Mexico GP: Track notes, DRS, tyres, stats and more

Other than routine maintenance no changes of significance have been made to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez ahead of this year’s Grand Prix.

As in 2017, there will be two DRS zones, sharing a detection point located at the exit of Turn 15. The first activation point is 323m after Turn 17, while the second is 116m after Turn 3.

The hypersoft makes its fifth and penultimate appearance this season alongside the ultrasoft and supersoft. With the introduction of the hypersoft to Mexico, the softest nomination is effectively two steps softer than last year, when soft, supersoft and ultrasoft were chosen. All the 2018 compounds are a step softer than their 2017 equivalents – and the hypersoft goes one step softer still.

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is one of the fastest tracks on which the hypersoft will be used this year, allowing the drivers to make full use of the tyre’s record-breaking potential.

The track surface is quite smooth and slippery, reducing tyre wear and degradation, while the pitlane is one of the longest of the year, which increases the time needed to make a stop and will probably encourage the teams towards a one-stopper.

Indeed, a one-stopper was the winning strategy last year, but there were some two-stoppers, helped by a virtual safety car. While race winner Max Verstappen, was on a one-stopper – starting on ultrasofts and subsequently changing to supersofts, a strategy adopted by second-place Valtteri Bottas, third-placed Kimi Raikkonen started on ultras before switching to softs. Fourth-placed Sebastian Vettel, was one of three drivers in the leading ten – including ninth-placed Lewis Hamilton – to make two stops.

There’s a wide mix of speeds and corners: as well as the two fast straights – where Vettel peaked at 225.2 mph (362.4 km/h) last year – there’s a slow and twisty stadium section where the famous Peraltada corner used to be.

It’s the highest altitude circuit of the year, which means that the cars generate less downforce in the thin air and have to rely more on mechanical grip from the tyres.

At an altitude in excess of 2,200m, by comparison, Sao Paulo is just 800m. In the normally aspirated era this would have meant a power output some 22% less than normal, but a turbocharged engine will produce the same power as a sea-level event such as Abu Dhabi. To do this, the turbo spins at a higher rate to input more oxygen into the ICE. To compare: the turbo will spin some 8% more in Mexico than in Abu Dhabi.

Fuel consumption over one lap is quite low so energy recovery is less critical in Mexico than at other circuits.

2018 is the 19th World Championship Mexican Grand Prix. The race has been part of the F1 calendar in three distinct phases: from 1963-1970; from 1986-1992, while this latest iteration of the race joined the schedule in 2015. All of the races have taken place at the circuit that began life as the Magdalena Mixhuca circuit and was later re-christened the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

The current layout has seen a different winner each year since the race’s 2015 return. Nico Rosberg won the inaugural event on the new circuit in 2015, Lewis Hamilton was victorious in 2016 and Max Verstappen won last year’s race.

If Lewis Hamilton manages to wrap up his fifth title on Sunday it will be the fifth F1 crown sealed in Mexico City. Hamilton claimed his fourth championship here last year, when a ninth-place finish was enough to guarantee him the crown. John Surtees took his sole title in Mexico in 1964 with Ferrari, Brabham’s Denny Hulme took his only title win here in 1967, while Graham Hill won his second F1 title here in 1968 with Lotus.

Lotus, McLaren and Williams are tied as most successful constructor at the Mexican Grand Prix, with three wins each. Lotus’ victories were scored in 1963 and 1967 with Clark and in 1968 with Graham Hill. McLaren won in 1969 with Denny Hulme, in 1988 with Alain Prost and in 1989 with Ayrton Senna. Williams won twice with Nigel Mansell, in 1987 and 1992 and also in 1991 with Riccardo Patrese.

As with victory, pole position at the latest version of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has been taken by a different driver at each of the three events held so far. Nico Rosberg won from pole in 2015, as did Hamilton in 2016. Sebastian Vettel began last year’s race from pole but finished in fourth place.

Fastest lap on the current layout has also been taken by three different drivers. Rosberg ran fastest in the 2015 race, Daniel Ricciardo was fastest in 2016 and Vettel set the current record last year with a time of 1:18.785, set on lap 68 at an average speed of 122.205 mph (196.666 km/h).

Max Verstappen has led more laps of the current configuration than any driver. The Dutchman led every lap of the 2017 race on his way to his third career win. The only other drivers to have led laps on this current layout are Nico Rosberg (68), Hamilton (62) and Vettel (12).

Five drivers on the current grid have been classified in the top three here: Hamilton, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton and Bottas are the only men with multiple podium finishes, with two apiece.