For the sixth consecutive time, Scuderia Ferrari will start from the pole position in today’s Formula One Gran Premio de Mexico 2019. However, securing the ninth pole position and the third front row lock-out in 2019 was not straightforward for the Italian team as the competition geared up for the qualifying session.
Short track – The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez belongs to the shorter race tracks on the current Grand Prix calendar. The Mexico City circuit is just 4.304km long. To complete the entire race distance of 305.354km, drivers will need to cover 71 laps in total in today’s race.
The usual speed limit – Drivers have to adhere to a speed limit of 80kph in the pit lane during the practice sessions, the qualifying and the race. Pitting for new tyres requires a total of 22 seconds in green-flag conditions while doing that under virtual or real safety car period see drivers saving up around seven seconds.
Remarkable history – Today’s race will be the 20th World Champion Mexican Grand Prix. The event first appeared on the calendar in 1963 and began life as the Magdalena Mixuca circuit. The sport visited the venue until 1970 inclusive. A further seven races took place from 1986 to 1992 and after a 23-year hiatus, the field returned to Mexico in 2015.
Five occasions – The Formula One Drivers’ title has been won in Mexico City on five occasions so far. Next to John Surtees, Denny Hulme and Graham Hill, Lewis Hamilton secured two of his title in Mexico.
Almost done and dusted – After Mercedes secured their six consecutive world title in Japan two weeks ago, Lewis Hamilton can wrap up his sixth title today. Only one man could stop the Briton with Valtteri Bottas still having a slim mathematical chance. The 34-year-old has to outscore his teammate by 14 points. However, he has done that only once this season – in Hungary when the Briton won and the Finn finished eighth.
Critical start – Even if there is an offset of 230m between the start and the finish line, the section from the pole position to the first corner is relatively long. Getting a good getaway is critical at the start as the slipstreaming effect is quite powerful down that route.
Unique place – The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez poses a unique set of challenge to the race cars. Situated some 2285m above sea level, the thinner air heavily affects almost all components of the cars. The less oxygen going into the internal combustion engine means that the turbo has to work harder to mitigate that effect. The turbocharger has to spin faster to generate more pressure, but it also means that it is under greater stress. The lower air density also affects the cooling of the brakes and the power unit.
Quite spectacular – Only one in Japan and two on most of the other tracks. Despite to the trend, there will be three DRS zones in Mexico. The first zone has a detection point 70m after Turn 9 and an activation point 80m after Turn 11. The following two zones share a detection point, located at the exit of Turn 15. The second zone starts 323m after Turn 17 and the third activation point is 116m after Turn 3.
No change – Other than the routine maintenance no changes of significance have been made to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez for 2019.
Two-time winners - The list of the most successful drivers in Mexico comprises an illustrious quartet. Jim Clark, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Max Verstappen have all won the famous and beloved event on two occasions apiece. Of the current drivers, Lewis Hamilton is the only other race winner around the Hermanos Rodríguez race track.
The most successful constructors - Lotus, McLaren and Williams share the title of the most successful racing team in the history of the Mexican Grand Prix. All three outfits have won three times while Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull are two-time Mexican GP winning squads.
100 per cent – Formula One returned to spectacular and challenging Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez of Mexico in 2015. Despite to the relatively big run-off zones, the virtual safety car or the Bernd Maylander-driven safety car had to make an appearance in each of the last four editions of the Mexican Grand Prix, adding an additional factor to the race strategy and spectacle of the race.
Smart and lucky - Pitting for new tyres during a safety car period is quite advantageous around the Mexico City track as well. A normal pit stop requires 22 seconds in total while doing that while the Safety Car is on the track can provide drivers with a net gain of seven seconds.
Under control – Fuel usage has not been an issue in recent years as cars do not only produce less downforce, but also less drag due to the thinner air. In last year’s event, 93.3kg of fuel was needed for the driver who completed the full race distance with the least amount of petrol while the thirstiest car burnt a total of 98.3kg of fuel.