Hold your breath... Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is high! In fact, it is the highest circuit on the F1 calendar at over 2km above sea level. Why does this matter? Well, the thinner air at altitude means there is less downforce, less drag and less air for the engines to breathe which offers a very unique challenge for F1 teams. The circuit has not changed that much since 1959, with the biggest change being at the end of the lap. Now you drive through the middle of the old Foro Sol baseball stadium, a very special experience.
Sector 2, in contrast to Sector 1, is virtually all corners. For this reason, it is important to stay focused as one mistake early in the sector can really carry through to the rest. Pay particular attention to the high-speed Esses which can be taken flat out with the right setup. A good racing line and flow are critical if you want to achieve this.
Turn 4 (Ese del Lago)
Approaching Turn 4, drift over to the right side of the track and pick up the 100m board in your peripheral vision. Initially, hit the brakes firmly as you pass it, trying to keep the car just off the kerb to improve braking grip.
Take the flat apex kerb in 2nd gear but avoid the sausage to maintain stability. Hug the left side after the apex to open up T5.
Turn 5 (Ese del Lago)
Turn 5 is usually a lot tighter than you initially think. For this reason, make the most of the track on both the entry and the exit to take a wide line.
A quick pulse of throttle followed by a dab on the brakes during the transition out of T4 can help to rotate the car. You could use the gears to a similar effect but it is generally best to keep it in 2nd.
Slightly avoid the sausage kerb at the apex and then short-shift up to 3rd gear on the way out. Open up the steering as soon as possible for the best acceleration out.
On the short burst between Turns 5 and 6, use all of the track and short-shift up to 4th gear in a straight line to avoid wheelspin. Straddle this kerb all the way to T6 for the widest entry point. Use the lighting pole on the left as a braking reference.
Turn 6 (Horquilla): 1st apex
Turn 6 can be considered a double apex. Approaching the first apex, take a wide line in and gently trailbrake as you turn. For the best exit, you should miss this kerb completely so that you reach the second kerb on the optimal line.
Downshift to 3rd gear just before passing the first kerb and then to 2nd gear just after. Whilst doing this, try to make sure that your steering is in one smooth movement for both of the kerbs, rather than tackling them individually.
Turn 6 (Horquilla): 2nd apex
For the second apex of Turn 6 you should be making the kerb, but only slightly to avoid wheelspin under traction. Your line into Turn 6 should be very wide so that you make a late apex for the best exit.
Use 2nd gear and begin to build the throttle as soon as you pass the kerb. Then, short-shift to 3rd gear on the way out to keep the rears in check and then make your way out to gently touch the exit kerb by opening up the steering.
Head back to the right for the next one...
Turn 7 (Esses): Entry
Turn 7 marks the start of a high-speed thriller where the corners just keep coming. On the entry, make your way over to the right-hand side so that your left tyre is on the right line. This effectively makes the corner less tight, allowing you to carry more speed.
The reference here is the lightbox overhead. As soon as you go underneath it, dab the brakes, downshift once to 5th gear and turn in towards the apex.
Turn 7 (Esses): Apex
From now on we must consider the rest of the sector as one interconnected complex. Any mistake in the speed or line will carry throughout all of the remaining corners. This will be important in order to try to maintain full throttle from the exit of Turn 7 onwards.
At the apex of Turn 7, aim for the centre of the apex kerb so that you don't risk picking up any grass which could cause you to lose the rear end.
As soon as you pass the kerb in 5th gear, get straight back on the power since the downforce will be helping you out. Shift up to 6th gear before you reach T8.
Allow the car to drift out towards T8 to carry the most speed but be careful not to do this too early or it could make T8 impossible to take flat out.
Turn 8 (Esses)
This complex of corners is the Esses and should be taken flat out from now on if the right setup is used. If this is not possible then a small lift will help to turn the car as there is no point trying to take one flat out only to put yourself in the wrong position going into the next corner.
Turn 8, 9, 10 & 11 can all be taken with a similar approach. Aim to carry as much speed as possible whilst minimising the steering lock you are required to use. You should try to be as smooth as possible but need to be fairly quick in order to keep up with the rate at which the corners come at you.
For all four of these corners use absolutely all of the inside kerb available.
For Turn 8 specifically, shift up to 6th gear before the corner and hold it throughout.
Turn 9 (Esses)
On the way out of Turn 9 keep a little bit more to the left if possible as it will make it easier to get through T10 & T11. Shift up to 7th gear before you reach T10.
Turn 10 (Esses)
Make sure you take a nice wide line into Turn 10 and shift up to 7th gear before you start to turn in to avoid a mid-corner snap.
Turn 11 (Esses)
The final corner in the complex (Turn 11) should absolutely be flat out. It is another 7th gear corner so just be smooth and run the car out to the right side to touch the line on the exit. There should be no need to run fully over the exit kerb as this will just scrub speed. Move back to the left side to hug the inside kink to shorten the distance as you head towards T12. Remember to use DRS.