The Formula 1 fiesta began at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Thursday as media duties got underway ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix. Recap all of the latest news and updates in Crash.net F1 Digital Editor Luke Smith’s paddock notebook.

- Lewis Hamilton refused to get ahead of himself despite the odds being overwhelmingly in his favour to wrap up a fifth Formula 1 world title in Mexico this weekend. Hamilton said he felt he was “riding a positive wave” at the moment, knowing a top-seven finish on Sunday will be enough to clinch the championship.

- Hamilton explained that he had a “massive” crossweight issue in Austin last week that contributed to his tyre issues that ultimately cost him a shot at victory, meaning the front-right and left-rear of the car took all of the weight of the car.

Driver Ratings - United States GP

- A lot of Thursday’s media duties included questions about Sebastian Vettel’s ailing championship bid following the latest error in Austin last weekend, spinning when battling wit Daniel Ricciardo. Vettel himself said he was happy to shoulder the blame for the mistakes he has made this year, putting some of the spins down to a “weird” loss of downforce.

- Many of Vettel’s on-track rivals defended the Ferrari driver, with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly even going as far as saying Vettel was “over performing” in the early part of the season. Fernando Alonso did not put Vettel’s errors down to the pressures of the title fight, saying it is “more a coincidence.”

- Alonso himself vented his frustration over recurring questions about his motive for no longer racing in F1. “It has been a perfect journey, not a sad journey or a sad end. I know that it doesn’t matter what I say, because it’s what the general opinion wants to think or wants to sell,” Alonso said.

- Alonso will be honoured with 30,000 face masks that will be given to fans attending this weekend’s race in Mexico upon his final F1 appearance at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

- Max Verstappen said he feels Mexico represents Red Bull’s best chance to win again this season thanks to the high downforce nature of the race weekend, caused by the high altitude. However, Verstappen doubts he will be able to compete with the Mercedes and Ferraris in qualifying. The Dutchman won in Mexico last year, but has taken just a single victory this season (Austria).

- Romain Grosjean conceded he is concerned about a possible F1 race ban due to his penalty points situation, sitting on 10 penalty points for the last 12 months. Grosjean drops one point after Mexico and two more after Brazil, but a two-point penalty in Mexico will result in a one-race ban. Haas is not yet considering options on who would step in for Grosjean, who conceded he needs to “try to be as good as I can.”

- Grosjean also revealed his one-race ban back in 2012 for causing the start-line pile-up at Spa cost him 25 percent of his salary that year.

- Haas announced on Thursday it had agreed a new title sponsor agreement with Rich Energy, starting in 2019. Rich Energy owner William Storey claimed to have submitted an offer to purchase Force India earlier this year, and was seen on the grid in Austin with Claire Williams. Haas team boss Gunther Steiner confirmed the deal had been finalised in Austin following a quick set of discussions. The team will be known as ‘Rich Energy Haas F1 Team’ from 2019.

- Steiner also confirmed the team had rolled the rice with Kevin Magnussen’s fuel management over the United States Grand Prix last Sunday, resulting in the Dane’s exclusion from the race for exceeding the limit. Haas tried to get Magnussen to keep attacking in order to get the jump on Sergio Perez during the race.

- Another man disqualified in Austin was Esteban Ocon, who remained frustrated about the situation after his car was found to have exceeded the maximum fuel flow on the opening lap of the race. “The thing that bothers me the most is that you push the whole way through, you push hard, you give it everything, and actually you could have just pitted lap two and it’s done,” Ocon said.

- Ocon remained coy when asked about an update on his F1 future, saying: “It doesn’t depend on me, it depends about other people – I cannot do anything. If I could, I would have tried to be confirmed a long time [ago].”

- Brendon Hartley will get to sample the updated Toro Rosso floor and front wing for the first time in Mexico on Friday. The new parts - of which there is only one set - were added to Pierre Gasly’s car for practice in Austin, only for the Frenchman to ditch them for qualifying and the race. Hartley said he assumed that if he wanted to keep the parts of the race, they would remain on his car.

- Hartley said he had not spoken with any officials at Toro Rosso or Red Bull about his future since Austin despite ongoing speculation for 2019. Formula 2 front-runner Alexander Albon is understood to be in contention for the seat, having pulled out of his planned Formula E test with Nissan in Valencia last week.

- FIA F1 technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed the seal on Daniel Ricciardo’s gearbox was broken in order to allow for an inspection for any possible damage following his retirement in Austin. As this was done in accordance with the F1 sporting regulations, it did not trigger any penalty.

- FIA steward Mika Salo was not present in Mexico on Thursday, leading to him being replaced by Michael Masi for one day only. Salo will take up the reins as one of the race-appointed stewards for the remainder of the race weekend.

- The entry list for this weekend's race confirmed that Nicholas Latifi (Force India), Antonio Giovinazzi (Sauber) and Lando Norris (McLaren) will all take part in practice for the Mexican Grand Prix.

- The paddock at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has a number of new additions for this year’s race, including a barbershop, a taco stand, and even a churro and ice cream stall. A number of special artwork statues have also been created for each driver, which stand outside all of the teams’ motorhomes.