2018 Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix preview
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, home of the Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix
Round 19 of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship is on this weekend at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, home of the Mexican Grand Prix, and there’s a good chance we’ll see Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton crowned with his fifth title.
The Briton only needs to finish seventh or better to equalize Juan Manuel Fangio’s tally of five titles. Incidentally, Mexico is where Hamilton secured his fourth title one year ago.
The Mexican race only returned to the calendar in 2015 after last being run in 1992. It’s held at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, a circuit located in Mexico City and sitting at an altitude of close to 7,500 feet.
The thinner density of the air at this height means engines need to work harder and cooling is also more of a challenge. The cars also typically run in high-downforce mode because of the lower drag effect.
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is a high-speed circuit with long straights combined with low-apex-speed corners. Top speeds are among the highest of the season, with cars reaching almost 230 mph on the approach to Turn 1.
Grip levels are on the low side, as the surface is still young. The weather can also be problematic, with both warm conditions and heavy rain possible. The current forecast calls for fine conditions during Sunday’s race but possible some light rain during Saturday’s qualifying session. Pirelli has nominated its supersoft, ultrasoft and hypersoft compounds for the weekend.
Going into the weekend, Hamilton leads the 2018 Drivers’ Championship with 346 points. Vettel is second with 276 points and fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen is third with 221 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 563 points versus the 497 of Ferrari and 337 of Red Bull. Last year’s winner in Mexico was Max Verstappen driving for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.