Formula 1 gets ready to party this weekend with the 18th stop on the 2018 calendar at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez for the Mexican Grand Prix.
Now in its fourth year since returning back in 2015, the race in Mexico City has quickly become a favourite for many with the carnival atmosphere the fans produce and for the great racing that has been seen around this modernised classic circuit.
Having failed in his quest to win the title in Austin, Sunday should also mark the coronation of Lewis Hamilton as a five-time F1 champion as he needs just five more points to be out of reach of nearest challenger Sebastian Vettel.
The battle for victory is likely to be fierce between the top three teams, so to help you break down the competition for your daily fantasy F1 games, here are our picks and preview for the Mexican Grand Prix.
About the race
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has held F1 in three different stints and on three slightly different configurations since 1963 with a first non-championship race taking place there a year earlier. Over the years, many of the all-time greats have won including Jim Clark, John Surtees, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen adding their names since 2015.
Today, the circuit is one of the fastest on the calendar with a long main straight and a number of sweeping corners, even if the famous Peraltada is no more, but a number of slow-speed technical sections do make this a challenging layout and a good track for overtaking.
At 2,240m above sea level, Mexico City is the highest altitude destination F1 visits and that brings it own challenges with the cars effectively having Monza levels of downforce and the engines are worked particularly hard in the thin air with the power outputs largely similar.
It is that equalization of the engine performance which allows Red Bull to be so competitive in Mexico as proven by Verstappen winning dominantly last year but it was the incredible battles seen in 2016 which could be more representative of what we see this weekend.
Top driver picks
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari ($28.4m)
In the USA last weekend, Ferrari were back as the team that looked like pushing Mercedes all the way to Abu Dhabi during the summer so perhaps Mexico is finally the place where Vettel gets it right and returns to the top step of the podium.
Last year, he claimed pole only to drop back in a chaotic start with Verstappen and Hamilton and 12 months on, with nothing to lose in the championship, providing he can avoid the incidents that have hurt him the past two races, he has to be a strong favourite for the win.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull ($21.8m)
His main threat, however, could well come from the Dutchman who has been in great form for quite some time now and when his Red Bull isn’t at a great engine disadvantage, for example in Singapore, Max has shown he is more than capable of battling for victory.
Charles Leclerc, Sauber ($5.5m)
The midfield is almost impossible to predict this weekend with Renault performing strongly in Austin while Force India and Haas continue to feature most predominantly in the ‘best of the rest’ positions.
Leclerc though has been driving excellently since the news of his Ferrari promotion and on a circuit which is quite similar to Sochi, where he finished seventh, the Monegasque is certainly one to watch in Mexico.
Worst driver picks
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes ($24.9m)
It has been a tough few races for Bottas as his support role duties for Hamilton do appear to be impacting his confidence and, therefore, performance.
At a circuit where the margins are likely to be fine it is that kind of detail which will be the difference between challenging for victory and finishing sixth, in the case of the Finn, it could well be the latter.
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull ($19.3m)
Ricciardo is in a similar situation but for a different reason after yet another mechanical failure in Austin saw his finishing rate drop to just 50% for the last 10 races with four of the five retirements engine related.
Last year, Renault-powered cars also suffered tremendously in Mexico with Verstappen the only driver to reach the finish and that is hardly reassuring based on what the Australian has experienced.
Top team pick
Back on form in Austin, the Scuderia is a no-brainer choice for this weekend as they come out top if not second in pretty much every conceivable area worth considering whether it be competitiveness, value, momentum and past success.
That’s all for our picks and preview for the Mexican Grand Prix, now all you need to do is pick your team and play.