For the first time in 23 years, the Formula One World Championship returns to Mexico, with the race once again taking place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. Due to the lengthy hiatus between this race and the last Mexican Grand Prix, for most drivers and crew the layout will be completely unfamiliar.
Mexico City’s high altitude of around 7,500 feet also raises a number of issues that teams need to be aware of, and coupled with uncertain whether plaguing large parts of North America at the moment, this weekend’s race will be a hard one to prepare for.
The peak temperature on Sunday, the day of the race, will be a mild 68 degrees F (20 degrees C) and some thunderstorms are forecast. The forecast for tomorrow’s qualifying session doesn’t look much better, and already today some early showers have left the track wet for the practice session.
The entire field reported low grip conditions, with lap times for the 2.67-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez a long way off those predicted by the simulator. At the time of writing, the three quickest were Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen with a 1.25.990, followed by Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat (1.26.295) and Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen (1.26.295).
Going into tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday’s race, Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton, who has already been awarded the 2015 Drivers’ title, leads the field with 327 points. The runner-up position is still up for grabs, with fellow Mercedes man Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel the two drivers in contention. Vettel is second with 251 points and Rosberg is third with 247. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes was already handed the title and currently enjoys 574 points versus the 374 of Ferrari and 220 of Williams.