We're now down to the final weeks of the 2019 Formula One World Championship, with round 18 talking place this weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, home of the Mexican Grand Prix.
Located just outside of Mexico City, the 2.67-mile circuit has always played host to the Mexican race, although its name and layout have changed over the years. It features a long straight, a mixed middle sector and a final part featuring the famous Peraltada, much modified today from its past as a parabolic corner reminiscent of the one at Monza.
The circuit also lies 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.
Top speeds are among the highest of the season, with cars reaching almost 230 mph on the approach to Turn 1. The weather can also be problematic, with both warm conditions and heavy rain possible. The current forecast calls for good weather throughout the weekend although there's the slight chance of a storm on both days.
Pirelli has nominated its C2, C3 and C4 tires, which is a harder combination than last year. Some graining was noted with last year’s softer selection, which should hopefully be reduced with this year’s harder compound choices. That graining was also the result of Mexico’s high altitude, with the resulting lack of downforce causing the cars to slide more.
Going into Saturday's qualifying session and Sunday's race, Mercedes-AMG's Lewis Hamilton leads the Drivers' Championship, with his tally coming in at 338 points. Fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas is second with 274 points and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc is third with 221 points. Only Hamilton and Bottas remain in contention for the Drivers' Championship, clearly with the odds strongly in Hamilton's favor. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes has already been given the title and currently sits on 612 points. Ferrari is second with 433 points and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing is third with 323 points. Last year's winner in Mexico was Max Verstappen driving for Red Bull.