Mexican Grand Prix 2019 Preview
With just four races remaining in the 2019 Formula One campaign, every point is crucial in the battle to win the Drivers’ Championship. And for Lewis Hamilton, this weekend’s race is perhaps more important than anyone else. The Mercedes man needs a 14-point swing to secure world title number six and it is now a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ he will retain his crown.
Hamilton’s record in Mexico isn’t the best though. The British star has won just once in four appearances at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit and he has failed to finish on the podium in each of the previous two years. Hamilton has a commanding 64-point lead at the top of the Formula One standings but he will want to win the title sooner rather than later.
Ladbrokes punters can back Hamilton at a very appealing 5/2 to claim victory on Sunday night and it would take a brave man to back against the Mercedes driver in his pursuit of glory. Finishing top of the podium will put all of the pressure on the chasing pack and only second spot will suffice for Valtteri Bottas. A 1-2 result for the team could be important in the Constructors’ Championship battle too…
At the time of writing, Mercedes are 177 points clear of closest rivals Ferrari. The German giants have won 12 races this year compared to a combined five for everybody else – that level of dominance surely deserves top spot in the Constructors’ title race. Hamilton and Bottas are two of the best in the business, with Hamilton arguably the greatest Formula One driver of all-time.
However, neither Mercedes driver tops the latest Mexican Grand Prix odds ahead of this week’s race. Instead, new kid on the block Charles Leclerc heads the betting – punters can find the best available odds (2/1) with 888sport. Leclerc looks destined to win the Formula One world title at some point in the future but he can ensure that Hamilton has to keep the champagne on ice with another positive performance this weekend.
Leclerc has been simply sublime in 2019, claiming two of Ferrari’s three Grand Prix wins. It is surely only a matter of time until he becomes the main man at Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel has cut a frustrated figure for most of the season. Expect Leclerc to go close in his bid for a third Grand Prix success of the year; there’s absolutely no reason why he cannot be celebrating at the top of the podium on Sunday evening.
Interestingly, speed demon Max Verstappen is next up in the betting. Whether that is down to Red Bull Racing’s resurgence in recent months or simply as the Mexican circuit seems to suit his driving style, Verstappen is a decent bet at 4/1 with William Hill. Punters will fancy the young Dutchman to claim his third win at the track and we could be set for another nail-biting finish at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Verstappen has won two Grand Prix races this campaign – putting him level with Leclerc in terms of victories. Both men sit just one win behind Mercedes star Valtteri Bottas but there is no doubt that Hamilton is the main man in that garage. With tactics starting to come into play, Verstappen could be the primary beneficiary and Red Bull fans will be quietly confident of a positive result this weekend.
Vettel deserves a token mention in the Mexican Grand Prix winner odds – though is it easy to see why he is a clear fourth in most betting markets. The four-time world champion has failed to make a significant impact in 2019 and Leclerc could take centre stage at Ferrari going forward. Will Vettel play second fiddle to the youngster or not? Only time will tell. A win in Mexico will certainly help his status with the team…
With 7/2 widely available with most bookmakers, Vettel is still fancied to an extent ahead of Sunday’s race. He finished a career-best second in last year’s Mexican Grand Prix and Ferrari fans will be hoping he can go one better in 2019. Expect the German to go all out in pursuit of a much-needed victory this weekend – his drive could be key to the outcome of Sunday’s race.
Predicting the fastest lap of the race is never easy but Bottas at 9/1 with William Hill is a price worth considering. With his slim world title chances slipping away, the Mercedes man is likely to go hell for leather if Hamilton is about to secure the world title. Bottas will want to try and keep his hopes alive and punters should consider the Finnish driver for the fastest lap in Mexico.
To be fair, Bottas has set the fastest lap of the race on more than one occasion this year and the 9/1 looks huge. The Mexican Grand Prix isn’t necessarily suited to his strengths but he is one of the more versatile drivers in Formula One and he is experienced enough to cope with adversity. Watch this space, Bottas could be the surprise package.
The Mexican Grand Prix has a troubled history in Formula One but it is here to stay for the coming years and we could see one of the most eventful races at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in recent times. Hamilton and Leclerc are worthy favourites and it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see those guys finish in the top two – the order though is tough to call but could be vital to the destiny of the Formula One world title this weekend.
