The backdrop – Mexico City for the Mexican Grand Prix – will be the same. Lewis Hamilton is hoping the result will be the same as well.
A year ago, Hamilton secured his fourth career World Drivers’ Championship at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, finishing ninth to put an end to the season’s chase.
The 33-year-old has a chance to repeat that achievement on Sunday, needing to finish seventh or better to reclaim the crown. Hamilton has finished on the podium in nine straight races, the second-longest streak of his career behind a 16-race run in 2014-15.
After a third-place finish in the United States Grand Prix, Hamilton leads Sebastian Vettel by 70 points with 75 still available over the year’s final three races. If Vettel finishes second or lower, Hamilton would take the title regardless of his finish. Vettel has never finished on the podium in Mexico.
“There are a lot of people relying on me,” Hamilton said. “I also want to win the Constructors’ title for the team. At the last race, we lost some ground. There are so many people in the team, and you actually feel the pain for them all because you want to deliver for everybody. I feel like I’ve done everything I could, but coming here this weekend and going into these next races, I believe that the team has earned the position it is in, and I need to secure that title because it can make a big difference for them too.”
Hamilton has competed at the Mexican Grand Prix three times since the race returned to the Formula One calendar, finishing second in 2015 before winning in 2016.
“The US Grand Prix confirmed what we said before the race: This year’s championship fight is far from over,” Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff said. “While Lewis was able to extend his lead over Sebastian Vettel in Austin, we lost points to Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. We have a battle on our hands and we will have to keep pushing to win both titles.”
Aiming for its fifth straight Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads the standings by 66 points over Ferrari. Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and the Mercedes team can win the constructors’ title if they outscore Ferrari by 20 points on Sunday.
“Obviously the priority for us is to get as many points as possible this weekend as a team, and Lewis clearly has a great opportunity here to win the title,” Bottas said. “I think it could be a challenging weekend. We know that Red Bull were very competitive here last year, as were Ferrari in qualifying and also in the race. They had good race pace.”