The Mexican Grand Prix was first held in 1962 but dropped off the calendar in 1970 for 15 years. When it came back in 1986 the circuit had been renamed as Hermanos Rodriguez and saw wins from some of the biggest names including Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, and Nigel Mansell. After the 1992 season Mexico once again disappeared from Formula 1, but with F1 bosses wanting expansion it made a welcome return to the calendar in 2015.
Since its return, Mexico looked like it would be dominated by Mercedes. They won the first two races here with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton claiming one win each, but with the high altitude flattening out the power edge, Max Verstappen in his well-balanced Red Bull has claimed victory in both 2017 and 2018. The Hermanos Rodriguez track has a lot of similarities with other tracks. It features long straights into tight chicanes, has an esses section, as well as a tight stadium section at the end of the lap. This circuit isn’t too tricky, and there are plenty of overtaking points. Let’s take a look.
The pit straight is massive in Mexico and contains a DRS zone, which makes for the ideal slipstream and straight-line pass. If are coming from way back then you can get yourself in a position to make a pass on the brakes into turn 1. The inside line is always preferable, but with the flick back to the left coming soon after turn 1 you can sweep around the outside and finish the move off at the turn 2/3 chicane.
The same principal for turn 1 holds for turn 4. It is a long, DRS, run to a slow chicane that allows you to get alongside and make a move on the brakes. The difference here is that it is a much tighter corner, making any move around the outside much harder to pull off.
The esses section is a flowing path that runs you all the way back to the old baseball stadium that the track used to encircle. Now you have a 90-degree right-hander that takes you into the stadium. The AI are not great through the esses, even at the higher difficulty settings, and while flying through there will punish your tyres it can put you in a position to make a move into turn 12 up the inside where you can then close the door and secure the position into the twisting stadium section. Turn 12 links the two toughest parts of the track, let’s take a look at them.
The esses around Mexico are not as technically challenging as the ones in Japan or as variable as the ones in USA, but they can shred your tyres if you are too aggressive. The quickest line is to take a lot of kerb and let it drag you round the corners, but that takes more life out of your tyres so in the race you have to be a little more gentle with the steering, line, and throttle.
The stadium section ends the lap and is brutally slow compared to the rest of the track. It starts with a hairpin left and then a slow right. There is a left kink but you can straight-line that before opening out into a very awkward final corner. This sweeping right can be brutal on the tyres but you need to lean on them to get a good run out onto the pit straight. The AI excels at this part of the course and in particular the final corner so clipping the apex and getting a nice drift out on exit.
You need a nice balance between low-drag for top speed and responsiveness for the esses and stadium section. The circuit requires patience as it can be very punishing on tyres, making a race strategy very difficult to execute. You can see our setup here, but remember that your own driving style, controller setup, and level of assists means you may have to make a few tweaks.
Looking for other circuit setup guides for F1 2018?
Looking for classic cars in F1 2018?
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?