Plus, the fall-out from Renault’s disqualification from the Japanese Grand Prix will be another major talking point at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Will Hamilton take a Mexico title triple?Lewis Hamilton won the last two world championships at the Mexican Grand Prix and he could do again this year.
However his chances of doing so are not as strong as they were 12 months ago. Hamilton can only take the title this weekend if he finishes in the top three positions and Valtteri Bottas is sufficiently far behind.
His championship lead means it’s more a matter of when, not if, he seals his sixth title. But whether it is likely to happen this weekend will of course depend largely on how competitive Mercedes are.
Will Ferrari’s pole streak continue?
Ferrari haven’t been beaten to pole position since the summer break. And, on the fact of it, the SF90’s prodigious power should mean it is at home on the long straights of Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
But what was once a fast and flowing circuit is now composed largely of very slow corners. Ferrari’s low-speed performance has been variable: They were miles of the pace in Hungary, but won in Singapore. Rivals Mercedes suspected the latter came about partly due to the team sacrificing race performance for qualifying pace, knowing passing would be almost impossible in Singapore. They may not be able to do the same in Mexico.
While Max Verstappen has played down Red Bull’s chances, this is a track which has suited them well in recent years, so much so that Verstappen won F1’s last two races in Mexico.
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Albon’s 2020 chance
Alexander Albon’s steady results since he moved to Red Bull have made a decent case for the team keeping him on for the 2020 F1 season. The team’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko has indicated a decision will come soon, possibly after this weekend.
Unless Albon has an absolutely shocker in Mexico, his chances of keeping his drive for next year are looking good. Similarly, Pierre Gasly looks far more comfortable in the Toro Rosso than he ever did at Red Bull, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he got another year there.
Will Renault fight their disqualification?
The stewards’ decision to disqualify Renault from the Japanese Grand Prix may have killed off their last realistic chance of beating McLaren to fourth place in the constructors’ championship. Instead they will be looking over their shoulders at Toro Rosso and Racing Point – the latter the instigators of the protest which caused Renault’s grief – who are both within 10 points of them.
They have the option of appealing against the decision. But can they feel at all confident in their chances of winning? Particularly considering Japan was their second disqualification in three races after Daniel Ricciardo’s costly MGU-K breach in Singapore.
Perez’s timely homecoming
Racing Point are on an upward swing following their recent upgrade and the fall-out from Japan has edged them closer to Renault. Sergio Perez, who always enjoys a fantastic reception at his home race, must be eyeing the chance of a late surge up the constructors’ championship table.
Williams: Won’t go, can’t stop?
While Robert Kubica fumed over Williams’ decision to remove a new front wing from his car in Japan, George Russell almost pulled out of the race because of his car’s alarmingly inconsistent braking performance. Will the team have a solution this weekend?
Mexico features some of the highest top speeds seen during the season as rivers brake from up to 370kph heading into turn one. That will be an eye-opening thought for the Williams drivers given their recent braking trouble. Kubica may not be too disappointed Nicholas Latifi will drive his car in first practice.
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2019 Mexican Grand Prix
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