2017 Auckland SuperSprint (Supercars) – Preview

The 13th and penultimate round of the 2017 Supercars Championship takes place this weekend at Pukekohe Park Raceway in Pukekohe in New Zealand, which is about 60 kilometres south of Auckland, and we have a five-way battle for the championship heading into the final two rounds (four races) of the season, with Jamie Whincup having a chance to claim an unprecedented seventh Supercars/Australian Touring Car Championship this weekend.

Whincup (2580 points) leads the championship for Triple Eight Race Engineering by 17 points over DJR Team Penske driver Fabian Coulthard (2563 points), with Coulthard’s teammate Scott McLaughlin (2553 points) 27 points behind Whincup heading into the final two rounds of the season, with Prodrive Racing Australia driver Chaz Mostert (2454 points), and Whincup’s teammate Shane Van Gisbergen (2391 points) all within striking distance of the championship, 126 and 189 points behind Whincup respectively.

Whincup has the least amount of race wins out of the five drivers remaining in championship contention with two victories, but has achieved 13 podiums (12 podiums if you discount Race Three of the championship), and has finished outside of the Top 10 on only three occasions so far in 2017. However, despite being consistent in qualifying, achieving an average qualifying position of 4.68, Whincup has only achieved one pole position in 2017 with the car generally lacking the outright speed of the DJR Team Penske cars, particularly McLaughlin who has taken 14 pole positions so far in 2017

Coulthard has the second-most amount of race victories in 2017 with four, but has only achieved a total of 10 podiums, but like Whincup, has consistently finished inside the Top 10, only missing out on a Top 10 on four occasions (three if you discount Race Three of the championship), but hasn’t had the one lap speed of his teammate McLaughlin, only achieving a single pole position up to this point in 2017, having an average qualifying position of 6.68.

McLaughlin has had the most race victories in 2017 with seven, and a total of 13 podiums, capitalising on his strong qualifying form, having an average qualifying position of 2.54. However, McLaughlin has finished outside of the Top 10 on six occasions, the most of any of the title contenders, including suffering a mechanical-induced retirement at the Bathurst 1000, costing McLaughlin vital championship points.

With this, McLaughlin will aim to become the first driver since Garth Tander in 2007, and only the second driver since the Bathurst 1000 became a championship event in 1999 to win the title after retiring from the Bathurst 1000.

Mostert is the underdog in this championship battle, considering that he is the only Prodrive driver in contention. However, Mostert has achieved three race wins, and a further five podiums so far in 2017, finishing outside the Top 10 on three occasions. Mostert has also been consistent in qualifying despite only achieving one pole position, achieving an average qualifying position of 4.86.

Mostert has finished inside the Top 10 in the last 10 races, and is in great form heading into the final two rounds of the season.

Van Gisbergen is the fifth driver in the championship battle, and has achieved four race wins (three if you discount Race Three of the championship), as well as a further six podiums, finishing outside of the Top 10 on only four occasions in 2017. Van Gisbergen also has the second-most pole positions in 2017 with three, and has an average qualifying position of 4.68.

Looking at all of the five contenders, it is going to be very hard to split them in terms of the overall championship, but I think Scott McLaughlin is the favourite, perhaps just ahead of Jamie Whincup due to his superior one lap speed, and I believe that he will convert this to race-winning success under intense pressure in both New Zealand, and at the final event of the year in Newcastle.

However, you wouldn’t back against Whincup to win his seventh championship given his consistency in 2017 compared to the other four championship contenders.

Looking at who will be strong at Pukekohe, the DJR Team Penske has worked better on high speed circuits, and on circuits that have a number of high speed corners, which Pukekohe has.

However, Triple Eight Race Engineering and Prodrive Racing Australia have been strong at Pukekohe in recent years, but I think DJR Team Penske will to a certain extent dominate this weekend to take a stranglehold on the championship, and I believe it will be McLaughlin moving one step closer towards his first championship success in Supercars.

 

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New Zealand vs. Samoa (TV style) – My call (2017 Rugby League World Cup – Match Three)

Earlier tonight, I called the third match of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup between New Zealand and Samoa, which was held at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland in New Zealand.

