Riding the Mexican wave

Just a couple of days after Max’s magnificent march to second place at Austin and Daniel’s heartbreaking COTA race retirement, we’re back in action again, this time south of the US border in marvellous Mexico City.

Since its calendar return in 2015, the Mexican Grand Prix has swiftly become one of the season’s standout races – largely due to the incredible passion of the Mexican fans that make it one of the noisiest, most raucously exciting races of the whole season.

High speeds in the opening sector of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez give way to rapid changes of direction through the Esses in Sector 2, and the final sector sees drivers winding through the immense Foro Sol stadium section where the high-sided grandstands are packed to the rafters with F1-crazy Mexican intent on partying like its 1999. Off track it’s equally full on in a city that buzzes with energy from dawn ‘til… well, the following dawn really. And Max and Daniel concur…

Daniel Ricciardo

We’re moving from one of your undoubted favourite venues, Austin, to one that is fast becoming an F1 favourite – Mexico. Is it one you’re learning to love?

Ah, México, muy bueno! The only negative with Mexico is the traffic; everything else about it is awesome. The area where we stay is great, the hotel is beautiful and the atmosphere in the paddock is full of life. There’s just a really good spirit, lots of face paint, lots of Dia de los Muertos stuff going on and I love that they have Mariachi bands everywhere. If you like tequila and tacos – I mean, do you boys like Mexico? Woohoo!

And what about the circuit? Is it one that lights your fire?

The circuit is okay and at least it provides overtaking opportunities, which means the races are never boring. I love the stadium section, that’s unique and the crowd there is insane. The podium looks awesome, so hopefully I can taste a bit of that this year.

Max Verstappen

Good memories for you from Mexico City for you with a brilliant win last year, leading every lap of the race. You must be relishing the prospect of another outing at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez?

I’m looking forward to getting back to Mexico, as the circuit tends to suit our car better than others. And yeah, last year I came away with a win, which felt amazing. I put in a good move at the start and therefore managed to keep out front for the remainder of the race.

It’s definitely one of the great F1 podiums too, a proper cauldron of noise in the Foro Sol. That must have been a great experience?

The atmosphere inside the stadium section is always good when you are out on track, but last year being on the podium it was next level. It turns into a party atmosphere pretty much as soon as the race is finished and I’m hoping to be back up there this year.

What about the city? Have you had a chance to get out and about over our first few visits?

As it is such a busy weekend on the calendar I haven’t had the chance to see much of Mexico City in the past but this year I can hopefully get out, see some sights and taste some local dishes.