Round 18 of the 2021 Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend in Mexico.
Previously known as the Mexican Grand Prix, the race has been renamed the Mexico City Grand Prix to reflect its presence in the Mexican capital.
The annual race, which was skipped last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, runs on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, a 2.67-mile circuit located just outside of Mexico City. The circuit has always been home to the Mexican race, although its name and layout have changed over the years. The most recent update to the circuit's design was done prior to the 2015 race, by renowned circuit architect Herman Tilke.
The circuit's current layout consists of 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.
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, home of the Formula One Mexican Grand Prix
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 conditions throughout the weekend.
Pirelli has nominated the C2 as the P Zero White hard, C3 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C4 as the P Zero Red soft, the same nomination as 2019 but a step harder than in 2018. The decision to swap to the harder compound was due to elevated graining noted in the 2018 race.
Going into Saturday's qualifying session and Sunday's race, Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen leads the 2021 Drivers' Championship with 287.5 points. Mercedes-Benz AMG's Lewis Hamilton is second with 275.5 points and fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas is third with 185 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes leads with 460.5 points, versus the 437.5 of Red Bull and 254 of McLaren. The 2019 winner in Mexico was Hamilton driving for Mercedes.