New Zealand came into this match under massive pressure in so many ways after not only the defection of some big name players to other Pacific nations, most notably Tonga, and the issues earlier this year in Canberra involving Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor, two players that aren’t playing in this World Cup as punishment for that indiscretion.

However, New Zealand had all three matches that they have played against Samoa in the lead up to this match tonight.

So, could Samoa cause the first upset of the tournament?

Find out right here, and enjoy!

Australia vs. England (TV style) – My call (2017 Rugby League World Cup – Match One)

Earlier tonight, I called the opening match of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup between Australia and England, which was held at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

Australia have dominated all of their recent meetings against England, winning their last 11 matches against England, and when you include Great Britain into the statistics of England, Australia had won 83 of their 151 matches against England/Great Britain heading into tonight’s match.

So, who would get their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start?

Find out right here, and enjoy!

2017 Rugby League World Cup – Preview

On Friday night, the opening match of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup will take place from the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (AAMI Park) between Australia and England, and there have been a lot of storylines dominating the lead-up to the event, including the defections of notable New Zealand and Australian players, including Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita, to play for Tonga, who have announced a very strong squad capable of causing, perhaps, the biggest/greatest story in rugby league history.

Tonga have assembled a squad that certainly match it with Australia, New Zealand, and England, but will they be able to handle the pressure and the media attention that they have received as a result of the high-profile defections? Tonga have never made the quarter-finals at the Rugby League World Cup, but look like they have the quality of squad to make to at least the semi-finals

Australia have announced a strong squad as always, as they look to win the Rugby League World Cup for the 11th time, but the period since the last Rugby League World Cup has been a period of transition for the Kangaroos, with a number of high-profile retirements and injuries, as well as change of coach from Tim Sheens to Mal Meninga.

Only four players (Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith, and Boyd Cordner) who were in the Australian squad at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, a side which dominated the competition, are in the squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. In fact, Australia have not conceded a try in 404 minutes of World Cup rugby league, a proud record which they will look to continue during this tournament.

New Zealand have had a torrid build-up to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, with Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor banned by coach David Kidwell after spending a night out in Canberra, and being caught with cocaine. Then the high-profile defections of many of the Kiwi players to Tonga, the highest profile of them all being Jason Taumalolo, have sent Kidwell’s best-laid plans into disarray.

This combined with their poor form, losing seven of their last 10 matches, as well as drawing against Scotland (18-18) last year in the Four Nations, as well as their opponents in Group B being Samoa, Scotland, and Tonga, means that New Zealand won’t be having an easy run if they want to win their second Rugby League World Cup.

However, after saying all of that, it won’t surprise me if New Zealand go onto win it all!

England are the dark-horses out of the three Tier One nations in rugby league, and they have a strong squad on paper with seven players (Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess, James Graham, Chris Heighington, Josh Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead, and Gareth Widdop) plying their trade in the National Rugby League (NRL), while nine players (Luke Gale, Ryan Hall, Jonny Lomax, Mike McMeeken, Mark Percival, James Roby, Scott Taylor, Alex Walmsley, and Kallum Watkins) participated in the Super League playoffs/finals series, with Ryan Hall, and Kallum Watkins a part of the Leeds Rhinos championship-winning team in 2017.

You sense England really need to get off to a fast start in this Rugby League World Cup by defeating Australia in the opening match of the tournament if they want to give themselves the best chance to win their first Rugby League World Cup (fourth if you count the three that Great Britain have won).

Probably the only other team outside of Australia, England, New Zealand, and Tonga that could potentially challenge for the trophy is Samoa, and they are flying underneath the radar beautifully with a very good squad, but due to a few players missing due to injury, they are probably the underdogs of Group B, along with Scotland.

Fiji will also be competitive, as well as Papua New Guinea, but you sense the quarter-finals is as far as they can go this time.

In terms of predicting who will the groups, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and of course the final, this is how I think it will go.

