If the statistics regarding the Mexican Grand Prix are anything to go by, then Mercedes might be on-track to claim their first victory of the season; the question is, though, will it be George Russell, or Lewis Hamilton?
Mercedes have looked strong all weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit, and came within a whisker of pole position, had it not been for a staggering lap-time by the newly crowned double World Champion.
Max Verstappen claimed pole at the circuit nobody usually wants it at, given the fact that the person who has started on pole in the last four years has gone on to not even claim a podium.
It would come as no surprise if the Dutchman is the person to end the apparent pole position curse, given that he has claimed three victories at the Mexico City venue.
Verstappen has looked somewhat uncomfortable during the weekend so far, though, with his RB18 appearing to be quite the handful.
Mercedes have looked all weekend to have the strongest car, something which hasn’t been said since 2021.
With George Russell starting second and Lewis Hamilton third, early predictions could see either of the Silver Arrows drivers tipped as the race’s favourite.
Hamilton, especially, is in a prime position for Sunday, given that he will receive a slipstream from his 2021 rival down to Turn One.
Russell will do well to maintain his spot by the time they reach the first corner, especially as Sergio Pérez will receive a tow from him.
Should the Mercedes duo remain in the top three by the end of the first lap, then it will instantly become their advantage.
The undercut is likely to be incredibly powerful on Sunday, something Mercedes would be able to attempt with one of their drivers should they have both in the top three.
It could see a strategic nightmare pan-out for Red Bull, who will be keen to get Pérez into the mix early on.
The Germans will be dreaming of a two versus one situation against either Verstappen or Pérez, as it’ll make the prospect of winning a race seem even more doable.
Mercedes’ issue all year has been qualifying, not race pace, meaning that as they’ve got both cars in the top three already, a strong start could see the W13’s potential fully exploited by the Brackley-based team.
Sunday might be Mercedes’ last chance to get back on top, but will the team let Russell and Hamilton battle it out for the honours?