | Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez | 20:30
To Win Outright
Lewis Hamilton 9/10 | Nico Rosberg 27/20 | Daniel Ricciardo 12/1 | Max Verstappen 14/1 | Sebastian Vettel 16/1 | Kimi Raikkonen 33/1 | Nico Hulkenberg 250/1 | Sergio Perez 250/1
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 break 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 kilometers 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.
The have once again issued the Soft and Medium compound tyres for F1’s visit to Mexico. The tyre manufacture has elected to add the Super Soft compounds as their third nominated tyre.
In terms of the weather forecast for the weekend, the field is likely to be greeted by clear skies for Friday’s practice sessions, with the sublime weather conditions set to carry through to Saturday. Sunday sees a change in weather with the local weather bureau predicting a few scattered thunder showers.
Podium Finish: Sergio Perez 14/1
The local lad enjoyed a decent showing at last year’s Mexican Grand Prix finishing the race in eighth place. While the battle for the final podium position has mainly been between the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers, I suspect the Force India man may be in the mix this weekend. Perez knows the track like the back of his hand having grown up racing on it. The hometown hero is certainly worth a punt at 14/1 for a podium finish. I’d also recommend having a small strike on him for a win especially with the odds currently sitting at 250/1.
To Win Outright
Lewis Hamilton 9/10
The pressure may be on the Brit but that’s just the way he likes it. His victory in the United States will have given a huge shot in the arm heading to Mexico. He has come out on the record saying that he’s bit nervous about his car’s reliability but I reckon the Mercedes mechanics will have been working around the clock this week to ensure the car holds up. Get on the Brit for the win at 9/10.
Nico Rosberg 12/10
I have a sneaky suspicion that this is going to be a dramatic race weekend that sees Nico claim P1 and then struggle during the main race. The Mercedes man managed to claim pole in Mexico last year seeing off his teammate in the final session by 0.188 points of a second. My money is on Rosberg claiming another pole position.
Max Verstappen 14/1
I’m tipping this one based on price more than anything else. ‘Mad Max’ should enjoy racing on this track as it tends to favour the more aggressive of drivers. If he can manage to keep his nose clean and avoid a crash, he’s well in with a shout of setting the fastest lap time near the back end of the race.