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After Brazil
Championship Standings:

Drivers' Standings
POS DRIVER PTS
1 Lewis Hamilton 383
2 Sebastian Vettel 302
3 Kimi Raikkonen 251
4 Valtteri Bottas 237
5 Max Verstappen 234
6 Daniel Ricciardo 158
7 Nico Hulkenberg 69
8 Sergio Perez 58
9 Kevin Magnussen 55
10 Fernando Alonso 50
11 Esteban Ocon 49
12 Carlos Sainz 45
13 Romain Grosjean 35
14 Charles Leclerc 33
15 Pierre Gasly 29
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 12
17 Marcus Ericsson 9
18 Lance Stroll 6
19 Brendon Hartley 4
20 Sergey Sirotkin 1


Constructors' Standings
POS CONSTRUCTOR PTS
1 Mercedes 620
2 Ferrari 553
3 Red Bull Renault 392
4 Renault 114
5 Haas Ferrari 90
6 Mclaren Renault 62
7 Force India Mercedes 48
8 Sauber Ferrari 42
9 Toro Rosso Honda 33
10 Williams Mercedes 7

Mexican GP Preview

Hamilton will wrap up 2018 title
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez / 4.304 km 71 laps / 305.354 km

After racing in the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, the F1 teams head south of the border for the Mexican Grand Prix Sunday at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

The 4.304-kilometer (2.674-mile), 17-turn circuit has hosted Formula One since 1963, but in preparation for Formula One’s return in 2015 after a 22-year hiatus, it was completely revamped. Noted track designer Hermann Tilke penned the new layout, which followed the general outline of the original course. The entire track was resurfaced, with new pit, paddock and spectator stands constructed. The most notable changes from the old layout to the current version were an added sequence of corners comprising turns one, two and three, along with a revised set of corners through the Foro Sol baseball stadium, which was built inside the famed and feared Peraltada corner, which serves as the track’s final turn.

The new asphalt made for a slippery surface in 2015 and despite another year of weathering, it remained slick in 2017. Even as the refurbished track readies for its fourth year of Formula One action, drivers and teams alike expect grip to be elusive.

The smooth pavement is one factor, but Mexico City’s notoriously thin air is another significant contributor.

Sitting 2,200 meters (7,218 feet) above sea level, Mexico City’s high altitude means there is less downforce on the cars. To compensate for this, teams run more downforce than they would at similarly fast tracks like Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale Monza and Azerbaijan’s Baku City Circuit. But with top speeds in the neighborhood of 370 kph (230 mph), teams have to compromise between straight-line speed and the downforce necessary to push through the track’s corners.

Cooling is another issue facing teams in the Mexican Grand Prix. The thinner air means the turbo has to spin at a higher rate to inject more oxygen into the engine, and with the brakes being used for approximately 21 percent of the race’s 71-lap duration, keeping those brakes cool adds another degree of difficulty.

Select Quotes

Toto Wolff
The US Grand Prix confirmed what we said before the race: This year's championship fight is far from over. While Lewis was able to extend his lead over Sebastian Vettel in Austin, we lost points to Ferrari in the constructors' championship. We have a battle on our hands and we will have to keep pushing to win both titles.

We cannot be happy with the result in Texas, but it provides us with an opportunity to learn and come back stronger.

Our next stop brings us to Mexico City where we will face a very different challenge. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is an outlier given its high altitude and the demands this puts on the cars and power units. It has been one of the weaker tracks for us in previous years and we expect a hard fight with Ferrari and Red Bull. The weather forecast predicts conditions similar to those we had in Austin which might throw everyone another curveball by limiting dry running. We know that it is not going to be an easy race, but everyone in the team is focused, motivated and determined to keep the pressure on until the checkered flag in Abu Dhabi.

Sergio Perez

It's the home race for Perez
It's the home race for Perez

“Racing in Mexico is the highlight of the season for me. The excitement each time we go back there is the same. When I see the busy grandstands, I feel very proud and the support from the people is fantastic. The energy of the crowd really motivates me and the drivers’ parade is always a very emotional moment.

“It’s an extremely busy weekend for everybody: me, my team, the sponsors, but it’s still the best week of the entire season. To have my family and friends around me helps make this race even more special. I really want to give everybody a strong result to celebrate on Sunday.

“The circuit is a big challenge. Because of the altitude, the track is slippery with low grip levels and it’s very easy to make a mistake or lose time. The long straight is usually your best chance for overtaking, but with these cars it’s never easy to pass.”


Esteban Ocon
“The Mexico weekend is good fun. It’s a busy race for the team, of course, and we have quite a few events with partners during the week, so we get to see a bit of the city as well. It’s Checo’s home race so the whole team is busy from the moment we land!

