Lewis Hamiton is aiming to clinch his fourth Formula 1 world title in style on Sunday by winning the Mexican Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Hamilton entered the weekend leading Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by 66 points at the top of the drivers’ standings, needing a lead of just 50 after the race to be confirmed as 2017 world champion.
A top-five finish will be enough to deliver Hamilton the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg last year, with the Briton set to line up third in the grid after finishing behind Vettel and Max Verstappen in qualifying on Saturday – and he wants to seal the title in style.
“Pole position was the goal today, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was a difficult session and I think it was a difficult weekend overall,” Hamilton said.
“It is very slippery here, and some of the issues we have with the car are a little bit highlighted by that. I gave it everything I had, but the gap to the front was too big.
“Our long run pace is definitely better than our qualifying pace, so I’m not worried about that. But you need a big delta to overtake here, so track position is important.
“It is a long way down to Turn 1, so we should have some fun tomorrow. I’m hoping I’m able to move forward at the start. Afterwards it should be a one-stop strategy.
“The crowd looks incredible, there’s a lot of energy. It’s such a spectacle from above, I saw the camera from the helicopter. So winning here on Mexican soil would be pretty neat.”
The Mexican Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2:30pm ET today.
Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.
During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.
That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.
This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.
Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.
Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.
“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”
Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.