Formula 1 world championship leader Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes has “no hope” of outpacing Ferrari on Mexico’s straights as he predicts a challenging weekend for the team.
Hamilton will have his first chance to seal the 2019 crown and his sixth F1 championship at the Mexican circuit, where he wrapped up his previous two titles.
The five-time world champion leads team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 64 points with four races remaining, but Ferrari’s straight-line speed advantage has Hamilton concerned it will be unbeatable.
“I think for me it’s never been a case of always wanting to rush things,” Hamilton said on potentially clinching the title in Mexico, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“Valtteri’s driven well all year long, he’s done a great job today and he will most likely do a very very solid job these next races, so we still have a battle, the fight continues.
“I think Mexico is generally our worst race of the year because of the way our car is set up and it’s going to be a tough one for us. The last few have been pretty shocking, even though we’ve won the title there.
“I’m hoping for a better weekend but I think it’s going to be very hard to beat the Ferraris with those long straights.
“We have no hope of getting by on those straights, that’s for sure. But even if you look at the others, the McLarens are picking up some serious speeds on the straights, so are the Red Bulls so I think it will be a tricky one.
“I don’t anticipate it will be Mexico. I think we will be battling for a good few races.”
For Hamilton to win the drivers’ championship on Sunday he must leave Mexico with a gap of at least 78 points, which relies on him finishing on the podium at a minimum.