 

GROUP STAGES

GROUP A

1. Australia

2. England

3. France

4. Lebanon

GROUP B

1. New Zealand

2. Tonga

3. Samoa

4. Scotland

GROUP C

1. Papua New Guinea

2. Ireland

3. Wales

GROUP D

1. Fiji

2. Italy

3. United States

 

QUARTER-FINAL MATCH-UPS

Australia vs. Samoa

Tonga vs. Fiji

New Zealand vs. France

England vs. Papua New Guinea

 

SEMI-FINAL MATCH-UPS

Australia vs. Tonga

New Zealand vs. England

 

WORLD CUP FINAL MATCH-UP

Australia vs. New Zealand

 

WORLD CHAMPIONS

Australia

 

A look at Moonee Valley (Saturday)

On Saturday, it will be a huge day of racing at Moonee Valley, where the headline act is Winx in the W.S. Cox Plate. She is attempting to become just the second horse after Kingston Town to win the race on three-successive occasions.

In addition to this, Winx will also look to equal Black Caviar’s Australian record of 15 Group One wins, as well as move to within one of Black Caviar’s record of 23 successive stakes wins.

However, there is plenty more racing action in addition to the Group One W.S. Cox Plate, with four Group Two races, and two Group Three races, including the Moonee Valley Gold Cup featuring the likes of Big Duke, Libran, Auvray, and Who Shot Thebarman.

So, here are my tips for all of the races at Moonee Valley (Races 1-10) on Saturday. (Please note that my tips will be updated in the lead up to the racing action pending changes to the fields)

Race 1: 12:10pm 1000m Inglis Banner. Set Weights. Two-Years-Old, No sex restriction. No class restriction. Apprentices cannot claim. Track: Main. Track type: Turf. Field limit: 15.

1st 6. Setsuna (8)

2nd 9. Miss Blumenthal (5)

3rd 7. Faroe (6)

4th 5. Jawwaal (4)

Race 2: 12:40pm 955m Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank Handicap. Handicap. No age restriction, No sex restriction. No class restriction. Apprentices cannot claim. Track: Main. Track type: Turf. Field limit: 15.

1st 4. Rock ‘n’ Gold (9)

2nd 7. Thelburg (3)

3rd 2. Badajoz (2)

4th 9. Danuki (4)

Race 3: 1:15pm 1200m Telstra Phonewords Stakes. Set Weights plus Penalties. Group 3. Three-Years-Old, No sex restriction. No class restriction. Apprentices cannot claim. Track: Main. Track type: Turf. Field limit: 14.

1st 8. Experimentation (10)

2nd 1. Single Bullet (7)

3rd 11. Surjin (1)

4th 6. Eclair Sunshine (3)

Race 4: 1:50pm 1200m Ladbrokes Crockett Stakes. Set Weights plus Penalties. Listed. Three-Years-Old, Fillies. No class restriction. Apprentices cannot claim. Track: Main. Track type: Turf. Field limit: 14.

1st 4. Gee Gee Lanett (8)

2nd 8. Demerara (6)

3rd 2. Jorda (9)

4th 7. Sanadaat (4)

Race 5: 2:25pm 1600m Powerflo Solutions Stakes. Handicap. Group 3. Four-Years-Old and Upwards, Mares. No class restriction. Apprentices cannot claim. Track: Main. Track type: Turf. Field limit: 15.

1st 5. Invincibella (1)

2nd 3. Lubiton (6)

3rd 6. Oregon’s Day (9)

4th 9. Think Like a Bird (4)

Race 6: 3:00pm 2500m McCafe Moonee Valley Gold Cup. Set Weights plus Penalties. Group 2. Four-Years-Old and Upwards, No sex restriction. No class restriction. Apprentices cannot claim. Track: Main. Track type: Turf. Field limit: 15.

1st 1. Big Duke (1)

2nd 3. Auvray (6)

3rd 2. Libran (7)

4th 5. Who Shot Thebarman (3)

Race 7: 3:35pm 1600m italktravel Fillies Classic. Set Weights. Group 2. Three-Years-Old, Fillies. No class restriction. Apprentices cannot claim. Track: Main. Track type: Turf. Field limit: 15.

