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Mexican Grand Prix – Race Preview

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Racing returns to Mexico City with the title fight on the line.

Formula One returns after the thrilling United States Grand Prix two weeks ago, and the stakes have never been higher. As the season heads in the season’s final five races, we also head into the season’s last triple-header, starting from Mexico.

The championship battle keeps getting closer as each race goes by, but it is an advantage Max Verstappen has as the upcoming few tracks will suit the Red Bull team. But Lewis Hamilton is probably the last person you would want to write off. 

 

Also Read – Top 10 Greatest Lewis Hamilton On-Track Moments

 

TRACK OVERVIEW

The lap starts with a 1200m run down to Turn One, where drivers will be at 370 km/hr before heading into a quick right-left-right turn. The following section is similar, with a long straight before a quick left-right as they run into a double-apex at Turn Six. 

Turn seven to 11 will see drivers sway right to the left at well over 200 km/hr, much like Suzuka’s opening sector. Turn 12 will see drivers slow down as they head into a host of tight corners, which sees a challenging braking point for Turn 13, running through the following two Turns. The final turn, Turn 16, will need drivers to nail the exit from the previous turn to gain good traction, which will help them sweep on the inside on the curbs before slamming hard down on the throttle heading into the start/finish line.

 

THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO

Championship Contenders 

Lewis Hamilton has never left Austin without keeping the championship lead and gone on to win the championship the same year. That probably says everything one would need to know about the title challenge the seven-time world champion faces this year. 

Max Verstappen not only leads the championship but the young Dutchman also seems to be looking like a mature championship contender. For far too long in his young but seven-year career, Verstappen has been criticized for being foolishly arrogant and unnecessarily aggressive. However, in this season, Max has a car that is helping him fight for the title, and the dutchaman has risen to the occasion. He has put in error-free drives on Sundays and has been mature off the track as well. 

Verstappen’s rise means Hamilton has finally found a worthy opponent in the turbo-hybrid era, and he has also been put on the back foot, something the British driver hasn’t had to face in the recent few years. Hamilton has publicly admitted that Mercedes just haven’t been good enough on multiple occasions this season. If the reigning champion wants to secure a record eighth world title, he will need to pull out every trick he and his team have to make sure Verstappen doesn’t run away with the championship.

 

Mercedes vs Red Bull

It isn’t only about the two championship protagonists, but Mercedes and Red Bull themselves are engaged in a tight constructors’ battle as well. 

Both the second drivers of each team have played a significant role so far in the constructors’ standings, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas overcoming a host of bad luck to find some much needed form for the German team. Bottas’ rise means Mercedes hold a small yet considerable lead in the constructors’ battle. For far too long over the last few seasons, Red Bull have been a one-man team fighting for the title, but the signing of Sergio Pérez seems to be exactly what the Austrian team needed. 

Pérez has already claimed his first Red Bull victory and has been instrumental in Verstappen holding the championship lead given Pérez’s on-field tussles with Hamilton, fending off the champion on multiple occasions. 

As the season enters the business end, Mercedes will be keeping their fingers crossed that they can hold on to their constructors’ lead given that the upcoming maps will be suiting Red Bull, given the altitude and Honda’s set up in the conditions. Can Mercedes hold on to their lead? Which teams will be suited to the new additions of Qatar and Saudi Arabia?

All questions will be answered in the upcoming weeks, and it promises to be an exciting and thrilling end to the season.

 

Fighting for the win

What makes the 2021 season one of the best in recent times is that it isn’t just about two teams; the season has seen multiple winners and various podium finishers.

McLaren‘s Daniel Ricciardo took his first win since 2018, and Alpine‘s Esteban Ocon scored his maiden career victory as well. One team that has been on the fringes of success is Ferrari; coming off the back of a disastrous 2020 season, the Scuderia have made tremendous improvements this season with two poles and multiple podium finishes. 

As the entire world focuses on the Hamilton – Verstappen fight, Ferrari have quietly put themselves back as contenders for the title, albeit not this season but their power unit upgrades and performances show that the Italian team is on the right path for the new era. Their recent advancements have seen them make massive strides, and given the chaos and pressure situation up ahead in the grid, Ferrari could be in the mix for a surprise victory in the last few races of the season.

 

 

PREDICTIONS

  • The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez track has historically favored the Austrian team, and it is definitely an advantage Red Bull heading into Mexico. What gives them an added benefit is the same thing that bolstered them on at Zandvoort too, home support! Here though, it will be for Sergio Pérez, and the Mexican might well be the lead Red Bull in his home country this weekend!
  • The Scuderia have also performed well at Mexico, even though they haven’t won here recently, Ferrari have scored multiple podiums and taken a pole at Mexico City too in 2017 through Sebastian Vettel. Boosted by their recent upgrades, Ferrari will pip their rivals McLaren for podium contenders this weekend.
  • AlphaTauri and Alpine have been engaged in a tight lower midfield battle, with Alpine currently holding onto the fifth spot by 10 points from AlphaTauri. The Italian team though have had wretched luck off late, and their talisman Pierre Gasly is due for a strong race after not finishing in two of the four races. Count of Gasly to shine and score heavily for the sister Red Bull team.

 

 

TRACK FIGURES

Number of Laps – 71

 Circuit Length – 4.304 km

 Race Distance – 305.354 km

 Lap Record – 1:18.741, (Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 2018)

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