Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel have shared the last five pole positions – four to one in the Monegasque’s favour – after a raft of updates after the summer break finally unlocked the potential of the SF90.
Hamilton’s qualifying result of fourth in Japan last time out was his worst of 2019 to date and the Briton has struggled in Mexico in each of the last two years, despite securing a championship-winning result each time.
Once again, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez could play host to a Hamilton coronation this year, if he outscores team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 14 points.
Hamilton must finish at least third to stand a chance of wrapping up his sixth world title, although that appears to be the ceiling of his ambitions for Saturday at the least.
“I don’t think a lot has changed,” said Hamilton.
“We are going to go into the weekend knowing that Ferrari are massively quick, usually on the straights, and obviously straights are a powerful element of the circuit so I don’t know when we’ll be getting another pole.”
Despite the expected setback on Saturday in Mexico City, Hamilton will not go into Sunday too downbeat.
Mercedes have turned the tables on Ferrari in each of the last two races, winning in Russia and Japan, aided by botched team orders and Vettel’s engine failure in Sochi, and then the German’s poor launch and Leclerc’s crash in Suzuka.
“As you’ve seen in previous races it’s not necessarily all about qualifying these days,” Hamilton said. “It’s about making sure you’ve got the car also ready for the race.”