Vettel value to show early pace in Mexico
Hamilton on the verge of fourth title
Mexican Grand Prix practice one
Sky Sports F1, 4pm Friday
Lewis Hamilton needs only to finish in the top five in Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix in order to seal his fourth world drivers championship, regardless of where his chief rival Sebastian Vettel finishes.
Mercedes have scored 1-2 finishes in both races in Mexico City since the circuit returned to the calendar. The cars run in high-downforce configuration at the track, but due to the high altitude the aerodynamic devices are nowhere near as effective as usual.
Hamilton was made to work harder to win the race than he might have expected in Texas last weekend after dominating the preliminaries. But win he did and Hamilton is odds-on to triumph for the seventh time in eight races.
Four different drivers from three teams have topped opening practice at the last four race weekends and the market reflects the open contest.
Hamilton, who was quickest out of the box in Texas, heads the betting at 7-4, but second-favourite Vettel might be the better punt.
Ferrari scored their first double podium finish in six races in Texas and have continued to develop the car while most other teams have switched focus to next year.
The pressure is off Vettel, who has all but conceded the title, and the German could be set for a strong weekend.
S Vettel fastest in practice one
1pt 9-2 general
Venue Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico
Number of laps 71
Lap length 4.304km
Lap record 1.20.521 N Rosberg (Mercedes), 2015
Schedule – practice one 4pm Friday; practice two 8pm; practice three 4pm Saturday; qualifying 7pm Saturday; race 7pm Sunday.
TV All live on Sky Sports F1
Circuit characteristics The circuit is at high altitude and sees the highest straight-line speeds of the year but there are also some very tight sections
DRS zone The pits straight and before turn four
Tyre allocation Soft (yellow), supersoft (red) & ultrasoft (purple)
Last two years winner (grid) L Hamilton (1), N Rosberg (1)
Last year It was a comfortable 1-2 for Mercedes in the end. Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line fifth but was eventually classified third after first Max Verstappen and then Sebastian Vettel were given penalties.
2016 pole L Hamilton, 1.18.704
2016 fastest lap D Ricciardo, 1.21.134 on lap 53
2016 classified finishers 21/22
Reason for retirements Collision damage
Weather Warm and dry. 23C
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