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PREVIEW: Verstappen to open gap on Hamilton in Mexico?

There are five races left in the F1 season, and things are still pretty tight at the top with only 10 points separating Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on the Driver Standings.

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Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

There are five races left in the F1 season, and things are still pretty tight at the top with only 10 points separating Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on the Driver Standings.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Mexican Grand Prix
Sunday 7 November
Autodromo Hermano Rodriguez
21:00

To Win Race Outright

Max Verstappen 67/100
Lewis Hamilton 2/1
Sergio Perez 14/1
Valtteri Bottas 18/1
Charles Leclerc 35/1

Previous Race

The United States Grand Prix arguably produced the best racing of the season with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen going wheel to wheel for an all-important win. A smart pit and undercut from Verstappen and Red Bull put Verstappen in front. Hamilton would have to chase down his title nemesis and came awfully close but was unable to pip the Dutchman, who secured the crucial win. Hamilton took second while Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, rounded out the podium. Hamilton also picked up what could prove to be a vital extra point as he took the fastest lap accolade.

The rest of the top 6 was filled with familiar names as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took fourth, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo claimed fifth and Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valterri Bottas, took sixth.

Ferrari had a decent enough time of it Stateside despite not cracking the podium as Carlos Sainz’s seventh-place ensured the Prancing Stag walked away with a decent points return. He was followed across the line by Lando Norris (eighth). Yuki Tsunoda (ninth) and Sebastian Vettel (tenth) rounded out the points scoring positions.

Track

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez

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.

In terms of the weather for this weekend, we’re looking at somewhat overcast conditions but no real threat of rain which will be a relief to a number of drivers.

Last year’s Grand Prix was called off due to COVID, so the latest race data we have to go on s from 2019 where Lewis Hamilton took top honours, followed by Sebastian Vettel (second) and Valterri Botts (third) Max Verstappen, who took qualifying honours, ended up finishing the race in sixth.

Value Bet

Charles Leclerc to finish on the podium 9/4

Ferrari’s new engine has served them well and looks to have given them the edge over McLaren. Charles Leclerc’s form has also been good, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him on the podium this weekend.  

To Win Race Outright

Max Verstappen  67/100

The Dutch ace has a very handy record at the track having won the 2017 and 2018 editions of this race and taking pole in 2019. He’s been the dominant force this term and I reckon he’ll add another race win under his belt here.  

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