1st 2. Banish (11)

2nd 3. Glam Guru (9)

3rd 5. Speedway (1)

4th 1. I’ll Have a Bit (5)

Race 8: 4:10pm 1600m Schweppes Crystal Mile. Standard Weight for Age. Group 2. No age restriction, No sex restriction. No class restriction. Apprentices cannot claim. Track: Main. Track type: Turf. Field limit: 15.

1st 4. Religify (3)

2nd 3. Burning Front (9)

3rd 8. Sound Proposition (4)

4th 7. Antonio Giuseppe (10)

Race 9: 5:00pm 2040m Ladbrokes Cox Plate. Standard Weight for Age. Group 1. Three-Years-Old and Upwards, No sex restriction. No class restriction. Apprentices cannot claim. Track: Main. Track type: Turf. Field limit: 14.

Preview and tips for the 2017 W.S. Cox Plate.

Race 10: 5:45pm 2040m Drummond Golf Vase. Set Weights. Group 2. Three-Years-Old, No sex restriction. No class restriction. Apprentices cannot claim. Track: Main. Track type: Turf. Field limit: 14.

1st 5. Vin de Dance (3)

2nd 1. Cliff’s Edge (10)

3rd 9. Aloisia (1)

4th 3. Salsamor (9)

2017 W.S. Cox Plate – Preview

At 5pm (AEDT) on Saturday afternoon, Winx will be chasing a piece of history, attempting to become just the second horse after Kingston Town to win the W.S. Cox Plate on three-successive occasions.

Winx will also look to equal Black Caviar’s Australian record of 15 Group One wins, as well as move to within one of Black Caviar’s record of 23 successive stakes wins.

So, is there anyone in this field who can topple the great mare? Here is my detailed preview of the 2017 W.S Cox Plate, where I discuss each of the horses, and determine in my view whether there is a horse who can defeat Winx on Saturday. (Please note I will update this post in the lead-up to the W.S. Cox Plate on Saturday).

1. Happy Clapper (9) 59kg

Trainer: P.J.Webster Jockey: D.Oliver

Age 7YO (Foaled 25/10/2010)
Colour/Sex Bay/Gelding
Sire/Dam Teofilo (IRE) /Busking

Record: 29–9–7–3

Record in Last Five races (last six months): 4-2-2-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights races: 10-0-3-2

Record in Group One races: 11-1-3-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One races: 7-0-1-1

Record in staying races (2000 metres or more): 5-0-1-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights staying races (2000 metres or more): 5-0-1-1

Record in Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 4-0-0-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 4-0-0-1

My judgement/view

Happy Clapper is in good form, placing in its four starts during this preparation, including two wins, but its record at Weight For Age, Group One, and staying races leaves a lot to be desired. Will look to settle midfield, but this field will prove too strong.

2. Gailo Chop (FR) (4) 59kg

Trainer: D.K.Weir Jockey: M.J.Zahra

Age 7YO (Foaled 10/04/2011)
Colour/Sex Chestnut/Gelding
Sire/Dam Deportivo (GB) /Grenoble (FR)

Record: 21–10–2–3

Record in Last Five races (last six months): 5-2-0-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights races: 7-3-0-1

Record in Group One races: 9-2-1-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One races: 5-2-0-1

Record in staying races (2000 metres or more): 11-7-0-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights staying races (2000 metres or more): 3-2-0-0

Record in Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 6-2-0-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 3-2-0-0

My judgement/view

Gailo Chop has placed in three of its last five starts, but while its Group One record isn’t flash, its record in Weight For Age staying races is very good. Will probably look to settle in midfield, and should be an outside place chance.

3. Humidor (NZ) (8) 59kg

Trainer: D.K.Weir Jockey: B.Shinn

Age 5YO (Foaled 14/09/2012)
Colour/Sex Bay/Gelding
Sire/Dam Teofilo (IRE) /Zalika (NZ)

Record: 20–6–6–2

Record in Last Five races (last six months): 5-1-0-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights races: 11-4-4-0

Record in Group One races: 9-2-2-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One races: 6-2-2-0

Record in staying races (2000 metres or more): 9-3-3-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights staying races (2000 metres or more): 5-2-2-0

Record in Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 6-1-2-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 4-1-2-0

My judgement/view

Humidor was very good last week in finishing fifth in the Caulfield Cup, and you sense this type of race suits it better than the Caulfield Cup. Will look to settle towards the back, and look to chase Winx home. Strong place chance.

