Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen may have already claimed this season’s championship, but the Mexican Grand Prix always throws up plenty of action, and the race for second in the championship is still very much alive. The two leading contenders are Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Mercedes-Benz AMG’s Lewis Hamilton.
A new record may also be set this weekend. Verstappen has already won 15 races this season, equaling the record number he won last year, and there’s a good chance he’ll rack up one or more wins in the remainder of the current season. He also set a new record earlier this season with 10 wins in a row.
The Mexican race, officially the Mexico City Grand Prix, runs on a 2.7-mile circuit that lies at an altitude of close to 7,500 feet. Thinner air density makes the engines work harder, and generating sufficient cooling and downforce are also more of a challenge. Top speeds are among the highest of the season due to the low air density, with cars typically exceeding 217 mph.
The current layout consists of a long straight, a mixed middle sector, and a final section featuring the famous Peraltada, much modified today from its past as a parabolic corner reminiscent of the one at Monza. The layout is also noted for having the longest distance from the starting line to the braking point for the first corner, at 2,660 feet.
There’s quite a lot of temperature variation during the day in Mexico, even in the space of a few hours, which affects grip levels from the tires. Pirelli has nominated its C3 compound as the white hard, the C4 as the yellow medium tire, and the C5 as the red soft, a softer combination than last year.
The weather can be problematic, with both warm conditions and heavy rain possible. However, the current forecast calls for fine conditions throughout the weekend.
Going into Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race, Verstappen leads the 2023 Drivers’ Championship with 466 points. Perez is second with 240 points, followed in third by Hamilton with 201 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull has already won the title and currently sits on 706 points. Mercedes is second with 344 points and Ferrari is third with 322 points. Last year’s winner in Mexico was Verstappen driving for Red Bull.
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