“The atmosphere when you get to the track is special. Mexicans love sport and the passion they show for Formula One is incredible. The best part is to drive in the stadium section when the grandstands are full. I think all the drivers enjoy the buzz and emotions you get from such a massive crowd.

“It’s a good track to drive, but it’s a tough one. You’re at very high altitude and this really affects the set-up – it’s difficult to find a good balance. The cars are set up with high-downforce, but it feels like low downforce. You lack grip and the car feels very slippery, especially at the start of the weekend, but you soon get used to it.”

Marcus Ericsson:
“The race in Mexico is an exciting one. The fans are amazing and always add to the magical track. The circuit is interesting and the cars feel very low in grip due to the high altitude, which is a unique challenge. It has been a while since I last scored points, so that will be my target and I will work hard to have a strong performance there this weekend.”

Charles Leclerc:
“The Mexican GP is a very interesting race, as it is different to what we are used to. We are located at quite a high altitude, so it is demanding to drive there – both for the cars as well as physically for us drivers. I look forward to it, and hopefully we can recover from the bad luck we have had in the last two races. We have a few more chances to score points this season and will push to bring home good results.”

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean

You’ve been taking part in pit practice lately. What roles have you played during these practice sessions and what has it been like to see pit stops from outside the racecar?

“It’s actually quite fun. You know, I never changed a wheel before the Japanese Grand Prix. I was asked to come and push the car, because I’m part of the Operational 60, which I find surprising but, anyway, I was part of it. I got there and was asked if I’d ever changed a wheel. I said no, so I had a go. I loved it. I’m glad I don’t have to do it in a race. That’s a lot of pressure for the guys and it’s hard work. It’s great to spend time like this, though, and to get to do what the boys are doing every weekend. I did it again in Austin. I pushed the car. It’s quite hard work, it’s a heavy thing.”

 

If you weren’t a driver, what position would you want to have on the pit crew?

“Definitely not the front jack. Definitely not the rear jack. I would go for the gun.”

 

How much does Mexico City’s altitude affect the car, from engine performance, to brake performance to aero performance?

“Because we’ve got an engine turbo, we don’t lose that much performance. So, that’s a positive of the turbo era. Then, of course, the cooling of the engine, the cooling of the brakes, the downforce you get is very low compared to the wing you’re running. We have to work with it. I’m hoping we’re more prepared this year than in previous years. Hopefully, we can have a good race.”

 

How much does Mexico City’s altitude affect you physically, especially during the race?

“Not so much. I guess I’m used to the height from the mountains in Switzerland.”

 

Grip has always been in short supply at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. How do you compensate for the lack of grip?

“That I don’t know yet. It’s a work in progress. Hopefully, this year I’m much better than I was last year.”

 

Finding grip means getting the tires into their proper working window. With 18 races having been run this season, have you discovered any tricks to the trade in getting a particular tire compound into its appropriate working range, and if so, how do you keep it there?

“I think as the season goes on you’re always better toward the end than you were at the beginning. You know more things. We have a very limited amount of testing, so the races become tests as well. If you had the knowledge you have at the end of the year at the beginning, you’d be much better. Every year is a new start. It’s fresh, and with everything new, it’s difficult. I think we’re getting stronger every year. We’re getting better and better. We’re using every opportunity to get more experience.”

 

Explain what you do in qualifying to get the tires into their proper working range so you can extract the maximum amount of performance out of them for a fast lap.

“It depends a lot on the circuit. Some circuits you need a slow out-lap not to heat the tires too hard. Other circuits you really need to push hard on the out-lap to generate the temperature and the grip. It really does change circuit to circuit. We just have to go and see.”

 

The stadium section seems to be the most talked about portion of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez because of its sheer scope. What is it like to go through that area with all the fans in attendance during the driver’s parade, and what is it like to drive through there at speed during the race?

“There’s a great atmosphere in Mexico. It’s probably one of the best of the year. The driver parade, going through the stadium, is special. During the race you don’t see it, but after the checkered flag, it’s great to see it. The podium being there makes for a great image. It looks awesome from the outside.”

 

What is your favorite part about Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez?

“I like the first three corners. They’re pretty good.”

 

Describe a lap around Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“Long straight line going into turn one with big braking, 90 degrees right-hand side, followed by a small chicane. It’s very important to get the second part right because you’ve got another long straight line. Then you’ve got another 90-degree left corner, and then a 90-degree right corner. That’s followed by a very weird double right-hander. It’s very difficult to find a line. Then you go to the middle section which is flowing, with mid- to high-speed left and right corners. Next it’s the entry to the stadium – big braking here, very tricky with the wall facing you. Then it’s a very slow hairpin in the stadium, as slow as Monaco. Finally, it’s the double right-hand corner with very important traction going into the old part of the oval to finish the lap.”

