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Rosberg eases to Mexico victory

NEWS STORY
01/11/2015

One of the main problems we face today is that last week's United States Grand Prix has spoiled us.

After the tedium of Saturday's eventually aborted qualifying session, against all odds we were served up a race that had us hooked from lights out to flag. We even got the title decided in the process.

Today's race can go one of either two ways. As they head into the unknown, we are either going to see drivers and teams err on the side of caution or we are possibly going to witness another thriller.

In terms of pace the Mercedes clearly has the edge, with Ferrari and Red Bull not too far behind. Williams, though sixth and seventh doesn't look convincing here, while Toro Rosso and Force India do.

Having enjoyed numerous races where there have been precious few DNFs, it is likely that this will change today.

Though the track is improving it is still very slippery, and consequently we are likely to see a number of drivers punished for errors and over enthusiasm.

The thin air, due to the fact that Mexico City is 1.39 miles above sea level, is not only taking its toll on the engines, particularly the turbocharger and cooling, but on the aerodynamics, where the drivers not only suffer even further loss of grip but high speeds - faster than those witnessed at Monza - mean heavy braking.

Then, of course, there is the usual question mark in terms of tyres. "The strategy calculations are complex for a variety of reasons," admits Pirelli, "firstly because of the unfamiliarity with the track, and secondly because every session has been run in disparate conditions, with a high degree of track evolution. This means that it has been difficult to get an accurate picture of the way that the tyres behave."

That said, tyre wear is low on account of the slippery and new surface, but track evolution is still on-going, which has closed the performance gap between the two compounds slightly as more rubber is laid down.

It is likely therefore that today will be about the survival of the fittest.

Sadly, the media has made much of the possibility of an incident involving the Mercedes duo at the first corner, the titles having been decided having left some journos with over-active imaginations and stories to file.

We rather liked Sebastian Vettel's approach, when at yesterday's post-qualifying press conference he said: "Can you make sure you take both of you out so I can go through? Yes? No?"

Assuming the Silver Arrows duo don't get carried away, the slippery track and the numerous tight and twisty turns, which have resulted in an unusually significant amount of bunching, are sure to see a number of the grid's other hot-heads get it wrong, especially on the opening lap.

As we have said before, the new layout is a little disappointing, especially if you recall the old track and the mighty Peraltada, a corner, much like the Parabolica at Monza, that sorted the men from the boys.

On the other hand, we have a track that oozes atmosphere, the roar of the crowd every time a car comes into sight - especially if Sergio Perez at the wheel - giving the event a real gladiatorial feel.

And by the way, were other fans of a certain age disappointed that Valtteri Bottas had never heard of the Rodriguez brothers?

Whilst this write never got to see Riccardo, he did see Pedro in action, and the little Mexican's driver at Brands Hatch in April 1970, at the wheel of the mighty Porsche 917, still gives him goose bumps. Bet Sebastian Vettel has heard of the Hermanos Rodriguez.

While we said Ferrari is looking strong, that mostly applied to the German driver. Kimi Raikkonen has had a bit of a nightmare weekend, and following the 5-place grid penalty after the team changed his gearbox, he has now been docked further places after the team changed his engine and various other components. Though considering he was already starting at the back with the McLaren that was possibly a wise move.

Talking of penalties and McLaren, spare a thought for Jenson Button who has been demoted a whopping 70 places.

Whilst there is one DRS detection zone, there are two activation zones, one of the pit straight and the other between turns 3 and 4.

Tyre choices are medium (prime) and soft (option).

Strategy is complex, with the weather expected to be at the forefront of calculations for the 71-lap race. As wear rates are low, one stop is possible, but two stops could well be quicker. The fastest two-stop strategy is to start on softs, change to softs again on lap 23, then mediums on lap 46.

For a one-stop strategy, it makes no difference to the overall time whether you start on softs or mediums. Those starting on softs should change to mediums on lap 30, while those starting on mediums should change to softs on lap 40.

However, for the past week we have been warned of thunderstorms in the area, and while only FP1 and the very end of qualifying have witnessed rain, it is widely thought the weather gods could play their part in today's race.

The pitlane opens and the drivers begin making their way to the grid, each is cheered to the rafters by the immense crowd.

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1. Posted by Kkiirmki, 02/11/2015 3:55

"More of the same please Nico, great drive today. If Ferrari (terrible racing from from both drivers today) can't get on equal footing next year then this is the type of drive Nico needs to win a championship"

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