Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigues in Mexico 30.10.16
“This is honestly the best crowd we get anywhere… these guys have such a great passion.” (Lewis Hamilton)
An estimated 120,000 fans gathered under blue skies at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigues, to witness some accomplished driving from the Mercedes team and a bit of an undignified scrap for 3rd….
Mexico GP Race Results 2016
1st: Lewis Hamilton
2nd: Nico Rosberg
3rd: Daniel Ricciardo
4th: Max Verstappen
5th: Sebastian Vettel
6th: Kimi Raikkonen
7th: Nico Hulkenberg
8th: Valtteri Bottas
9th: Felipe Massa
10th: Sergio Perez
Hamilton is in the Headlines Again and for all the Right Reasons!
In a weekend of near total control, Hamilton won his 8th race of the season and his second crucial win in 8 days; he equalled the record of Alain Prost with 51 wins and narrowed the championship gap to 19 points. Hamilton was quicker in practice, qualifying and the race – giving all that he could to keep his title hopes alive. But is this revival of form coming too late to retain the World Championship?
There are a possible 50 points available in the final two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi in November; but even if Hamilton wins both, Rosberg only needs to follow with a controlled 2nd place in both and he will still win the title. Hamilton can only hope that engine trouble/old fashioned bad luck can derail his team mate now.
Verstappen Causes Controversy Again!
In an example of the inconsistency of rule application in Formula One, at the beginning of the race into Turn 1, Hamilton braked late, locked up, cut the corner and continued unpunished. A penalty was later given to Verstappen at the end of the race – for seemingly exactly the same move. This prompted raised questions, particularly by the Red Bull team mates. Asked if it had given him an advantage, Hamilton said “I was in the lead going in and in the lead coming out, so no, I don’t think so.”
Hamilton will have been hoping that more had come of the collision between Rosberg and Verstappen at the first corner; a Rosberg retirement would improve his title chances immensely. Rosberg was pushed onto the grass following Verstappen’s attempt to overtake, but carried on. Stewards investigated and cleared the incident. Later, when Rosberg locked up into Turn 1, Lap 50 – Verstappen again attempted and failed to overtake. This proved to be his last chance, as the gap was soon widened to 2.5 seconds – rendering it impossible for Verstappen to catch the German.
With the Mercedes pair ahead, the latter part of the race was a bad tempered affair between Verstappen, Vettel and Ricciardo. The three drivers had been jostling in a pack for position; the resulting penalties awarded following this battle saw each one briefly hover over the 3rd place podium – with Ricciardo eventually settling there.
Verstappen finished the race in 3rd, but was given a 5 second penalty for cutting a corner on Lap 68 and was demoted to 5th place. He has since suggested that he felt ‘persecuted’ after being given this penalty, especially as Hamilton had made the same move earlier in the race and received no punishment. The rules – which have been made explicit since the US Grand Prix – indicate that drivers are not allowed to change line in the braking zone if it leads to the attacking driver having to take evasive action.
Vettel Sees Red and We Don`t Mean the Colour of His Car!
A frustrated Vettel had an angry day – he was briefly given 3rd place on the podium following Verstappen’s demotion, but lost it after being the first driver to be punished under the new rule for dangerous driving – for his defensive driving against Ricciardo. Vettel was given a 10 second penalty and 2 points on his licence for moving in the braking zone. An infuriated Vettel had spent the last stages of the race swearing over the radio; directing his anger at Verstappen for getting in his way “He has to let me go! Move, move for f*** sake!” He also admitted to “using a lot of sign language” at Verstappen and later apologised to Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting for an outburst aimed at him.
Force India had another satisfying race with both drivers finishing in the top ten. Williams took 8th with Bottas and 9th with Massa.
As this season approaches its penultimate race, there are already more than enough moments to choose from for the highlights DVD – but will it be Nico Rosberg on the cover holding the trophy? Or can Lewis Hamilton pull off the biggest heist of his career?………