Verstappen wants to hit the World Cup at the home of Checo Pérez
The opportunity to hit the Formula One World Cup from dutch Max verstappen (Red bull) happens to win at his partner's house, the Mexican Sergio 'Checo' Pérez, the Hermanos Rodríguez Racetrack in Mexico, the first of three races in three weeks that they could decide the championship.
After beating his rival thanks to a good strategy in Austin (United States) 'Mad Max' arrives in Mexico with 287.5 points, a dozen of income on his greatest rival, the Briton Lewis hamilton (Mercedes), seven times world champion, who closed his 2017 and 2018 titles precisely on this circuit.
On the Texas circuit, Verstappen broke a three-run winless streak (Italy, Russia and Turkey) and now faces a third of tests without rest that seem key to the final victory in the championship: this Sunday in Mexico, the 14th in Brazil and the 21st at the premiere of the Grand Prix of Qatar. A key moment, in a circuit in which the young 24-year-old Dutch driver has won twice in the last three races contested (2017 and 2018), but on the last visit his rival, Hamilton, who also accumulates two triumphs on the Aztec track, as he also won in 2016, starting from pole.
The Red Bull team reaches a delicate circuit for balance inside the garage, since for his other driver, the Mexican Sergio 'Checo' Pérez (fourth in the World Cup with 150 points), it is his first real opportunity to have a chance to win at home. The controversy is served within the Austrian energy drinks squad: everyone wonders what will happen if in a set of the race 'Checo' is with options to win the test ahead of Max, but he needs the points to ensure his leadership in the championship.
"I always look for the best for the team. Max is fighting for the drivers' championship, you have to support him. We also fight for the constructors' championship, each point is key to achieving it, "said the Guadalajara driver on Tuesday when asked about that possibility. He also acknowledged that it would be" difficult "to find a team order that would deny him victory.
The fans who come to Hermanos Rodríguez have it clear. In Mexico the 'checomanía' has been awakened, palpable this Wednesday in the 100,000 spectators who attended an exhibition of the Red Bull driver on the Paseo de la Reforma.
In Mercedes, they admit that the Mexican racetrack is not their favorite place to make up ground. "Red Bull has done well there in the past and not our strongest circuit. But this year he has shown that anything is possible, even on circuits where you were previously weak, "analyzed team principal Toto Wolff. Wolff also has to deal with a complex situation in the garage, as Hamilton's teammate, finnish Valtteri Bottas, third in the World Cup with 185 units, already announced months ago that he will leave next season to Alfa Romeo, and even already has a substitute: the British George Russell, today in Williams.
Ferrari vs. Mclaren
Behind the fight for the laurel in the Drivers 'and Constructors' World Cups between the Mercedes (460.5 points) and the Red Bulls (437.5 points), another struggle is drawn between the contenders for third place, tighter if possible.
McLaren retains third place with 254 units, but Ferrari is only 3.5 (250.5) and since the 'double' of the British team in the Italian Grand Prix, with the Australian triumph Daniel Ricciardo and second place from the British Lando norris, his Italian rival has cut him 14 points in two races. The Spanish Carlos Sainz, from Ferrari, considered that the circuit gives him the opportunity to be "moderately protagonists". "The circuit can favor the characteristics of our car and we can, hopefully, be in the fight," the Madrid native, seventh in the drivers' standings with 122.5 units, told EFE, 5.5 behind his Monegasque teammate. Charles Leclerc.
Behind them, the team Alpine of the two-time Spanish world champion Fernando Alonso, will try to recover from the last two big prizes, in which he left without points and in Austin without finishing. The Asturian is a route that motivates him. "I love football and it reminds me a lot of a stadium when you're in that final sector," admitted Alonso, tenth in the World Cup with 58 points.
The 71 laps of the 4,304-kilometer circuit at the Hermanos Rodríguez Autodrome will dictate judgment this Sunday. The teams will have to pay attention to the effect of the 2,240 meters of altitude of the Mexican city on the grip of their cars, in a circuit with a long starting straight and a very fast start, in which medium tires will be used.