Lewis Hamilton has the opportunity this weekend to win a sixth world title. At a place in the record held by the German Michael Schumacher.
Lewis Hamilton in Michael Schumacher’s aspiration: the Mercedes Briton has the first chance of sixth world title this weekend in Mexico, to become the second most decorated driver in the history of F1.
Only then would the German legend and his seven world titles remain before him.
However, there are still some people on the road to the 34-year-old Briton, between Ferrari, Red Bull and his teammate at Mercedes Valtteri Bottas, second in the championship.
With 64 points ahead of him and four races to go by the end of the season, Hamilton can see coming and he will need a little luck to be crowned on Sunday.
In short, he has to score fourteen points more than the Finn, with a range of possible combinations to get there, all implying that he ranks in the top 3 and not Bottas.
However, winner of the last GP of Japan, where Hamilton was only third, the second Mercedes driver intends to defend until the end his chances, even as thin as a sheet of cigarette paper.
Bottas in ambush
After a start to the season that saw him win two of the first four Grands Prix, the Finn has seriously slowed down, no longer winning until Suzuka on 13 October.
Before Mexico, he has only three wins for nine to his teammate. It can also be still mathematically caught up by Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, launched after him.
With the title of manufacturers already in his pocket and none other than his own men still competing at the drivers, Mercedes also says that there will be no team instructions.
“We know that the last four races are not going to be easy and we expect Mexico to be the toughest,” said Toto Wolff, head of the Silver Arrows.
The Ferrari and Red Bull are generally in shape on the circuit Hermanos Rodriguez, drawn in the Mexican capital and the highest of the season to almost 2300 meters.
“Running at such an altitude has an impact on the behaviour of the car. We try to have maximum support but as we are very high in relation to the sea level, the air is much less dense and cars have little support, “says Sebastian Vettel. The engines also do not work at full speed, oxygen is becoming scarce.
Verstappen for a triplet?
The Ferrari has a much better second half of the season and have won three of the last five races between Charles Leclerc (2) and the German (1), for two Mercedes.
In Mexico last year, they finished second (Vettel) and third (Räikkönen).
Their current drivers are struggling to be the alpha male in the Scuderia. Leclerc, who arrived this year, is currently third in the championship, ahead of Vettel, fifth, by eleven points only.
Red Bull remains on two consecutive victories in Mexico with Max Verstappen. The Anglo-Austrian cars even had the first two places on the grid in 2018, even if Daniel Ricciardo (now at Renault) had abandoned in the race.
The young Dutch do not expect this result this time, believing that Mercedes and Ferrari have a big advantage in terms of power on his Honda engine.
Fourth in the provisional classification of the world championship tied with Vettel (212), he can still hope to climb on the final podium of the season.
His teammate, the Thai Alexander Albon, has made a strong impression since replacing Frenchman Pierre Gasly. Since his debut at Red Bull at the GP of Belgium at the end of August, he scored more points (48 to 31) than the illustrious Verstappen, forced twice to retire while Albon finished each time in the points, failing at the foot of the podium in Japan.
The program of the Mexico Grand Prix
18th round of the Formula 1 World Championship
Circuit Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City (local and french hours)
10:00 am – 11:30 local time (5:00 pm – 6:30 pm): free
practice 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm (9:00 pm – 10:30 pm): free practice 2
Saturday 10h00-11h00 (17h00-18h00):
free practice 3
13h00-14h00 (20h00-21h00): qualifications
13h10 (20h10): start of the Grand Prix (71 laps of the 4.304km circuit or two hours of race)