2017 Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix preview

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Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, home of the Formula One Mexican Grand Prix

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, home of the Formula One Mexican Grand Prix

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Round 18 of the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship is on this weekend at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, home of the Mexican Grand Prix.

The Mexican race only returned to the calendar in 2015 after last being run in 1992. The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit where the race is held is located in Mexico City and sits at an altitude of close to 7,500 feet, the thinner density of the air making engines work harder and cooling more of a challenge. The cars also typically run in high-downforce mode because of the thin air’s lower drag effect.

It’s a high-speed circuit with long straights combined with low-apex-speed corners. Top speeds are among the highest of the season, with cars reaching almost 230 mph on the approach to Turn 1. Grip levels are on the low side, as the surface is still young.

The weather can also be problematic, with both warm conditions and heavy rain possible. The current forecast calls for good weather throughout the weekend, though. Pirelli has nominated its medium, soft and supersoft tires for the race.

The Mexican race will likely see Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton win his fourth Drivers’ Championship, as he need only finish fifth to secure the title, and that's with Vettel winning. The Mercedes driver sits on 331 points versus the 265 of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, the only other contender at this point. Mercedes took the Constructors’ title at last weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

The result is a bit of a shame as the start of the season, with the new cars and the close competition between Hamilton and Vettel, made it seem like things would be going down to the wire. The competition was still tight by the summer break but then a number of mishaps at Ferrari saw the team fall back.

Going into Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race, Hamilton’s tally in the Drivers’ Championship is 331 points. Vettel is second with 265 points and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas is third with 244 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes has 575 points. Ferrari is second with 428 points and Red Bull Racing is third with 315 points. Last year’s winner in Mexico was Hamilton.

 
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