Following the US Grand Prix, Formula One heads to South America for the second running of the Mexican Grand Prix.
The Mexican Grand Prix was previously on the F1 calendar from 1963 to 1970 and again from 1986 to 1992, but made a return in 2015. Last year’s race was won by Nico Rosberg – who also started from pole position – finishing ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Circuit: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Number of Laps: 71
Circuit Length: 4.304km
Number of Corners: 17
Lap Record: 1:20.521 Nico Rosberg (2015)
Previous Mexico winners still on the grid: 1
Most Successful Team: Lotus, McLaren & Williams (3 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Medium, Soft and Supersoft
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez features the longest run to turn one on the current calendar which stands at 800m. The circuit itself is a mixture of long straights, fast flowing sections and a tricky stadium section at the end of the lap. It is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar but features its own unique challenges. Due to the location of the circuit, it is the highest on the calendar in terms of altitude which has an adverse affect on the cars. Teams will need to run higher downforce levels to compensate for this and brakes can also be difficult to cool.
Because of the fact that Formula One only returned to the track last year, and a lot of reconfiguration and profiling work was held prior to that, grip levels will probably still be low. There are plenty of run off areas at most parts of the track should drivers find themselves making any mistakes.
There will be two Mexican drivers on the grid for this year’s race – Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez. Gutierrez is still looking for his first points of the season while Perez is currently best of the rest in the drivers championship – outside of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari drivers.
Rosberg currently leads the championship by 26 points – still more than a race victory. With 75 points up for grabs and Hamilton winning at the US Grand Prix, the championship is still very much up for grabs. However, if Rosberg wins this weekend and Hamilton fails to finish in the points then Rosberg will become world champion. Rosberg won last year and was fastest in two out of three of the practice sessions as well as taking pole position. He will be hoping to repeat that form this year to return to the top step.
This year’s Malaysia Grand Prix saw Daniel Ricciardo score his first F1 victory since the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.
The Australian driver led home a Red Bull 1-2 with Nico Rosberg rounding out the podium finishers. It was an eventful race which saw Rosberg extend his championship lead to 23 points. Championship contender Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying and started the race from pole but his Mercedes engine gave up on lap 40, leading to his second retirement of the year.
At the start of the race it was Hamilton who made the best start, maintaining his lead. Rosberg was sent into a spin following contact with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and dropped right down the order. Vettel pulled off at the side of the track with broken suspension and was subsequently handed a three place grid drop for Japan.
Rosberg faced a fight back through the field and eventually finished in third behind the hard – but fair – fighting Red Bull duo. Rosberg picked up a ten second penalty for making contact with Kimi Raikkonen as he passed but was able to finish more than ten seconds clear of the Finn. The Ferrari suffered floor damage and lost what it reported to be about three tenths per lap.
Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams just ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez. Fernando Alonso drove a fine race to finish seventh having started last and he finished ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. Jenson Button celebrated his 300th Grand Prix with a ninth place finish and points while Jolyon Palmer picked up his first ever F1 point.
The Toro Rosso duo struggled with brake issues with Carlos Sainz 11th and Daniil Kvyat 14th. Marcus Ericsson was 12th with Felipe Massa recovering to 13th having started from the pit-lane when he failed to get away on the warm-up lap. Pascal Wehrlein was 15th ahead of Esteban Ocon – who picked up two separate 5 second penalties for speeding in the pit-lane.
Felipe Nasr joined Vettel and Hamilton on the sidelines along with Kevin Magnussen. Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas lost a wheel on one of the straights causing his retirement while Romain Grosjean suffered brake failure and spun into the gravel, bringing his race to an end.
Ricciardo dedicated his win to Jules Bianchi following the race, after making Max Verstappen and Rosberg take part in celebratory ‘shoeys’ on the podium.
The next race is this weekend at the Suzuka circuit in Japan.
Fresh off the back of a commanding victory at the European Grand Prix in Baku, Nico Rosberg heads to the Austrian Grand Prix with high hopes. Having previously won the event in 2015 and in 2014 on its return to the calendar, Rosberg is looking for a hat-trick of wins.
After seeing his lead getting smaller it is once again advantage Rosberg, extending a nine point lead to over 20 points again following struggles for Lewis Hamilton in Azerbaijan.
Circuit: Red Bull Ring
Number of Laps: 71
Circuit Length: 4.326km
Number of Corners: 9
Lap Record: 1:08.337 Michael Schumacher (2003)
Previous Austrian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 1
Most Successful Team: McLaren (6 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Soft, Supersoft, and Ultrasoft
The Red Bull Ring – formerly the A1 Ring – only features nine corners and these are a mixture of slow, medium and high speed. It is a medium downforce circuit and features a long straight. 66% of the lap is spent at full throttle while brake wear is classed as medium.
Last year Hamilton started on pole position but lost out to team-mate Rosberg early on and had to settle for second. Felipe Massa completed the podium finishers in third place.
Pirelli have brought their Soft and Supersoft compound tyres along with the Ultrasoft. Many teams expect lap records to be broken if the Ultrasoft compound can be used in qualifying. This is currently uncertain as weather forecasts show unsettled conditions and potential thunderstorms during qualifying.
Both Rosberg and Hamilton have new engines for this weekend – Hamilton’s fifth new one of the season meaning he faces a penalty next new engine. Hamilton spent much of the European Grand Prix unable to fix an engine issue due to radio restrictions. He was clearly frustrated and had to settle for fifth place while his team-mate won.
Sebastian Vettel finished as runner up with Sergio Perez securing his second podium in three races. Kimi Raikkonen finished in fourth place for Ferrari.