Kevin Magnussen

You had an incredible race in last year’s Mexican Grand Prix. After qualifying 18th, you finished eighth, but you had to hold off Lewis Hamilton during the final four laps to earn that result. How did you work your way to the front and what did you have to do to keep Hamilton behind you?

“Last year’s Mexican Grand Prix was great for us. We didn’t qualify very well, but we made our way back in the race to eighth. We were able to capitalize on other people’s mistakes. It got us into a great position, and then I fought that position hard until the end of the race to bring home some good points on a weekend that didn’t look like we were going to score points.”

 

How much does Mexico City’s altitude affect the car, from engine performance, to brake performance to aero performance?

“The altitude affects mainly the aero. These engines are turbo engines, and we’re also very dependent on electric energy, so the percentage that we lose is less than it used to be. We lose downforce from the thin air, we then lose drag as well, and we also lose cooling. We have to open the car more to get that cooling, both on the brakes and the engine and the oil, on everything. That then compromises the efficiency of the car. It’s the same for everyone. We’re all dealing with it.”

 

How much does Mexico City’s altitude affect you physically, especially during the race?

“You don’t really notice it so much. You can feel that the air is thinner, that you have to breathe a bit more, but you get used to it.”

 

Grip has always been in short supply at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. How do you compensate for the lack of grip?

“You need a lot of downforce there. As the air is thin, you lose downforce. It’s pretty tricky. You can see the effect it has on top speeds. Because the air is so thin, you don’t have a lot of drag from the air down the straight. Our maximum speeds go very high.”

 

The stadium section seems to be the most talked about portion of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez because of its sheer scope. What is it like to go through that area with all the fans in attendance during the driver’s parade, and what is it like to drive through there at speed during the race?

“You don’t really pay attention as the race is going on and you’re competing. You sense it on the driver parade and after the race. You also get the atmosphere every time you arrive and leave the circuit. You see all the fans going crazy. That’s what makes the Mexican Grand Prix special – it’s the fans more than anything.”

 

What is your favorite part about Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez?

“I would say the stadium section.”

 

Describe a lap around Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“Fast, low-grip and difficult.”

 

Your dad, Jan, has been able to carve an impressive sports car career in the United States, most recently by winning the 2018 GTLM driver and team championships in IMSA. What’s it been like to have parallel racing careers, albeit in different series?

“It’s all I’ve known. I feel like it’s something that we enjoy. It’s interesting the conversations that we can have between ourselves. We always try and learn from each other, which is cool when you’re father and son. We can talk about our passion on such a professional level. We race in two different worlds, but it’s interesting to get insight into each other’s world.”

 

You were actually able to see your dad win this year’s championship in person at Road Atlanta. What was that like and had you ever been in that position before?

“I’m so happy I went to watch the race. We had a great time. My brother and sister were there, as well. I was hanging out with them, spending time with them – it’s rare that I get to do that. That was a bonus, a big bonus. In general, watching my dad race is great. I enjoyed it so much. Nowadays, it’s so rare that I get to do it. For him to then win the championship, the one time I come see him, it’s just great.” 

 

Is racing with your dad something you’d like to do in the not-so-distant future? If so, is there a specific race where you’d like to compete with your dad?

“It’s very difficult to say what kind of opportunities we might get to do in the near future. Certainly, I hope he continues to race long enough so we can go and do a race like Le Mans or Daytona together. It would be a dream come true to compete at such a high level with my dad.”