4. Kaspersky (IRE) (2) 59kg SCRATCHED

 

5. Folkswood (GB) (5) 59kg

Trainer: C.Appleby Jockey: K.McEvoy

Age 5YO (Foaled 14/03/2013)
Colour/Sex Bay/Gelding
Sire/Dam Exceed And Excel /Magic Nymph (IRE)

Record: 13–4–4–3

Record in Last Five races (last six months): 3-1-0-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights races: 2-1-0-1

Record in Group One races: 1-0-1-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One races: 0-0-0-0

Record in staying races (2000 metres or more): 4-1-2-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights staying races (2000 metres or more): 0-0-0-0

Record in Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 0-0-0-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 0-0-0-0

My judgement/view

Folkswood is probably the most interesting horse in this race, having placed in two of its last three starts, including winning the Cranbourne Cup last time out, and has a strong staying record. Will look to settle just off the speed, and might just be the horse who could cause the upset should Winx not be on her game.

6. Seaburge (1) 57.5kg

Trainer: D. & B.Hayes & T.Dabernig Jockey: R.Bayliss

Age 4YO (Foaled 04/10/2013)
Colour/Sex Chestnut/Horse
Sire/Dam Sebring /Polska

Record: 16–2–3–0

Record in Last Five races (last six months): 3-0-0-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights races: 9-2-2-0

Record in Group One races: 9-0-2-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One races: 7-0-2-0

Record in staying races (2000 metres or more): 2-0-1-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights staying races (2000 metres or more): 2-0-1-0

Record in Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 2-0-1-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 2-0-1-0

My judgement/view

Seaburge has struggled in its last three starts, not placing in any of them, and while Seaburge is okay over the distance, I sense he will struggle. Will look to settle towards the back, and will likely remain towards the back by the end.

7. Hardham (3) 57.5kg

Trainer: D.R.Brideoake Jockey: L.Nolen

Age 4YO (Foaled 28/08/2013)
Colour/Sex Bay/Horse
Sire/Dam Redoute’s Choice /Nureyev’s Girl

Record: 13–3–1–2

Record in Last Five races (last six months): 4-1-1-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights races: 4-2-0-1

Record in Group One races: 3-0-0-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One races: 2-0-0-1

Record in staying races (2000 metres or more): 4-1-1-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights staying races (2000 metres or more): 2-1-0-1

Record in Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 2-0-0-1

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 1-0-0-1

My judgement/view

Hardham’s form has been a mixed bag, placing twice in its last four races, but is strong over staying distances, especially at Weight For Age. Will aim to settle in midfield, and will be an outside place chance.

8. Winx (6) 57kg

Trainer: C.J.Waller Jockey: H.Bowman

Age 6YO (Foaled 14/09/2011)
Colour/Sex Bay/Mare
Sire/Dam Street Cry (IRE) /Vegas Showgirl (NZ)

Record: 31–25–3–0

Record in Last Five races (last six months): 4-4-0-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights races: 25-19-3-0

Record in Group One races: 17-14-2-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One races: 14-11-2-0

Record in staying races (2000 metres or more): 8-6-1-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights staying races (2000 metres or more): 7-5-1-0

Record in Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 8-6-1-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 7-5-1-0

My judgement/view

Winx has won the last two W.S. Cox Plates, and has won 21 races in row. She is in great form, especially after her dominant win in the Turnbull Stakes. Winx will look to settle towards the back of the midfield, and is surely the one to beat! The field will struggle to get within five lengths of her!

