Formula 1 is back in action this coming weekend as it heads to Mexico for the eighteenth round of the 2019 season.
2019 Drivers’ Champion
Lewis Hamilton goes to Mexico with the opportunity to seal the 2019 Drivers’ title if he can outscore Valtteri Bottas by fourteen points this weekend.
For example were Hamilton to win this weekend’s Grand Prix and claim fastest lap, if Bottas finished lower than third then this would see Hamilton claim his sixth title at a venue where he clinched his 2017 and 2018 title triumphs.
Both have finished off the podium only once in the last five races and both have won a race over that five race period with Hamilton’s victory coming in Russia, while Bottas’ came in the round prior to this weekend in Japan.
A closer battle going into the weekend is the fight for third place in the championship between the two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
The situation in the fight for third in Japan was that Leclerc was three points ahead of Verstappen and twenty one points ahead of his teammate, Vettel.Embed from Getty Images
However Leclerc goes to Mexico having failed to finish on the podium at Suzuka, ending a four race run of podium finishes. Verstappen was forced into retirement after colliding with Leclerc at the start, while Vettel eventually finished second getting himself back into the fight for third after retiring in Russia.
All of this means that Leclerc is still in third going to Mexico but is now eleven points ahead of both Verstappen and Vettel.
Prior to Japan, sixth was occupied by Pierre Gasly who was three points ahead of Carlos Sainz and seventeen points ahead of Alexander Albon in eighth.Embed from Getty Images
Going into this weekend however, Sainz has now taken sixth in the championship after finishing fifth at Suzuka while Gasly could only manage eighth, with one point separating the two ahead of this weekend.
Albon once again had a solid race weekend in Japan and benefited from the Leclerc/Verstappen collision to eventually finish fourth, his highest finishing position in his Formula 1 career so far. It also means that he is eleven points behind Gasly and twelve points behind Sainz ahead of this weekend.
Lando Norris was ninth and was one point ahead of the Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg going to Suzuka. A point behind the Renaults were Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez who were two points ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.Embed from Getty Images
There was a lot of action in the midfield, not least a protest by Racing Point against the Renaults after the race in Japan, which has been successful and seen the Renaults disqualified from the race result at Suzuka.
All of this means that Sergio Perez is ninth going into his home race, two points ahead of Lando Norris having finished inside the points in four of the last five races.
There are a trio of drivers one point behind Norris, those being Daniil Kvyat and then the two Renault drivers of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg. Three points behind this trio is Kimi Raikkonen who hasn’t finished inside the points since the Hungarian Grand Prix.Embed from Getty Images
It means that six points cover Perez in ninth down to Raikkonen in fourteenth going into this weekend.
Mercedes sealed their sixth consecutive constructors’ title in Japan which means that focus shifts to the midfield teams.Embed from Getty Images
However, although the midfield fluctuates from race to race, the situation in the constructors’ championship is becoming settled with McLaren having managed to extend their lead over fifth placed Renault. The French team are now six points ahead of Toro Rosso after, as mentioned, being disqualified from the race in Japan.
The most interesting battle in the constructors’ going to Mexico is between Toro Rosso and Racing Point for sixth, with only four points separating the two, although Toro Rosso did manage to extend their advantage by a point having had a three point advantage going into Japan.Embed from Getty Images
Behind Racing Point are Alfa Romeo, the gap extending after Alfa Romeo failed to finish inside the top ten in Japan, their last top ten finish coming thanks to Antonio Giovinazzi in Singapore.
Lastly, the gap between Alfa Romeo and Haas has stayed at seven points with neither team being able to score in Japan, although anything can happen in the remaining four races.