2019 Mexico Grand Prix
For reasons unknown to me the Mexican Grand Prix is kicking off the transatlantic leg of the season and not Austin. Also it's the last Mexican Grand Prix too! Next year it will be replaced by...the Mexico City Grand Prix! Confusing? I know, but fear not. I'm sure Crofty will mention this often enough in the coverage
(How track limits will be policed)
The Mexican Grand Prix is the track with the by far the highest altitude (2240 m) on the calendar, the longest run to Turn 1 (900 m) and the biggest weekend on-track audience. The race with the highest ever race top speed recorded. Stage for the last two title deciders and Mercedes' weakest track in the Hybrid Era besides Malaysia. Even if the return of this track killed the legendary Peratalda the Mexican Grand Prix is in many ways special, although none of the races that were held since then really lived up to the expectations. And only 2016 with the controversies which were responsible for three different drivers getting 3rd seems like a memorable Grand Prix in recent times.
Biggest question for this weekend will be whether F1 journalists can copy & paste their race reports for the third year running should Verstappen win again while Hamilton clinches the title. One thing is for certain though: This time Hamilton can not win the title by walking to the finish line way off the podium, but more on that in the title permutations further below. I dare to say Ricciardo wont be on pole this time though...
Daylight Savings are changing in Mexico on race day btw, this wont have any significant impact on Europeans since the same applies to them, but to all other places who either have no Daylight Savings or already had it earlier this month. This site has all session times correctly converted for each time zone.
FRIDAY - 25 OCTOBER Local UK CEST/CET AEDT (+1 day) FP1 10:00 16:00 17:00 02:00 FP2 14:00 20:00 21:00 06:00 SATURDAY - 26 OCTOBER FP3 10:00 16:00 17:00 02:00 Quali 13:00 19:00 20:00 05:00 SUNDAY - 27 OCTOBER Race 13:10 19:10 20:10 06:10
C2 is one step harder than last years Hyper Soft, C3/C4 even two steps harder than last years Super Soft/Ultrasoft. Despite that the tyre choices are arguably more conservative than last year where relatively high tyre deg enabled a variety of strategies, with Verstappen winning on two stops (Ultrasofts-Ultrasofts-Supersofts). The midfield finished two laps down due to most of them opting for a one stopper with at parts excessive tyre saving....
Modest rain is forecasted for the entire week, the bigger fronts are expected to hit the track during the night, although that can still change. Everything else will probably just be isolated showers at best and are unlikely to greatly hinder the weekend, but might add another variable into the game, especially as the asphalt proved to be slippery in the past.
More importantly temperatures are expected to be moderate, with sunday being the warmest day, probably good news for Mercedes who struggled with cooling earlier this year on high altitude and temperatures during the Austrian Grand Prix.
The current estimations
FP1 - 15-16 C°, 25 %
FP2 - 19-20 C°, 60 %
FP3 - 14-15 C°, 5 %,
Qualifying - 18-19 C°, 30 %
Race - 21-22 C°, 50 %
Red Bull and especially Verstappen dominated the last two editions, while Mercedes struggled massively last year, especially on race day with tyre management, which has now turn into their biggest strength though. With the moderate temperatures, the high downforce demands of the track and Red Bull's recent struggles Mercedes could be well within a shot for the victory here, providing the issues at the Austrian Grand Prix were not primarly down to the altitude.
Favourites however should be Ferrari. even if the altitude dimishes any power advantage over the ICE and the low drag package it still retains any advantage over battery deployment. If they dont lose too much in the final part of the track pole should be theirs. This of course can change on race day, but the thin air makes overtaking even mroe difficult than usual, despite the massive straights. However, if the variables fall into place it could be a solid three way fight.
More on the effects of altitude on the competitive order in this video
Elsewhere McLaren should lead once again the midfield. The Renault engine proved in the past to be more competitive in these conditions as well, so that could put the works team itself into a good position, although the track doesnt appear to suit their car all that well. Haas is expecting yet another write-off weekend, while Williams will probably use the event again to evaluate their 2020 parts.
Another Title in Mexico?
Lewis Hamilton had an interesting week away from the track, but this weekend he can make headlines with what he is good at. To win the title he needs to outscore Bottas by at least 14 points. So far this season he only managed this at the Hungarian Grand Prix, though Bottas achieved four times this season a result that would give Hamilton a chance to secure the title (i.e. finish off the podium). Bottas' Suzuka win most likely delayed the decision to the US or Brazilian Grand Prix, but it's certainly not impossible that the title will be decided for the third year in a row on this track.
Right, this years Dutch DJ to hijack the podium:
Edited by Marklar, 24 October 2019 - 19:53.