Nico Rosberg rediscovers his determined persona to dominate Lewis Hamilton in Mexico
The was the site of Formula1’s return to Mexico in 23 years. The track was substantially improved, but little reconfigured, with the exception of the breathtaking banked Peraltada corner. That legendary 180-degree corner was lost; in its place were an earlier 90-degree right into the “spectators’ baseball stadium”, followed by a very tight first gear left and second gear right leading back to the remaining Peraltada curve.
With Mexico City’s 2000 meter altitude making air 23-percent thinner than at sea level, the effectiveness of wings and downforce creation were reduced in kind. The teams expected to use high-downforce packages (read Monaco) to regain aero grip, but even with those measures in place, straight line speeds were expected to be high, with then added stress on the brakes and cooling. Both predictions were still too conservative; it turned out, Felipe Massa’s Williams was clocked at an eye-popping 226.4 mph, and Nico Rosberg’s rear disc’s burst into flame in FP1.
Additionally, readings on the newly paved super-smooth track surface suggested a low grip and low tire wear. Pirelli brought its medium and soft compounds, which both proved too hard for the Mexican tarmac. With the added variable of high track temperatures, both elements would play a part in the race’s results.