The Circuit

  • Total number of race laps: 71
  • Complete race distance: 305.354 kilometers (189.738 miles)
  • Pit lane speed limit: 80 kph (50 mph)
  • This 4.304-kilometer (2.674-mile), 17-turn circuit has hosted Formula One since 1963, with last year’s Mexican Grand Prix serving as the venue’s 18th grand prix.
  • Sebastian Vettel holds the race lap record at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez (1:18.785), set last year with Scuderia Ferrari.
  • Vettel also holds the qualifying lap record at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez (1:16.488), set last year during Q3.
  • Mexico and the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez have had three stints on the Formula One calendar. The first was an eight-year stretch between 1963-1970 before Formula One took a 15-year hiatus from the country. The globe-trotting series returned in 1986 and raced there until 1992. Twenty-two years passed until Formula One came back to Mexico, with the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix drawing a massive crowd estimated at 240,000. To prepare for Formula One’s most recent return, the track underwent a comprehensive renovation. Noted track designer Hermann Tilke penned the new layout, which followed the general outline of the original course. The entire track was resurfaced, with new pit, paddock and spectator stands constructed. The most notable changes from the old layout to the current version were an added sequence of corners comprising turns one, two and three, along with a revised set of corners through the Foro Sol baseball stadium, which was built inside the famed and feared Peraltada corner, which serves as the track’s final turn.
  • DYK? The Mexican Grand Prix has been run 18 times, and every one of them has been at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. However, when Mexico hosted its first grand prix in 1963, the track was called Magdalena Mixhuca. It was renamed in honor of local racing hero and Ferrari rising star Ricardo Rodriguez and his racing driver brother, Pedro, who scored two grand prix victories in a career that spanned 54 starts between 1963 and 1971. Ricardo was killed in a non-championship race at Magdalena Mixhuca in 1962 and Pedro died in a sports car race in 1971 at the Norisring in Germany.
  • DYK? The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is one of four Formula One locations with ties to the Olympics as the venue hosted numerous events during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya, home to the Spanish Grand Prix, was the site of the start/finish line for the road team time trial cycling event when Barcelona hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics. Sochi, site of the Russian Grand Prix, hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. Finally, the backstraight at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal runs adjacent to the Olympic rowing basin used during the 1976 Summer Olympics.
  • During the course of the Mexican Grand Prix, lows will range from 10-13 degrees Celsius (50-55 degrees Fahrenheit) to highs of 21-23 degrees Celsius (70-73 degrees Fahrenheit). Relative humidity ranges from 32 percent (comfortable) to 86 percent (very humid), with a dew point varying from 3 degrees Celsius/37 degrees Fahrenheit (dry) to 12 degrees Celsius/53 degrees Fahrenheit (very comfortable). The dew point is rarely below -4 degrees Celsius/25 degrees Fahrenheit (dry) or above 14 degrees Celsius/57 degrees Fahrenheit (comfortable). Typical wind speeds vary from 0-26 kph/0-16 mph (calm to moderate breeze), rarely exceeding 37 kph/23 mph (fresh breeze).

Tires

  • Pirelli is bringing the following three tire compounds to Mexico:
    • P Zero Red supersoft – less grip, less wear (used for long-race stints)
      • This is the third-softest tire in Pirelli’s range, and it is ideal for tight and twisting circuits when a high level of mechanical grip is needed. The supersofts warm up rapidly, which has made it a stalwart choice for qualifying. But with increased grip comes increased degradation.
    • P Zero Purple ultrasoft – more grip, medium wear (used for shorter-race stints and for initial portion of qualifying)
      • This is the second-softest tire in Pirelli’s lineup, with rapid warming and massive performance. However, because it is so soft, it has a relatively limited lifespan.
    • P Zero Pink hypersoft – highest amount of grip, highest amount of wear (used for qualifying and select race situations)
      • This is a brand-new tire for 2018 and it debuted in the Monaco Grand Prix. It is the softest and, subsequently, fastest compound Pirelli has ever made. The hypersoft is suitable for all circuits that demand high levels of mechanical grip, but the trade-off for this extra speed and adhesion is a considerably shorter lifespan.
  • The Mexican Grand Prix marks the third time these three compounds have been packaged together in 2018, with the most recent pairing coming 12 races ago in the Canadian Grand Prix.
  • The Red supersoft tire has been used in every event except the Chinese, British, German, Hungarian, Singapore and Russian Grands Prix. The Purple ultrasoft tire has been used everywhere except the Bahrain, Spanish, British, Belgian, Italian and Japanese Grands Prix. The pink hypersoft tire made its racing debut in the Monaco Grand Prix and ran again in the Canadian Grand Prix immediately following. After a seven-race hiatus, the hypersoft returned to action in the Singapore Grand Prix and the following Russian Grand Prix.
  • Two of the three available compounds must be used during the race. Teams are able to decide when they want to run which compound, adding an element of strategy to the race. A driver can also use all three sets of Pirelli tires in the race, if they so desire. (If there are wet track conditions, the Cinturato Blue full wet tire and the Cinturato Green intermediate tire will be made available.)
  • Pirelli provides each driver 13 sets of dry tires for the race weekend. Of those 13 sets, drivers and their teams can choose the specifications of 10 of those sets from the three compounds Pirelli selected. The remaining three sets are defined by Pirelli – two mandatory tire specifications for the race (one set of Red supersofts and one set of Purple ultrasofts) and one mandatory specification for Q3 (one set of Pink hypersofts).

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