Race Report: Hamilton takes Mexico GP win; Vettel curses…gasp!

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As the Mexican Grand Prix got ready to start, the weather was dry and things were looking good for Mercedes who owned the front row with Lewis Hamilton on pole followed by his teammate Nico Rosberg. Nico nearly had two Red Bulls in front of him but managed to snatch 2nd on his last lap in qualifying.

The big question was regarding turn 1 and the starts for each Mercedes driver as well as the Red Bull’s super soft tire compounds. Could the Red Bulls make the best use of early grip and spoil the Mercedes strategy? If they were able to make that work, it could spell disaster for either Lewis or Nico who have only 26 points separating them.

The start was a ragged affair with Lewis Hamilton straight-lining the first turn and Max Verstappen punting Nico Rosberg into the grass. NBC’s Leigh Diffey said that Nico gained an advantage but the stewards reviewed and disagreed.

Lewis Hamilton claimed his 51st victory equaling Alain Prost’s total wins and keep his championship hopes alive until the next race with just 19 points between he and Nico Rosberg. Nico did what he had to do which is finishing second and Max Verstappen who finished third on the track but a penalty of 5-seconds was applied meaning that he technically finished behind Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo for 5th.

WinWin

A big win for Lewis Hamilton who did what he had to do and that’s after cooking turn 1 but his teammate wasn’t able to capitalize on the mistake as he was in the process of being mugged in turn 1 by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. It was also good news for Lewis that he wasn’t pushing and still pulling away so that could bode well for his engine and mechanical concerns in the last two races.

A big win for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel who claimed 3rd after a 5-second penalty was assessed on Max Verstappen removing him from the podium with immediate effect. The radio communications from Vettel clearly show the pressure he and this team are under and they deserved the result given Vettel’s drive and the team’s strategy.

A win for Nico Rosberg who launched in to one of the seemingly 50 languages the guy speaks to amp up the local crowd…I wasn’t even aware that he spoke Spanish. Nico said Lewis just did a much better job all weekend and deserved the win regardless of the turn 1 shortcut.

A win for Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg who drove a good race and had a moment with Kimi Raikkonen for 6th but on older tires, his spin was somewhat understandable. He had time in hand and came home in 7th which goes a long way in the constructor’s championship to hold 4th over Williams F1.

To be fair, even though Hulkenberg managed to stay ahead of the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, the pair were able to stay ahead of Sergio Perez’s Force India and helped in their points haul for 4th in the constructor’s championship.

Also, a win for Marcus Ericsson for nearly nipping Sauber’s first point by finishing 11th just ahead of both the McLaren’s of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Marcus had a broken wing and great tire management to make a one-stopper work and nearly take a point.

FailFail

A fail for both Esteban Gutierrez and Sergio Perez for having a difficult day and while Perez claimed 10th and a point, he was well behind his much faster teammate at his home grand prix. Esteban and his teammate struggled all weekend and he finished just ahead of his teammate, Romain Grosjean, in 19th.

A fail for Sebastian Vettel’s profanity-laced tirade and while you can certainly understand his frustration, I think it’s an even more tangible example of the immense pressure the entire team is being put under to win but regardless, the race director, Charlie Whiting, won’t take it lightly having been told to Eff off. Regardless, I am amused at the moral purity the press has immediately gained when they otherwise are chuckling about Kimi Raikkonen’s blue language or Daniil Kvyat’s blue tirades. Johnny Herbert had it right, this is emotion and the last time I checked, fans said that’s what they want to see but now they’ve become paragons of virtue and are outraged at the emotion, adrenaline-amped radio chatter. Word is that Jean Todt wasn’t amused and fair enough as it’s supposed to be family-friendly broadcasts. Someone tell Kimi, would you? Perhaps Ferrari need some sensitivity language training programs featuring squeezy balls and deep breathing exercises? Good on Maurizio for shutting the German down over the radio, good work sir.

It’s not really a fail but close enough as Jolyon Palmer looked competitive but the team’s strategy of leaving him out on tires that should have retired in Austin was a bad call as he was a sitting duck and only managed 14th.

WTHWTH

I’m not entirely sure if Carlos Sainz didn’t know that Fernando Alonso was next to him or not but he gained a 5-second penalty for basically running Fernando off the road.

The stewards saw the Max Verstappen/Nico Rosberg incident at turn one the way I saw it and handed out no penalty but I’m unclear on how folks feel that being clouted by Max gave Nico an advantage? Is it ever an advantage by being hit and potentially risking taking you out of the race and losing the championship? Could you not argue that Nico may have taken the lead had he not been clouted as Lewis decided to straight-line the first turn? Admittedly Lewis receive his own punishment by going through the grass but the speed he lost wasn’t a bad deal because his teammate was being shoved off track. Fact is, Nico had nowhere to go. He was at track limit and Max didn’t give room. At least that’s how I saw it.

A WTH for Max Verstappen for not giving the position to Vettel because he incurred a penalty and lost not only the position to Sebastian but a position to his teammate Ricciardo. The team even instructed him to cede the position but he chose not to. It’s a roll of the dice and they didn’t land Max’s way.

