The altitude of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez means that Formula 1 cars struggle with overheating their engines and brakes as the lower air density means that there is less air to cool them down.
It was a problem that Russell himself became a victim of as he backed off to avoid running too closely to Carlos Sainz‘s Ferrari, which became a compounding problem as he then lost the heat cycle in his worn medium tyres.
From then on he struggled to maintain pace, losing touch to the Spaniard whilst he was subsequently overtaken by Lando Norris and almost caught on the final lap by Daniel Ricciardo in an AlphaTauri.
“Once again we have a really strong car,” Russell told the media. “Right behind Carlos, we just couldn’t quite make the overtake stick and then we had to back off.
“My brakes were overheating, as they were for many drivers, and as soon as I backed off I totally lost all the temperature in my tyres.
“I could never recover it and it was it was like driving on ice for the last 15 laps, it was a pretty miserable feeling and I was very lucky to finish sixth.”
The Mercedes driver finished a long way down on his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, despite being on the same strategy following the Lap 34 red flag.
The older British racer managed to pull 28 seconds over Russell, who has now dropped to 69 points behind him despite Hamilton‘s disqualification at the United States GP.
Russell still angry at Sainz
Whilst trying to overtake the Ferrari, which he needed to do if he hoped to get a run at Charles Leclerc to finish on the podium, the 25-year-old became very frustrated at Sainz, who he felt was defending too aggressively.
At one stage he even took to the radio to criticise the defensive manoeuvres the Spanish driver took to hold onto fourth position and his verdict on the actions hadn’t changed come the end of the 71-lap race.
“I mean the rule was pretty clear,” Russell said. “I mean it wasn’t an aggressive, substantial movement to sort of cover me, but when you’re braking from such high speeds it’s very easy to lock-up.”
When is the next F1 2023 race?
There isn’t much time for the teams to rest after the Mexico City GP as the circus heads on to Sao Paulo in Brazil to race at the historic Interlagos circuit.
Russell won the race in 2022, taking his maiden victory in the sport, and every race since 2018 has seen a battle between the Mercedes and Red Bull cars so will 2023 be the same?
Find out with Total-Motorsport.com as the Brazilian GP takes place from November 3-5.