Lewis Hamilton heads to Mexico City with a second shot at winning the world championship.
The Mercedes star needs to finish only seventh to wrap up the fifth world title of his career.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at the key talking points ahead of Sunday’s race.
Hamilton stands on the brink
Lewis Hamilton’s championship challenge rolls over to Mexico this weekend after his failure to get the job completed in the US. It seems highly probable that the Englishman will emulate Juan Manuel Fangio by winning his fifth world title. The Mercedes driver needs just five points to beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for a second straight year. Hamilton won the title in Mexico last season, and if he is seventh or higher when he takes the chequered flag, he will repeat his 2017 feat. And given that the 33-year-old has finished no lower than fifth in the 17 races he has finished this season, it would appear a formality. It is also worth noting that Vettel must win all three remaining rounds to stand any chance of stopping Hamilton. The mistaken-ridden German, however, has won just once since the summer break. Over to you, Lewis.
Rosberg: Vettel has “been all over the place”
Vettel will be counting down the days to the end of the season. For the opening half of this year, it appeared as though Vettel and his Ferrari machinery may have what it takes to stop Hamilton’s Mercedes juggernaut. But, on danger of visiting old ground, Vettel’s challenge has fallen apart following a catalogue of mistakes, not least in the United States last week when he collided with Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull on the opening lap. Indeed, the German has spun in three (Italy and Japan being the others) of the last five rounds. “The championship is all about consistency, and Vettel has done the opposite,” Nico Rosberg, the man who beat Hamilton to the 2016 title, told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast. “He’s been all over the place in the last few months. It has been so one-sided since the summer, it’s unbelievable. It is the result of mistakes, and you are never going to beat Lewis like that because Lewis doesn’t make mistakes.”
Sell-out crowd await Hamilton’s title coronation
The Mexican Grand Prix, which returned to the calendar in 2015 after a two-decade absence, has been a real success, and tickets for Sunday have already sold out. The race at the Autodrom Hermanos Rodriguez takes place a staggering 2,000 metres above sea level, and the high altitude presents a unique series of challenges to both man and machinery. Red Bull fared well here last year, with Max Verstappen taking the chequered flag, and don’t be surprised to see them challenging both Mercedes and Ferrari again this
Should Friday practice be scrapped?
There is a growing feeling that Friday’s schedule, which features three hours of testing, is in desperate need of a revamp. The lack of practice dry running in the US meant teams were unable to collate all the data they normally would have, contributing to the unpredictable nature of a thrilling race. Race promoters are understandably hesitant against abolishing practice altogether with tickets sold separately for Friday’s running. Ross Brawn, F1’s motorsport boss, however, has hinted that he wants to make a change. He said: “Does less data produce a better show? It is definitely more uncertain and therefore another topic for discussion when looking at ways to make our sport even more exciting.”
F1 proves it’s got the X Factor
The US Grand Prix proved a TV hit with 5.5million tuning in to watch the Austin race, the sport’s biggest UK audience in nearly three years. The race was shown on both Channel 4 and Sky Sports, and courted a bigger combined audience than the X Factor on ITV. The race in Mexico however, will be screened exclusively by Sky, with a live viewership likely to be nearer one million for Hamilton’s probable championship coronation. Channel 4 will continue to show highlights packages next year, but they will only have one race, the British Grand Prix, live.