9. Royal Symphony (7) 49.5kg

Trainer: A.J.McEvoy Jockey: D.Yendall

Age 3YO (Foaled 21/10/2014)
Colour/Sex Bay or Brown/Colt
Sire/Dam Domesday /Naturalist

Record: 6–4–0–0

Record in Last Five races (last six months): 5-3-0-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights races: 2-1-0-0

Record in Group One races: 1-0-0-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One races: 1-0-0-0

Record in staying races (2000 metres or more): 0-0-0-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights staying races (2000 metres or more): 0-0-0-0

Record in Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 0-0-0-0

Record in Weight For Age/Set Weights Group One staying races (2000 metres or more): 0-0-0-0

My judgement/view

Royal Symphony has won three of its last five races, and heads into this race unproven at this level. Will look to settle towards the back and then come home strong, but I am not convinced whether it can challenge for a place.

 

My tips for the 2017 W.S. Cox Plate

1st 8. Winx (6)

2nd 5. Folkswood (GB) (5)

3rd 3. Humidor (NZ) (8)

4th 7. Hardham (3)

2017 Mexican Grand Prix – Preview

The 18th round of the 2017 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, which is about eight kilometres south-east of the city centre of Mexico City, and after Mercedes took out the Constructors’ World Championship for the fourth year in a row, Lewis Hamilton will have his second opportunity to claim his fourth world championship of his career in Mexico.

Hamilton (331 points) leads the championship in his Mercedes by 66 points over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel (265 points) with just three rounds remaining after taking a superb victory at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, taking the lead of the race from Vettel on Lap Six after the German won the battle of the start, before Hamilton went onto dominate the rest of the race to take a marvellous victory.

Hamilton is currently showing to the world that he is in career-best form, and while Ferrari have shown improved form in 2017 to challenge Mercedes throughout large parts of the year, Hamilton and Mercedes have really lifted their games, while Ferrari have crumbled under their own pressure, with reliability issues at Malaysia and Japan, as well as the costly chaos at the start of the Singapore Grand Prix really hurting Vettel’s chances of winning a fifth world championship.

Valtteri Bottas (244 points) is third in the championship, but out of mathematical championship contention, finishing the United States Grand Prix in fifth position after struggling for speed once again in comparison to his teammate Hamilton.

However, Bottas is still comfortably ahead of Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo (192 points), who sadly had to retire from the United States Grand Prix due to an engine issue. Ricciardo is still comfortably ahead of Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen (163 points), and his fellow Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen (123 points) as we head into the final three races of the season.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (575 points) have clinched their fourth-successive title, and have an unassailable 147 point lead over Ferrari (428 points). Red Bull (315 points) are third in the championship, with Force India (159 points) unable to catch them in fourth, while Williams (68 points) have pulled away from Toro Rosso (53 points) in the battle for fifth in the championship, with Toro Rosso know battling Renault (48 points) and Haas (43 points) for sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, while McLaren (23 points) and Sauber (five points) bring up the rear of the field.

So, for Hamilton to clinch his fourth world championship at the Mexican Grand Prix, one of these scenarios must happen:

  1. If Vettel wins the race, Hamilton must finish fifth or higher.
  2. If Vettel finishes in second, Hamilton must finish ninth or higher.
  3. If Vettel finishes third or lower, Hamilton is the world champion!

So, who will win the Mexican Grand Prix?

The cars will run with maximum downforce to deal with the lack of air density, which will mean that the cars will still be very fast on the straights, faster than even at Monza, despite the huge amount of downforce on the cars, so it will be important to find a good, strong balance with the cars to be competitive.

If this race was held earlier in the season, I would have tipped Ferrari, and Sebastian Vettel to win the Mexican Grand Prix due to the characteristics of the circuit, and because Ferrari had the stronger car at that point of the season.

However, while Ferrari are still strong, Mercedes have seemingly sorted out their strange issues that they have experienced with their cars at times during 2017, and Lewis Hamilton is in seemingly unbeatable form right as we speak, but we shouldn’t count out Red Bull challenging for the win in Mexico as they are getting better and better as the season has gone on.

My tip for the Mexican Grand Prix is for a Hamilton victory to seal a fourth world championship crown.

 

The first two practice sessions (90 minutes each) are on Friday at 10am and 2pm local time (Saturday 2am and 6am AEDT).

The final practice session (60 minutes) and qualifying is on Saturday at 10am and 1pm local time (Sunday 2am and 5am AEDT).

The 56 lap race is on Sunday from 1pm local time (Monday 5am AEDT).