- If people are wondering why a F1 driver like Lewis Hamilton is raising attention to the world’s environmental issues, the answer was given this Thursday in Mexico City. The theme dominated the press conference, in which the Brit spoke about his very ambitious goal of offsetting his carbon imprint until the end of the year, having come under fire for his messages on social media last week.

- Hamilton even got some support from the other drivers in the conference, mainly Sebastian Vettel – a driver who is not on social media – and the Ferrari driver has shown his concerns lately in the paddock. The TV and radio reporters who interview him on the pen know that way too well, and now try to hide the plastic bottles or at least put them in the bin before he comes. Seb does get very annoyed about the bottles!

- But these concerns didn’t get anywhere near Max Verstappen. When asked about Lewis’ posts, he said: “Can I really say my opinion?” and made it clear he is not a big fan of “anything electric” - other than his simulator, one could assume…

- As the end of the season approaches, there is a rule in the F1 paddock: the number of people getting sick goes sky high. The latest victim was Gunther Steinter, who said he left Japan with a very bad cold that keeps coming back. And this Thursday wasn’t a good day…

- In better news for Haas, it looks increasingly likely that Robert Kubica will be linking up with the team next year in a development role. Steiner confirmed the team is in talks with the outgoing Williams driver about a position, who in turn stressed he wants a racing programme in place for next year alongside any simulator duties.

- Even though not everybody was 100% fit, there was the excitement in the air that always comes with the Mexican GP. “It’s the back-to-back everybody likes the most”, said Daniel Ricciardo. “We start with tacos and finish with brisket”. In fact, if Daniel wanted, he could start with the tacos straight away as, for the second year running, the organisers brought some traditional food (tacos, churros and paletas, the Mexican ice cream) to the paddock, alongside with the mechanics’ favourite: the barber shop.

- But not everyone is that excited with the Mexican food. For the first time in the country, Alex Albon thought his Thai credentials would be enough for him to face the Mexican salsa. But he had to recognise on Thursday his mouth was still hurting. “It was a bit too much”, said the Red Bull driver, looking calm as ever even with the deadline given by Helmut Marko to decide who is going to be beside Verstappen next year getting closer and closer.

- Speaking of Red Bull, Max pointed out it might be hard to repeat his 2017 and 2018 wins this weekend, as “the car difference compared to the Mercedes and the Ferrari is not as big” and even made a very rare compliment to the Renault engine: “It’s fair to say it somehow used to work better here.”

- On Renault’s side, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg’s sessions were a lot busier than usual, but the team’s marketing team asked the journalists not to touch on the Japanese Grand Prix penalty subject. We did it slightly, though, and the drivers seemed to be OK about it. More questions will be asked when it is Cyril Abiteboul’s turn to face the press.

- Formula 1 announced on Thursday morning that the Porsche Supercup would be continuing as one of its support series through to the end of 2022. The spec-series’ season finale takes place in Mexico this weekend with a double-header round.

- McLaren confirmed it had extended its racewear partnership with Sparco until 2023, the two parties having first linked up back in 1996. ““It is great when such a long-standing partner continues to support our team,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. “Sparco enables us to keep up to date with changes in Formula 1 by continuing to develop new and innovative racewear products. I look forward to continuing to work together.”

- A third DRS zone has been added for this year’s race in Mexico. As well as the existing zones on the main straight and from Turn 3 to Turn 4, DRS will also be available on the straight between Turn 11 and Turn 12, with the detection point being between Turn 9 and Turn 10.

- Race director Michael Masi confirmed in his pre-event notes that track limits are being monitored at Turns 1-2-3, Turn 8 and at Turn 11, with the exit of Turn 11 being subject to an electronic monitoring system where drivers must stay in contact with the red and white kerb.

- On-track running begins at 10am local time in Mexico on Friday with Free Practice 1 (4pm BST).

Additional reporting by Luke Smith.

 

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