Things to know before the Mexican Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguezmx

After Kimi Räikkönen’s popular victory, which ended a 113-race-long win drought for the Finn, the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship continues in Mexico, with Round 19 taking place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez race track.

Mexico City’s race circuit rejoined the Grand Prix calendar in 2015, but it has already made its name for itself. Situated over 2200m above sea level, drivers, teams and engineers usually face a very unique set of challenges. The track is located by some 1500m higher than Brazil’s Interlagos track which is second with its altitude of 700m on this list. The thinner air means that the whole race car struggles for air. The internal combustion engine suffers because it gets less oxigen, however the turbochargers of the current complex power unit can compensate for that. The thinner air also means that engineers have to take extra preparation work when it comes to the car's cooling characteristics. At this altitude the thinner air leads to lower levels of downforce and thus teams are able to bring higher downforce packages to this high-speed circuit where normally the opposite might be the case.

Track statistics
1. Drivers will need to complete 71 laps on the 4.304km-long track, covering a total of 305.354km. The official lap record is 1:18.785, set by Sebastian Vettel in the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix. The fastest ever lap was recorded by Daniel Ricciardo in yesterday’s qualifying session when the Perth-born driver clocked a lap time of 1:14.759.

2. Interestingly and similarly to some other race tracks, the start and finish line are not identical on the track. The former is 0.230km ahead of the latter.

3. In the 377.7m-long pit lane, drivers have to adhere to a speed limit of 80kph. Without stopping for new tyres, the pit lane time at 80kph is 16.9s.

4. The highest lateral G force is 3.0, achieved in Turn 9. Drivers apply the brake on eight different occacions, of which three are heavy ones.

5. Fuel usage is low. Last year, the minimum fuel usage was 93.4kg while the maximum was 102.5kg. The maximum allowed quantity of fuel drivers are enabled to use during a Grand Prix is 105kg, set in the 2018 Sporting Regulations.

6. With a slippery and smooth track surface leading to low rates of tyre wear and degradation, supplier Pirelli has brought the softest tyres in its range to Mexico – the Supersoft, Ultrasoft and Hypersoft compounds

History and sporting matters

7. Today’s Mexican Grand Prix will be its 19th edition. The race has been part of the Moving Circus in three separate periods: from 1963-1970, from 1986-1992 and the latest iteration of the even rejoined the calendar in 2015. The first ever race took place in 1962, but that was a non-championship event.

8. All of these races have been held on the current circuit, albeit with a different name at the beginning. The track bore the name of Magdalena Mixhuca in the first iteration of the race, but it was re-christened the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez when the Formula One field returned to the hugely popular country in 1986.

9. The current name of the track remembers the Mexican brothers Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez. It was the former's emergence on the racing scene in 1961, aged just 19, that provided the spark, prompting the decision to build a five kilometre circuit in the public Magdalena Mixhuca park in the east of Mexico City. Sadly, the story of the brothers involved tragedy as well. The track was built for 1962, but Formula One hesitated to visit the country at first.

However, it did not discourage the organizers who hosted a non-championship race. This inaugural event on the circuit was won by Jim Clark. Sadly, Ricardo Rodriguez was tragically killed during the qualifying session. The devastated Mexican fans received a new hope in the younger Rodriguez brother, Pedro who raced between 1964 and 1971. The Mexican drove for different teams, including Ferrari, Lotus, Yardley Team BRM and Cooper, won two Grands Prix. Sadly, he was also killed while racing in an Interserie sports car race at Norisring, driving a Ferrari 512M.

10. Current home hero, Sergio Perez has scored points in all of his appearances in the Mexican Grand Prix in the last three years.

11. Three drivers have claimed multiple victories in Mexico, with Jim Clark, Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost all winning on two occasions. Of the current field, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have already won on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The Briton won in 2016, the Dutchman in 2017 while it was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg who claimed the victory in the first year of the third iteration of the Mexican Grand Prix.

12. 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.

13. Lotus, McLaren and Williams are tied as most successful constructor at the Mexican Grand Prix, with three wins each. Ferrari and Mercedes are also multiple winning constructors in Mexixo, both team have claimed two wins apiece.