Hamilton, Mercedes play down chances at 'our worst race of the year' in Mexico

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Despite two victories in Sochi and Suzuka, Mercedes are setting a low bar at "our worst race of the year" in Mexico.

The Brackley-based squad may have won the first two races at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after Formula 1 returned in 2015, but the following two have seen Max Verstappen dominate in Mexico City.

Indeed, since his victory in 2016, Lewis Hamilton has finished no higher than fourth and believes Mercedes' rivals could be untouchable once again.

"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," he admitted.

"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 Red Bull so I think it will be a tricky one.”

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A change to a high downforce philosophy with their 2019 car could help overcome recent issues in Mexico, but it is the unique challenge for the power unit which worries Mercedes most.

“There is no sense of entitlement in this team for future success, so we were quickly back to our usual race preparation routine after Japan,” team boss Toto Wolff said, reflecting on the reaction after clinching a sixth Constructors' title.

“We know that the four remaining races are not going to be easy and we expect Mexico to be the most difficult one for us.

“The high altitude of the track brings some fairly unusual challenges as the low air density affects the downforce of the car, the cooling and the engine performance.

“It's a combination that doesn't particularly suit our car, but we will give it everything to try and limit the damage.”

As Hamilton noted, despite poor results, he has still won the title in Mexico the past two years and could do so again this weekend if he outscores teammate Valtteri Bottas by 14 points.

But the Briton doesn't see that as a strong possibility.

"I think for me it's never been a case of always wanting to rush things," he commented. 

"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 don't anticipate it will be Mexico. I think we will be battling for a good few races."

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