The Formula One season arrives in Mexico this weekend. Mercedes secured a stunning sixth consecutive Constructors’ Championship at the Japanese Grand Prix a fortnight ago as Valtteri Bottas stood atop the podium after a faultless drive.
Bottas’ victory – with the help of other drivers – guaranteed a Mercedes driver will win the Drivers’ title for a sixth straight season, too.
Lewis Hamilton could sew up a sixth Drivers’ Championship this weekend, but Mexico hasn’t been a favoured race for the dominant Brit in recent seasons with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen claiming victory in each of the last two seasons.
Let’s take a look at some of the history of the Mexican Grand Prix…
Mexican Grand Prix: Brief History
The first Formula One race in Mexico took place in November 1962 at Magdalena Mixhuca. Mixhuca witnessed some epic battles between Jim Clark, Graham Hill and John Surtees, with the title often on the line.
The circuit, located in a park in Mexico City, presented some really testing conditions for the drivers such as high altitude and a bumpy surface.
Formula One remained at the circuit until 1970 and was planned to take place in 1971. Security was a major concern after previous incidents, but there was a fund to make sure the race could go ahead.
The death of Pedro Rodriguez saw the race cancelled and Formula One didn’t return to Mexico until 1986.
After numerous attempts to bring Formula One back, the revamped Mixhuca – now named Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – re-appeared on the calendar in 1986.
Gerhard Berger shocked the field to win his first Grand Prix in 1986 before an historic race saw Nigel Mansell pip Nelson Piquet in 1987 despite finishing behind him on the track.
The race was moved earlier in the season for the late-80s and early-90s, again providing some great racing between Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
A combination of issues – including driver complaints and air pollution – saw Formula One leave Mexico again in 1992.
Bernie Ecclestone announced that Mexico would be back for 2009. Rumours followed it would be on the 2014 calendar. Issues meant Mexico’s return was delayed until 2015.
Mexican Grand Prix: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
A different circuit from the one Clark dominated on in the 1960s, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is still 7,500 feet above sea level, a factor you will frequently hear mentioned on this weekend’s Formula One coverage.
With a very long start-finish straight, we can expect to see a lot of overtaking into the sweeping first three corners of the lap.
Similar to the Parabolica at Monza, Peraltada curve used to allow drivers to build up a lot of speed ahead of the straight. Alterations to the track have cut off the first part of Peraltada, however.
Hermann Tilke led the changes for Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez as it prepared for its return to Formula One in 2015. The straight was shortened, the section between turns 7 and 11 was tweaked and the baseball stadium part of the lap was altered.
Cars come through a winding section ahead of Peraltada; it might not be great for overtaking but it provides an extraordinary image as they disappear between the stands with packed crowds either side.
Mexican Grand Prix: Recent Winners
2018 – Max Verstappen
2017 – Max Verstappen
2016 – Lewis Hamilton
2015 – Nico Rosberg
Mexican Grand Prix: Most Wins
3 – Jim Clark
2 – Max Verstappen, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost
Mexican Grand Prix: F1 Betting Tips
Lewis Hamilton is a massive 64 points clear of Valtteri Bottas in the Drivers’ Championship and could secure the title in Mexico for the third year running.
Hamilton needs a 14-point swing this weekend to guarantee yet another championship. It’s a matter of when, not if, for Hamilton.
While Hamilton might just be the greatest ever, Mercedes aren’t full of confidence heading into this weekend. The Brit is still as short as 5/2 to win the race in 888sport’s F1 betting, though that price is notably longer than many of his odds earlier in the season.
Mercedes have talked down their chances all year, but it feels different this time round. The Red Bulls showed great pace at Mexico last year – the Silver Arrows didn’t have a good weekend.
The long straight will favour the Ferraris, while sectors two and three are ideal for Max Verstappen and Alex Albon’s Red Bulls.
Charles Leclerc is the 11/10 favourite to take pole, and it’s hard to argue with Ferrari’s Saturday pace. Sebastian Vettel at 15/4 might be a good pick after his superb performance in qualifying at Suzuka.
This is set up for a repeat of Austria’s Leclerc versus Verstappen duel in the race. The two clashed in Japan, but Mexico presents an opportunity for more wheel-to-wheel racing from the youngsters.
With the Red Bull expected to be more competitive than recent weeks, Albon at 6/1 to make the podium is the best bet on offer, however.