Mexican GP Preview and Predictions
The 2019 F1 season is drawing to a close and once again Lewis Hamilton can clinch what would be his 6th World Title here at the Mexican GP. While rivals Ferrari have closed the gap considerably since the summer break, there is little doubt that Hamilton's title is inevitable and only an extreme set of circumstances would prevent the Mercedes driver to once again re write the history books.
The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is synonymous with the mighty 1.2 km straight, the elevation of 2,285 m (7,500 ft) meaning very thin air and reduced drag, but also the rapturous stadium section that brings drivers in the heart of the adoring Mexican fans. While no race since the circuits return in 2015 can be deemed a classic, there is potential for a thrilling race to ensue thanks to the front 3 teams.
With Valtteri Bottas taking a fantastic win last time in Japan his confidence to make it back-to-back wins will be high. With the long straight a prominent feature however, it may be tough for the Mercedes pair to fight off the relentless Ferrari's, who have had the engine advantage since the summer break. While both 1 lap and race pace are strong for the Mercedes duo, a huge straight before turn 1 could be their undoing as Russia proved, until the Ferrari strategy fiasco. Mexico has never been one of Hamilton's stronger tracks and so again it may prove. However, inching closer to that inevitable 6th World Championship with a solid points finish may be enough to satisfy the Brit.
After a difficult Japanese GP colliding with Verstappen and being out qualified by his team mate, Charles Leclerc will be looking to exert the pressure again on the experience German. He's had the beating of his more experience team mate for much of the season, but the momentum that was swinging his way seems to have halted no thanks to a stunning pole position in Japan from Vettel, whose confidence is likely to be high again after a tumultuous 2019. Strategy calls and mechanical failures have hampered the team and despite the rivalry brewing between the two, it's very difficult to see past either of them taking the pole and win.
Further down the field it may prove once again to be a lonely race for Max Verstappen. Slower than the front 4 but quicker than the rest of the field, the Red Bull has slowly moved away from the from 2 teams since the promising run they enjoyed pre summer break. With the Honda engine struggling a little in comparison to the Ferrari and Mercedes, gaining any more than a 5th/6th finish will be deemed a success. Team mate Albon has acquitted himself into the team far more comfortably than Pierre Gasly, and another strong finish here will surely ensure the 2020 seat is his.
The battle for the rest of the top 10 surely lies between the impressive McLaren drivers of Sainz and Norris, and between the Renault drivers of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg. With engine power such a critical component of success, especially here in Mexico, Renault with be quietly confident they can repeat the success found at the Italian GP. The battle for 4th in the constructors is looking to be McLaren's and after an impressive 2019, Carlos Sainz will be looking to score yet another strong mid table finish.
Top 10 Qualifying Prediction
Top 10 Race Prediction