Ever since getting over his wobbly start to his year, Max Verstappen has been on stonking form in 2018, and is currently sitting on a tally of eight podiums – one of those being his solitary win this year at the Austrian Grand Prix. But after running race-winner Kimi Raikkonen close in Austin one week ago, Verstappen is looking to go one better at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday – and he reckons his Red Bull RB14 is just the tool for the job.
The Mexico City race circuit presents a particular set of challenges for the teams and drivers. Sitting at over 2,000m above sea level means that the air is less oxygen-dense, with the result that wings are less efficient, tyres are more tricky to switch on and power-unit elements have to work harder to make the engines as potent as they are at sea-level.
But as Verstappen explained, those are all conditions which play into Red Bull’s hands in a straight fight against Mercedes and Ferrari...
“I think the engines will be a little bit closer [in Mexico] because it's just a bit more difficult for them to breathe,” said Verstappen during the pre-race press conference.
“Downforce-wise, you lose a lot of performance and then it's more about mechanical grip, because even with the biggest wing here, you have less downforce than in Monza. I think our car is very good mechanically anyway – also aerodynamically, but of course that's less of a factor. That's why I think we are normally more competitive on this track than others, even though there is a super-long straight.”