MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Mexican GP

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After 23 years away, the Mexican Grand Prix makes its much-anticipated return this weekend as Formula 1 ventures to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

With a fanbase hungry for F1 and two drivers – Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez – making names for themselves in the sport, Mexico’s return to the calendar has been widely welcomed, and will look to return the favor to the paddock this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton arrives in Mexico City a three-time world champion, and for the first time in his career has the luxury of having the championship already won and in his back pocket with three races to spare.

As such, it will be interesting to see how the Briton fares this weekend and for the remainder of the season, particularly with Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg still hungry to add to their win tallies this year (three apiece) and finish as runner-up to Hamilton.

Heading into this weekend’s race, MST lead writers Luke Smith and Tony DiZinno have made their predictions for what promises to be a memorable event in Mexico.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race WinnerLewis Hamilton. In the form of his life and with the peace of mind that the championship is already won, I’m tipping Lewis to be at his brilliant best this weekend. An 11th win of the season would rubber-stamp his authority on an already-dominant campaign.

Surprising FinishSergio Perez. When Perez enters the Forosol stadium section for the first time with 30,000 Mexican fans chanting his name, it will be clear why F1 is back in Mexico. Checo is in great form with the B-spec Force India, and I’ll back him to flourish on home soil this weekend.

Most to ProveNico Rosberg. After bottling the race win in Austin, Rosberg needs to come back strong in Mexico. Finishing behind Vettel in the championship despite having one of the most dominant F1 cars in history underneath him would be a massive blow.

Additional Storyline to WatchMexico returns. Revived races can be risky, but this one appears to be a sure-fire winner. With a huge fanbase, two drivers and a heavy sponsor presence in F1, Mexico needs a grand prix. This weekend should only underscore that.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton. Duh, right? Newly crowned three-time World Champion will roll into the newest (old) track on the calendar and continue his hot streak. With the title out of the way, 10 wins this year and three more races remaining, he has a chance to equal the Schumacher/Vettel 13 wins in a season record.

Surprise finish: Sergio Perez. Again… duh, right? The Force India-Mercedes has been one of the star chassis the second half of the season, Perez one of the star drivers. Provided he isn’t completely overwhelmed with promotional and media responsibilities ahead of his home Grand Prix, Perez rolls on his hot streak with another top-five finish. A podium may cause the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to spontaneously combust.

Most to prove: Carlos Sainz Jr. Desperately unlucky in recent races, but fell victim to an accusation by the usually ebullient Daniel Ricciardo – who we hope has survived his attack on Texas red meat Sunday night – that his race craft was lacking. More to the point, he’s been outclassed and out-pointed big time by Max Verstappen of late. He needs a trouble-free weekend, as does the Toro Rosso crew, who have worked tirelessly to ensure the young Spaniard has a working chassis.

Additional storyline: Rain vs. crowds. If it’s “deja vu all over again” with heavy rain coming to Mexico City, is it going to affect the fervent passion of the locals who have been waiting for 23 years to get a race back on the schedule? You’d think not. The old Champ Car races in Mexico City were traditionally packed, regardless of weather, so the F1 crowd should be monstrous this weekend.

Pick the podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Sergio Perez Force India

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change