Will Verstappen repay Perez by giving up Mexico City GP win?

With the battle for P2 in the F1 drivers’ championship hotting up between Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez, would Max Verstappen be prepared to help his teammate?
(L to R): Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing and team mate Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World
(L to R): Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing and team mate Sergio Perez …

Will Verstappen help Perez at his home race?

Sergio Perez is locked in an intense fight for second-place in the drivers’ championship, trailing Charles Leclerc by just two points with three rounds remaining.

While Red Bull have already secured the drivers’ and constructors’ crowns, they will still be wanting Perez to finish second behind Max Verstappen - something they never managed in the days of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

(L to R): Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing; Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal; and Sergio Perez
(L to R): Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing; Christian Horner (GBR) Red…

The F1 Mexico City Grand Prix is Perez’s home race, and a first-ever victory in front of his adoring fans would be something special to see.

During his Red Bull career, Perez has helped Verstappen on multiple occasions, most notably at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he backed Lewis Hamilton up considerably during the race.

Would Verstappen be willing to return the favour and help Perez win in Mexico?

Verstappen has already wrapped up the drivers’ title, but he's searching for his 14th victory of the year.

A 14th win would move him clear in the record books for the most number of wins in a season, but Verstappen will have opportunities to do it in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen has dominated the Mexico City GP in recent seasons, winning on three occasions.

It's likely that the Dutchman will be the man to beat, but if Perez is running in second, would he give up the win?

Given how competitive and hungry Verstappen is to win, it’s highly unlikely, but it's an interesting talking point nonetheless.

Can Mercedes end their win drought?

Mercedes are on for their first winless season since 2011.

The United States GP was another near miss for Hamilton and Mercedes, losing out on the victory in the closing five laps.

Hamilton took the lead after an aggressive undercut, combined with a slow pit stop for Verstappen.

Mercedes’ lack of outright pace, alongside their lack of straight-line speed, meant Hamilton was unable to fend off his former title rival to claim his first victory since Saudi Arabia last year.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates his second position on the podium. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates his second position on the…

Looking ahead to Mexico, while traditionally the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez hasn’t suited Mercedes, this year might be different.

Due to the high altitude, teams are forced to run maximum downforce, and at any circuits that Mercedes have performed well on (Zandvoort, Hungaroring), high downforce is required.

Their lack of straight-line speed should be less of a factor in Mexico City.

Over the years, Red Bull were often in Mercedes’ position - lacking straight-line speed and engine power - but always performed well in Mexico.

While the Renault and Honda power units were renowned for performing better than Mercedes and Ferrari at altitude, the German manufacturer should be hopeful of another competitive showing this weekend.

More rookies get their chance

Like in Austin, more rookies will get their chance to prove themselves in 2022 F1 machinery.

For Alpine, Jack Doohan will make his F1 debut in first practice at the Mexico City and Abu Dhabi grands prix.

Doohan will replace Esteban Ocon in FP1 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, driving Alpine’s 2022 challenger for just the second time having tested for the team on demonstration tyres at Monza last month.

(L to R): Laurent Rossi (FRA) Alpine Chief Executive Officer with Otmar Szafnauer (USA) Alpine F1 Team, Team Principal and
(L to R): Laurent Rossi (FRA) Alpine Chief Executive Officer with Otmar…

It’s likely Oscar Piastri would have been in the car for these FP1 sessions had it not been for his shock switch to McLaren for F1 2023.

At AlphaTauri, Liam Lawson will replace Yuki Tsunoda for the first hour of running.

Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi will drive for Haas in first practice, while 2023 Williams driver Logan Sargeant will get another chance to drive for the team in Mexico.

F1 cost cap to be settled?

Following the death of Dietrich Mateschitz, the FIA decided to delay discussions with Red Bull regarding their minor breach of the cost cap for the 2021 season.

Ahead of Sunday's United States Grand Prix, a Red Bull spokesperson said: "Following the passing of Mr Mateschitz, all conversations with the FIA around Cost Cap and next steps are on hold until further notice.

"The deadline for agreement has been extended and we expect talks to pick back up in the middle of the week."

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal on the grid. Formula…

Red Bull’s overspending in 2021 has dominated the media headlines in recent weeks, with a resolution still yet to be found.

A number of team bosses, including Toto Wolff and Zak Brown, have called for strict punishments to deter teams from breaching the cost cap in future seasons.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner went on the defensive on Saturday in Austin, blasting rival teams for waging a “concerted campaign for a draconian penalty” for their ‘minor’ overspend. 

Even if a settlement isn’t reached, it’s likely to remain a major talking point in Mexico.

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