Mexican sports fans are some of the most passionate on the planet, and while their first love is most definitely football, motorsport is a key interest with IndyCar featuring local young gun Patricio O'Ward and former F1 test driver Alfonso Celis junior.
…while the Formula 1 Mexico Grand Prix has been a sell-out event since its return to the calendar in 2015, fuelled by passionate support of Racing Point Force India’s Sergio Pérez.
The 28-year-old from Guadalajara was the sixth Mexican driver to start an F1 Grand Prix – the first Ricardo Rodríguez, followed by his brother Pedro, who is the most successful with two wins.
The Rodríguez brothers’ rise in the early 1960s led to the establishment of the Mexico Grand Prix in 1963 with the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez named after them.
Since then only F1 World Champions Jim Clark, Alain Prost, and Nigel Mansell have won multiple times – each with two victories. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen won last year.
The Dutchman had a great start from second, passing Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the lead – around the outside of Turn 1… while the German and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton made contact at the exit of Turn 3, forcing them both to pit at the end of the lap.
Located 40 minutes from Mexico City, the 4.304 kilometre track has 17 turns, seven left and 10 right, and a top speed of 350 kilometres an hour. Sebastian Vettel reset the lap record last year in his Ferrari. There are two DRS activation zones, with the first between turns three and four, with the other located on the pit straight. There is just one DRS detection zone, between Turns 14 and 15.
…which is in the packed amphitheatre-like baseball stadium, which was re-built to replace the old fearsome final corner, the Peraltada – a thrilling sight for drivers back in 2015.
SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“What we saw at the grand prix was unlike anything I've seen in terms of how the fans responded."
Historic and high speed, with massive crowds to lift the spirit. It’s time for the Mexico Grand Prix.