Clip The Apex
Donald Trump wanted them to build a wall but instead they rebuilt the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, and I'm mightily pleased they did. The race last year was pretty top notch, the Formula E race here was pretty top notch and the fans were amazing at both. Why shouldn't they be? They have their own hero to cheer on in Sergio 'Checo' Perez (oh and Gutteriez for now) and he usually puts on a show. The track lends itself to good racing and I'm hoping we see a good one this coming weekend. We certainly need something to wash the taste of dull Austin from our mouths. The US Grand Prix was pretty much like ordering your favourite ale only to take a giant swig and find out it was off. It did see a home win for American driver Lewis Hamilton (Yes he's officially American now. Apparently they got him in a swap deal for Scherzinger and Will.I.Am. It was a bad deal and personally I blame David Cameron) which is good news for us because it put him back in a good mood and therefore up for getting back in the championship race. Monegasque driver Nico Rosberg though is still in smug face mode as all he has to do it finish 2nd at every race which doesn't seem to be too much of a problem. Having said that if he does win the title this way the talk will be he doesn't deserve the title (it started on Sky this Sunday) so maybe he needs to go all out to win. Having said that if he does he might crash out and not win the title. Oh its catch 22!
Hamilton's savior might be the ever rising Red Bulls. Max 'I'm not here to finish 4th' Verstappen has really been flying of late and, whilst my comedy side wants him to finish 4th, has a real shot at beating one of the Mercs. Another driver who equally has this chance is Danny Ric who has responded to the Verstappen challenge fantastically. If next year really is an aero formula, and Red Bull are at the front, I can't wait for Verstappen vs Ricciardo to get tasty. Having said that Ricciardo might be a bit distracted this weekend. Apparently he went to the clinic yesterday and discovered that he has a serious foot infection and now has to ring up everyone who has drank out of his shoe and tell them to get themselves tested.
What I think everyone is probably hoping for this weekend is Sergio Perez getting a podium. I think the place would go bonkers. Its not a complete impossibility because Sergio showed last year he gets Mansell type people power round this place and he is actually in good form. Expect some kind of smart 'go long' tyre strategy from Force India. I'd also love to see Carlos Sainz repeat his performance in Austin because it was pretty much like watching your mate out drag a flashy Merc in his mums Fiat Punto. To be honest the Punto might have more horsepower than that old Ferrari engine. As always I look forward to the Fernando Alonso radio comedy hour. He gave us a Texan 'yeehar!' at the end last time out, will we get a Mexican 'Areeber!' this time out? Probably not. We'll prob just get more moaning about the car being slow. Starting his own rival angry radio show is Jolyon Palmer, who is get increasingly frustrated of outpacing KMag in quali and ending up behind him in the race. Apparently being angry with the team you want to re-sign for will solve this.
I haven't mentioned Ferrari yet because I don't really know what to say. Both drivers seem to be on fairly good form and the car seems to perform at times but somehow they always end up with a 75 place gird penalty for Vettel and Kimi rolling backwards down a hill into the pit lane. Will all this bad luck and bad tactics disappear and everything comes together for a perfect Mexican race? Probably not, but it'll be fun to see how fate/the team conspire to throw away a decent result this time.
So thats Mexico served up with sourcream and salsa dressed up in a sombrero and every other slightly offence cliche that will be probably be said by Ted Kravitz in the pitlane this weekend. I feel kind of positive about it. At least the venue looks good.
So as we move onto Austin, Texas, Rosberg would appear to be pretty much in control, and, unless Hamilton gets his starts sorted out, or Rosberg DNF for four races in a row, I don't see much changing.
Last year the weather at Austin dominated the race, to say that it was a wet race would be a massive understatement. The rain was so torrential that Q3 was cancelled and Qualifying was on race day. So do we hope for a dry weekend or a really wet one ?
The circuit is 3.427 miles long (5.515km), it's another Tilke designed circuit, one of a few which runs counter clockwise. From the start to the first corner the drivers climb to the highest point on the circuit, making the initial dash to the first corner and the inevitable jockeying for position that much more challenging than the usual start of race chaos. Last year if you remember saw Hamilton and Rosberg fighting for position at the corner with Hamilton winning. Bad feeling between them escalated, and it hasn't really got any better since.
One of the circuits major features is the spectacular Observation tower, which gives me vertigo just to look at. The observation platform is at 230 feet (70m) above ground. I imagine it's a fantastic place to watch the race ( for those with nerves of steel ) as you can see the entire circuit.
Last year Austin was a very entertaining race, lots of struggling for grip in the wet conditions, slides and overtakes. Of the 20 drivers who started, only 12 finished. It also saw Lewis Hamilton clinch the title, which is certainly not going to happen this year.
Although Austin has been a popular venue, fan attendance is in decline, maybe the current surge in the fortunes of the HAAS team will help to boost numbers at the track. But at the moment the Texas government has cut funding to the circuit, so Austin is looking threatened. I think it would be A great shame to see this race dropped.
Tyres for Austin : Supersofts, Soft and Medium
Number of Laps : 56
Race Distance : 308.4km.