It’s a short hop from Texas to Mexico City, for the 18th round of the F1 World Championship, where the title could be wrapped up, quite comfortably, by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. He need only finish fifth, even if chief rival Sebastian Vettel wins, to claim his fourth championship.
Sounds easy right? Well, it may not be so simple. Despite the seemingly fast nature of the track, the high elevation and thin air at the circuit means cars will run in high downforce trim. This means Ferrari and perhaps even Red Bull could go faster than Mercedes, leaving open the possibility that Hamilton will have to wait one more round for title number four. On the other hand, there might be enough grunt in that Mercedes engine, over those long straights, to see it through, and Mercedes won here in both 2015 and 2016, so it’s hardly a certainty that the Silver Arrows will struggle.
The track itself is a somewhat sedate version of the track that previously hosted races into the early 90s. The run to turn 1 will provide overtaking opportunities and it was the run into turn 4 that saw some feisty battles between Vettel and Max Verstappen last year. Part of the track runs through the grandstands, providing an absorbing atmosphere, and local boy Sergio Perez is likely to get roared on every on every time he runs through there.
So, will Hamilton win the title on Sunday? Or will there be a twist to the tale?