We may arrive in Mexico City with both the Constructors World Championship and Drivers World Championship decided but I still expect Mercedes to arrive with their minds fully focused on winning every race from here until the end of the season, something Hamilton has made clear he wants to accomplish. Hamilton will also be looking to get a handle on his qualifying performance after a mix of results in the last few qualifying sessions he will want to finish the season as strongly as he started the season to leave him in good stead for next season.
None of the current crop of drivers have driven around here before so I fully expect them to make the most of the practice sessions on Friday and Saturday to get a feel for the track, they would have done plenty of hours in the simulator but that is nothing compared to the real thing. Just like Austin it looks like this is a track where engine power will be key meaning the Mercedes powered cars should be running at the sharp end once again. I imagine this will be a rematch of the US Grand Prix at the top of the field with Rosberg, Hamilton and Vettel vying for top step on the podium with the Force India’s and Williams battling just behind. The Red Bull’s and Toro Rosso’s impressed last week in the wet but I feel they may be just off the pace around here, I would expect them to pushing into the top six if they can get a good start and have a good qualifying session on Saturday but any issues with their power unit could end their weekend before it’s really under-way. The McLarens were fantastic in Austin but a sharp fall back to earth is in store I fear as they were helped in Austin by the weather and racing incidents resulting in almost half of the field retiring, if they are to repeat a Sixth position finish they will need a bucket full of luck and some supreme driving despite Alonso’s new “more Powerful” power unit.
Watch out for Sergio Perez this weekend at his home race, after being in the shadow on Hulkenberg last season Perez has really kicked on this year and he has impressed me. He followed on from his podium finish in Sochi with a 5th place finish In Austin, with the crowd on his side and a Mercedes engine in his car I believe he may well upset the apple cart by finishing on the podium once again. I personally would love to see him achieve a podium finish in-front of the Mexican fans after they spent more than 20 years without a race.
This is the first time we have been in Mexico since 1992 sothe practice sessions will be used to gain as much data as possible to help them during the race due. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has 2 DRS Zones to aid over taking, practically one after the other on this track they could be used to great effect. The first is down the long pit straight up to a heavy braking point in turn one followed by turns two and three you them arrive at the second DRS Zone where I think most overtakes will be made going into turn 4 and 5.
Sky Sports F1 schedule
Practice One: 15:45
Practice Two: 19:45
Practice Three: 15:45
Qualifying Build Up: 18:00
Qualifying Start: 19:00
Grand Prix Build Up: 17:30
Race Start: 19:00
So there you have it, all of the information you need to make the most out of the race weekend, another evening start of us UK race viewers so hopefully the race is as worth the wait as the US Grand Prix was.
By: Chris Laker
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