With world title number six coming sooner rather than later, Hamilton can afford to relax slightly ahead of the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix. The Mercedes man has done the hard work – it is now all about finishing the job. The 2/1 for Leclerc to emerge victorious on Sunday is a tad short and Hamilton at 5/2 is preferred. He can claim the championship in the sweetest way possible.
RACE WINNER: Lewis Hamilton (5/2 with Ladbrokes)
FASTEST LAP: Valtteri Bottas (9/1 with William Hill)
About Mexican GP
There is a complicated history surrounding the Mexican Grand Prix. First held as an official Formula One championship race in 1963, it has been on and off the calendar before making a proper return to the sport in 2015.
Prior to that, the inaugural Mexican Grand Prix race had taken place but it was held as a non-championship event. However, Formula One bosses moved to include the race on the calendar as soon as possible and 12 months later it was on the official circuit.
The Mexican Grand Prix took place at the Magdalena Mixhuca circuit from 1963 to 1970 before switching to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in 1986. That track held seven Formula One races before the event lost its spot on the championship calendar.
However, it returned to the pinnacle of motorsport in 2015. Since then, the Mexican Grand Prix has been one of the most exciting races on the calendar and motorsport fans will be hoping that it is here to stay for the long-term future.
Formula One legend Jim Clark leads the way with three Mexican Grand Prix triumphs, with the British racing driver coming out on top in 1962, 1963 and 1967. A motorsport legend, we could see Max Verstappen draw level with Clark on three wins this weekend.
Unfortunately, Clark’s tragic death at the 1968 German Grand Prix denied him the chance to claim a fourth Mexican Grand Prix success but Lotus-Ford teammate Graham Hill secured an emotional victory for the team.
To this day, Lotus-Ford lead the way with four Grand Prix wins. McLaren and Williams were the dominant forces between 1986 and 1992 – both teams notching three Mexican victories apiece.
Since making a return to the sport in 2015, the Mexican Grand Prix has been unpredictable at best. However, Verstappen managed to make it back-to-back wins in 2018 and the Red Bull Racing man will be quietly confident of notching a third victory in the race.
It was plain sailing for Verstappen last year, with the Dutchman finishing over 17 seconds clear of Sebastian Vettel in second. Verstappen took the lead on lap one and victory was never in doubt.
We could see Verstappen feature prominently again in 2019 as the Red Bull star bids for his third Grand Prix win of the campaign. At the time of writing, Betfred have priced Verstappen up at 4/1 to emerge victorious in Mexico this weekend.
Daniel Ricciardo had rotten luck throughout the 2018 Formula One season and the Mexican Grand Prix summed his campaign up to a tee.
The then-Red Bull Racing driver secured pole position after a thrilling 1:14:759 but lost top spot to teammate Verstappen on the opening lap of the race. From there, it was all downhill for Ricciardo and he retired on lap 61.
Valtteri Bottas was lapped by the leaders during last year’s Grand Prix but that didn’t stop the Mercedes man from recording the fastest lap time.
Racing round the circuit in 1:18:741, Bottas was particularly quick in the first sector of the track and he could use his familiarity with the Mexican venue to his advantage ahead of the 2019 race.
Without a doubt, the most interesting Mexican Grand Prix fact is that it is the highest circuit on the Formula One calendar.
Standing at 2,40 metres above sea level, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track is almost 1,500 metres higher than the circuit in Brazil – which is the second highest.
Gerhard Berger claimed victory at the 1986 Mexican Grand Prix in the most remarkable way possible.
Driving a Benetton B186, Berger completed the win using just one set of tyres. The modern Formula One fan might not believe it but it is no word of a lie and it remains one of the greatest achievements in motorsport.
While Lewis Hamilton has yet to win the Mexican Grand Prix, he has secured the title at the race in each of the previous two years.
John Surtees, Denny Hulme and Graham Hill are the only other drivers to have won the Formula One title at this particular track.
There were major doubts over the future of the Mexican Grand Prix but Formula One bosses confirmed in August 2019 that there is a deal in place to keep the race on the circuit until 2022.
Going forward, organisers can attempt to secure a long-term deal but that offer buys time if nothing else.
An extension can only mean positive things for Formula One as a whole and motorsport fans from all over the world will be tuning in to watch this weekend’s Grand Prix.
The history and heritage surrounding this race may not be as well known as other venues but it would be sad to see the Mexican Grand Prix lose its status on the calendar.