Racing heads to Mexico City as we gear up to wrap up the season
After an eventful United States Grand Prix, we head to Mexico with both the Constructors’ and the Drivers’ championships wrapped up by Red Bull.
Even though both championships are secured, there is still plenty of things to fight for, for the remaining teams. While Ferrari and Mercedes look to secure the second spot in the Constructors’, Alpine-McLaren and Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin have been involved in a tight season-long battle for the fourth and sixth position.
As we head into the final three races of the season, here are a few possibilities for the Mexican weekend.
Second to none
Ferrari haven’t won a race since the Austrian Grand Prix where Charles Leclerc pipped Verstappen for the Monegasque’s third win of the season. Since the Austrian race, Red Bull have been on an eight-race win streak and no one has even come close to the Austrian team. Red Bull’s utter domination throughout the season have seen them wrap up their fifth Constructors’ championship and the team. While Red Bull have wrapped up their Constructors’ title, the second place spot is still wide open. Ferrari’s failure to convert multiple pole positions into wins and other driver and team errors have seen Mercedes come increasingly close to the Scuderia and the Silver Arrows are now just 53 points behind the Italian team in the Constructors’ fight for that second place. While Mercedes have not had the pace Ferrari has had for the majority of the season, Ferrari’s downfall has been brought upon by themselves.
All, though, isn’t lost for the Scuderia. Red Bull wrapping up the Constructors’ title just might be a blessing in disguise of the Italian team. With the championship settled, Ferrari have nothing to lose in the final three races of the season and that means the team can try to be bold. Ferrari definitely have a car to compete for wins and it is evident by the number of poles the team has this season, 12. While Red Bull might be just ahead on their race pace, Ferrari have shown that they can bring the challenge to the Austrian team. Sainz charged to P5 from the back of the grid in France, Leclerc got a P6 finish in Belgium after starting in fifteenth position and the Monegasque was just two seconds behind Verstappen in Italy, finishing second. Leclerc was within a second of race-winner Sergio Pérez in Singapore as well and while Red Bull have been a notch above them Ferrari have shown strong pace in the recent races at the Asian leg and the United States Grand Prix.
Mexico has always been a track that has suited the Scuderia, given the high downforce, the Italian team should fancy their chances on Sunday and are definitely going to be challenging Red Bull for that win.
Pole prediction: Max Verstappen / Charles Leclerc / Sergio Pérez
Win prediction: Red Bull / Ferrari
Increasing the Gap
The fight for the fourth position in the Constructors’ standings has been extremely tight for the last few seasons and it is no different this season either. McLaren and Alpine have been involved in an epic battle for P4 throughout the season and the battle seems to be going down to the wire.
While McLaren had the early advantage in the season, Alpine have fought back and the French team are just beginning to pull away. It is to be noted here that Alpine, especially Fernando Alonso, has been extremely unlucky and has easily lost around 50 points this season. Should the two-time World champion have had better luck, Alpine would have been comfortably ahead in the standings but the battle now will go down to the last race.
McLaren have shown strong race pace in the recent few races, while Alpine have struggled just a bit on Saturdays, which have hampered their Sundays. The onus is with Alpine once again and Alonso’s performance in Austin just shows how strong a car the French team has. Alonso was almost taken out of the race by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, but the Spaniard manged to change his front wing and finished P7 (which is under investigation).
The Mexican race should be another strong race for the French team and expect Alpine to pull away in the fourth place battle in the Constructors’ standings.
Dark horses for podium: Alpine/McLaren
Aston Martin’s late surge
Aston Martin came into the 2022 season as one of the dark horses but the season has been nothing but disappointing. The team have been the second slowest car on the grid after Williams and had a shocking start to the season.
Of late though, the British team have brought some important updates to their car which has seen them fight for the sixth position in the Constructors’ championship. While they still probably don’t have the one-lap pace of a Haas AlphaTauri or Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin have been smart on Sunday and their talisman Sebastian Vettel has single-handedly carried them to a position in the Constructors’ table where they shouldn’t be, given the machinery they have. Heading into the Mexican race, the team is coming off the back of three top seven finishes thanks to Vettel (P6 in Singapore, P6 in Japan and P7 in United States) and the team are just two points away pushing Alfa Romeo off the sixth position in the Constructors’ standings.
The team have been on a strong run since the Asian leg and should be in for a strong Sunday in Mexico City as well. With Vettel driving at a level he has not been for the last couple of years, Aston Martin should be in for a good haul of points in Mexico.
Race details: When and where to watch (India)
Circuit: Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
Venue: Mexico City, Mexico
Practice Session 1 time: 23:30 (IST), 28 October
Practice Session 2 time: 02:30 (IST), 29 October
Practice Session 3 time: 22:30 (IST), 29 October
Qualifying time: 01:30 (IST), 30 October
Main race time: 01:30 (IST), 31 October
Where to watch: Star Sports Network | Disney+ Hotstar