2017 Mexican Grand Prix stats preview

2017 Mexican Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton could become the fourth driver in Formula One history to win the world championship in Mexico this weekend.

Race history

The world championship has been decided in Mexico on three occasions in F1 history. Unless Lewis Hamilton has an unusually poor weekend it will happen for a fourth time on Sunday.

The omens are good for Hamilton: Two of the three drivers to win the world championship in Mexico were also British. The first was John Surtees (above), who clinched the 1964 title in a thrilling final-round decider against fellow Britons Graham Hill and Jim Clark.

Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Williams, Mexico City, 1986
Mansell could have won the 1986 title in Mexico
Four years later Hill won his second title at the same track. The only other driver to win the title in Mexico was New Zealand’s Denny Hulme in 1967.

The Mexican Grand Prix never decided the championship during its second spell on the calendar between 1986 and 1992, though Nigel Mansell probably should have clinched the title during the first of those races.

Hamilton could win the championship in a fourth different country this weekend, having clinched his previous titles in Brazil (2008), United Arab Emirates (2014) and the United States (2015). However if he does win this year’s championship his streak of winning the title in different continents will end, as he’s already done it in South America (Brazil), Asia (UAE) and North America (USA).

There were two home drivers on the grid in Mexico last year but the departure of Esteban Gutierrez means Sergio Perez is the only Mexican driver who will race this weekend. Force India have not yet confirmed whether their Mexican test driver Alfonso Celis will participate in practice. He did six practice sessions for the team last year but did not run at home as he had a clashing commitment racing in Formula V8 3.5.

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The form book

As F1 has raced at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez just twice since it returned to the calendar, Hamilton is the only driver in the field to have won or set pole at this track. Both previous races produced Mercedes one-twos.

Max Verstappen would have joined them on the podium last year but, in scenes reminiscent of last weekend, he penalised moments before the ceremony was due to begin for a penalty for an incident involving a Ferrari driver. Sebastian Vettel took his place – though another penalty meant he didn’t get to keep it, either.

Sergio Perez, Force India, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2015
Perez will be the only home driver on the grid
Hamilton has been the most regular visitor to the points this year and hasn’t finished lower than seventh so far. The next most consistent driver is Esteban Ocon, who’s only failed to score on a single occasion, and has been in the points for the last 11 races running.

Ocon has closed to within 13 points of Perez, who has complained about being stuck behind his team mate in both of the last two races. Force India have forbidden their drivers from racing each other following their collisions in several races this year. But if, as is likely, the team cements its grasp on fourth place in the constructors’ championship this weekend, they may let their drivers off the leash for the final two races.

Daniil Kvyat’s departure means Toro Rosso will have their fourth different driver pairing in five races this weekend, Pierre Gasly returning alongside Brendon Hartley. None of their four drivers has been team mate to all of the other three, however (Carlos Sainz Jnr and Hartley haven’t been team mates; Kvyat and Gasly haven’t been team mates).

Hartley has already won once at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez this year with Porsche team mates Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber in the World Endurance Championship. This will be Gasly’s first race at the track and the same is also true of Stoffel Vandoorne and Lance Stroll. The latter will celebrate his birthday on race day, turning 19 years old.

Lap times

Overtaking

Source: Mercedes

Race ratings

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2017 Mexican Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “2017 Mexican Grand Prix stats preview”

  1. I wonder if the speed record will get broken in F1 here this year? Are the cars quicker or slower in strait line speed than before? Currently, Maldonado holds the speed record at this track from 2015. And if I am correct, unofficially, as it was just measured by the Willaims car, Bottas holds the record for a slightly faster speed in Baku last year.

    1. @thegianthogweed I doubt it will get broken, although, the high altitude of this circuit could very well minimise the straight-line speed deficit the current cars have to their predecessors a lot.

      1. Yes, which is one reason why I am wondering why it may be possible. As the are is thinner but engines are far more powerful. At leased I though they were. Maybe I’m wrong.

        1. *air

    2. @thegianthogweed It will. Cars run maximum downforce at this track. Think about it as using Monaco wings to produce Monza level downforce.

      1. @thegianthogweed w8? are you talking about top speed or times? Sorry. Got confused

        1. Top speed. While my first reaction was that this year’s car has been consistently slower than last year in straight line, this might not be true in Mexico.
          The balance of the current car is more downforce and more grip which give better overall pace but also higher drag and lower top speed.
          But the drag is reduced in Mexico and I wonder if the extra grip could not be predominant and lead to one of the race with higher top speed than last year.

          Was it any track where it was the case this year? Monaco?

  2. the cars this year are slower in straights.

    1. The extra down force is negated to a large degree by the thinner air.

      Coupled with the cars getting higher corner exit speeds, it is entirely likely to see a new record.

  3. So it appears that Surtees won his championship in a white and navy blue Ferrari (All American Racing colours), never knew that.

    1. He did indeed!

    2. Wasn’t there a dispute between Ferrari and an Italian automotive authority which meant that Enzo entered the cars under the NART (North American Racing Team) banner?

      1. That’s true.

  4. A quick follow-up point on Celis – Force India have now confirmed he’ll be in the car for practice:

    https://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2017/10/24/celis-gets-practice-run-home/

  5. Revenge should be necessary for Max.

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