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Mexico: Where will the surprises come from?

Max Verstappen is a clear favourite to win again in Mexico, but what could happen that would be worth a flutter?

Mexico trackside advertising branding beyond a kerb.

Mexico trackside advertising branding beyond a kerb.

Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Verstappen is pretty much unstoppable this year and if the race follows the signs, he has another win all wrapped up in Mexico already. The circuit is a perfect match for Red Bull’s car and engine and the Dutch driver has won four of the last five races there.

However, it is not all about Verstappen. There are 19 other drivers on the grid all racing hard to make their mark – whether that is a best finish of the year, a first podium, or just a few points to change their overall season-ending championship position.

In F1, there are plenty of different battles to explore during a Grand Prix weekend, from the top three drivers in first practice to the overall finishing positions in the race itself, as well as incidents, safety cars and red flags.

With bet365, bet boosts offer the chance to get better odds for popular scenarios – and in Mexico, Lewis Hamilton to win is at 11/1 (up from 10/1) while Lando Norris to finish in the top two is 6/1 (instead of 11/2).

George Russell has not had a podium finish since June and he could really do with one to stay in the battle with Norris and Charles Leclerc for championship positions (which they may say mean nothing, but really they do!). He is at 5/2 on bet boost, 9/4 otherwise.

Fernando Alonso is another driver who needs to score. His form at the start of the season, when he looked like challenging for the title with Aston Martin, has faded and he is now in danger of slipping below fourth. A top six would be a good result and is 9/4 bet boost or 2/1.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23 Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23 and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23 Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23 and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

KEEPING TRACK

To keep track of the action, wherever you are, the F1 Live Tracker from bet365 is a good place to go – covering all the information you could possibly need, from all the practice sessions, through qualifying, sprints and the race itself.

It allows users to track each driver’s position from the starting grid to the finish, live throughout the race, with current leaderboard information, the latest fastest lap, current lap times, number of pitstops by driver, current tyre settings and driver gaps.

To make it simple to catch-up, a timeline details all the important race updates – including all the key overtakes and incidents – and it also allows two drivers to be compared head-to-head within the race, highlighting them on the tracker.

On top of that, all the safety car updates, red flags and yellow flags are covered, while track information such as temperatures, humidity and chance of rain makes it possible to keep tabs on potential changes and challenges and more easily predict what could happen.

CHAMPIONSHIP CHALLENGES

This year, everyone knew within the first handful of races that Verstappen would win the title again. Now that he has, eyes have turned to focus on the runners-up prize – and with four races left, there is still the slim chance of an upset.

Red Bull’s scintillating form should mean that Sergio Perez is a surefire for second behind his team-mate but he has not yet sealed the deal. Third-placed Hamilton is 39 points behind and closing, but despite Perez’ poor form, he should creep over the line, with odds of 1/3.

More interesting is whether Perez can add another win to his tally of two this season. He is at 8/1 for three or more, with his home track the biggest chance. Aside from the Red Bull pair, Carlos Sainz is the only other race winner and he is 33/1 to double his current tally.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

RECORD BREAKER

It is now three races – including Sprints – since Verstappen won the title and the Dutch driver has made his mark as one of F1’s most dominant champions, winning a record 10 races in a row and a record 16 in the season so far.

He also broke the record for the longest streak of converting pole positions into wins – a record previously held by the great Michael Schumacher – and arguably three of his best victories of the season were in Bahrain, Spain and Japan.

It was two more wins for Verstappen in Austin – Sprint and main race – but it was not so good for his closest rival Hamilton, who was disqualified from a fine second place due to a technical infringement. That could prove crucial in his chase for the runners-up spot.

That also helped his team-mate George Russell gain a couple of points in his effort to match his best of fourth in last year's F1 season – although with Norris promoted to second on Hamilton’s demise, the McLaren driver is also chasing down Alonso and Sainz.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

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