My friends and I once hired a Mariachi band in London. They cost hundreds of pounds, were two hours late, performed for 15 minutes and none of them were Mexican. It was still worth it.
We have an email! From Ovie Uwejeya:
“I would love to see Vettel to win even if the title has gone to Lewis Hamilton. Just wishful thinking though. Max Verstappen or his team mate, Daniel Ricciardo should win this one.”
You can see from the race map here in Mexico the huge straight that will start the race. Perhaps even more than usual, the first corner here will determine so much what we end up with. Interesting that the two DRS zones are so close to each other – Verstappen was extremely quick in those sections in qualifying and it was actually around turn 6 that Ricciardo came into his own – he has described that part of the course as his favourite. It’s the first time since 2013 that Red Bull have had a 1-2 start on the grid.
Vettel can’t really bide his time here, he MUST win, so expect an explosive start from the German. How aggressive will Hamilton be? Honestly, probably not very. He is likely to exercise a bit of caution and make sure his top seven finish is secured.
This is a very high race, 2,200m above sea level here in Mexico City. The drivers will all be gasping for air.
Let’s also talk about the crowd here – Mexicans are absolutely mad for it. It does not seem to matter that home favourite Sergio Pérez starts today in 13th, they go out of their way to make the atmosphere frenetic and a little bit weird, which is always good.
So much of the talk has been about Hamilton, and rightly so. And if that’s what you are here for, I would kindly like to direct you towards this fine feature by Giles Richards.
But if we assume that Hamilton will indeed win the title, what else is there to look forward to today?
Firstly to the Red Bulls. Max Verstappen has mostly been seen as the No 1 driver for the team, and has not been out-qualified by Daniel Ricciardo since round four in Baku. It’s now round 19 and in qualifying Verstappen looked set to become the youngest ever pole position-holder in the sport’s history … before Ricciardo pulled out a magnificent lap in Q3. The Australian was over the moon to be on top, and a Red Bull 1-2 will make things very difficult for Hamilton or (more importantly) Vettel to overtake.
“It’s been a long year. There hasn’t been many of these high moments. It’s a relief. We can certainly win here in Mexico – Daniel Ricciardo.
If Lewis Hamilton finishes seventh or higher in Mexico today, he will win his fifth F1 world title. Seventy points with 75 left out there in the remaining three races this season, it is very much a case of when, not if.
Hamilton will start from third in Mexico City safe in the knowledge that unless Sebastian Vettel, who will begin in fourth, takes victory, then the title is his.
A clean race is all Hamilton needs, then. But a brief history lesson should keep the Mercedes on his toes. Hamilton, who also began third on the grid last year, suffered a puncture after a third-corner clash with Vettel. Hamilton could only limp to ninth, a result that sufficed then but will not be enough this time around should Vettel usurp Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, who starts on pole.
Lights out: 7.10pm (GMT)