Daniel Ricciardo felt that Seb moved under braking and this is the Pandora’s box I wrote an editorial about and got castigated for my opinion on it as a couch-based junior league idiot. Well, I said I was all for safety but not for more sporting regulations that cannot be consistently applied due to the FIA’s current structure and context that fans at home won’t always know or see leading to mobocracy to be outraged once again. Here again, like Kvyat in Austin, we have Daniel crying foul in Mexico.

From Max and Daniel’s view, both Lewis and Nico gained advantage by leaving the track so both were vocal as to where the consistency was in the penalties called? Fact is, I don’t see Nico’s turn 1 incident as an advantage but I could see the argument of Lewis running straight through turn one which Max did as well. I think also it’s contextual and I can understand why a penalty didn’t apply to Lewis as it did for Max. I think there’s context here and while I think Nico may have made it a serious challenge in turn one had he not had Max on his leg and Lewis running wide, I also think Lewis didn’t gain much since Nico was preoccupied.

I don’t want to get a heap of hate mail but could Rachael over at Sky Sports F1 be a bit bigger of a s**t disturber? Good grief, the leading questions and implications are pretty harsh. Not really unpacking the race so much as always pulling at the threads of Seb, Nico or anyone but Lewis for that matter. Whew…it’s times like this that make me happy to be an American and watching multiple broadcasts for some parity.

Results:

POS DRIVER CAR LAPS GAP
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 1h40m31.402s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 71 8.354s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 71 17.313s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 71 20.858s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 71 21.323s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 71 49.376s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 71 58.891s
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 71 1m05.612s
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 71 1m16.206s
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 71 1m16.798s
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 70 1 Lap
12 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 70 1 Lap
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 70 1 Lap
14 Jolyon Palmer Renault 70 1 Lap
15 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 70 1 Lap
16 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 70 1 Lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 70 1 Lap
18 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 70 1 Lap
19 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 70 1 Lap
20 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 70 1 Lap
21 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 69 2 Laps
Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 0 Collision
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.

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Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

Starting to think that it’s time for a PT Party for Verstappen (I hope I got the term right).

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Hi Paul, what’s a PT party?

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

Military slang term for sweeping and mopping the floors in the barracks where you’re stationed. Happens every weekend.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Thanks Paul. Given Verstappens age, maybe just a bit of time on the naughty step would do it?

TheFaust
Guest
TheFaust

You bring up an excellent point. There were a lot of people saying that he was not mature enough to be in this level of racing. Max quieted everyone with his talent and the general feeling was that the decision was correct, Max should have the ride. Now he throws dangerous blocks, hisses at anyone that criticizes him (including several former world champions) and drives the leading point scorer for the WDC off the track with car contact. It now looks painfully clear that there is a divide between maturity and talent. He has already interfered with the drivers championship.… Read more »

Member
Fast Freddy

Max could of done the gentleman thing and moved over, but it’s been a very long time since F1 was gentlemanly.

Negative Camber
Guest

His team told him to hold station as they sought clarification from Charlie. We didn’t hear that radio message. Initially they said cede the position but later told him to hold.

Chuck C
Guest
Chuck C

I’m fine with Max not ceding the spot. If he had, he would have been exactly where he ended up, as Daniel would have blown past him, too. No one from Race Control told him to and all his team said was, “Give the position … I think you’ll have to give the position back, Max.” Not really a firmly worded command.

jcn115
Guest
jcn115

NC, SkyF1 coverage is second to none, but sometimes I can’t stand the Lewis love fest and always them making excuses for Lewis. I get it, it is a British broadcaster and they favor the British driver. I agree with you regarding Rachael, or most of reporters at Sky for that matter, they like to stir the pot and sometimes make a big deal of some the thing that happened during the race just to create some conflict . If the stewards would have given Lewis a 5 sec penalty, then Nico would have taken the lead at the first… Read more »

Negative Camber
Guest

I love them all too but it just seems that she is always trying to create a controversy and pulling at the threads with some of the base tactics that the US press use these days. I saw three interviews from her this weekend where drivers were confrontational with her because she was putting words in their mouths. That, in my opinion, cheapens their broadcast to be honest.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

100% with you on your your review and assessment of the Sky F1 paddock interviewers. I guess its the UK tabloid journalism approach of being an agent provocateur. It’s unnecessary and does more to bring the sport into disrepute than Vettel or Raikonnen swearing.

Samouri
Member
Samouri

If you want to play the if game. Rosberg can count his lucky stars that Lewis had a complete engine failure at Malaysia, while comfortably leading, and with only 16 laps to go for a Hamilton win, because without that malfunction. Rosberg would now be 9 points behind Lewis in the championship, after Hamilton’s win at Mexico on Sunday.

My Friendly Atheist disqus acc
Guest
My Friendly Atheist disqus acc

What a fun last few laps!

mini696
Member

Max is very selfish. He would never concede a position.
He was lucky Ricky moved over for him.

Negative Camber
Guest

His team radioed that he should give it back immediately but what we didn’t hear was the subsequent radio message to hold position as they sought clarification from Charlie. To be fair to Max.

mini696
Member

I’m just being sarcastically facetious. Max has shown he is willing to return a favour to RIC if asked to.

We’ll see how long it lasts between those two if they ever get in a Nico and Lewis situation.

jcn115
Guest
jcn115

I just saw that Vettel was demoted, he was given a 10 sec penalty for the collision with Daniel. Damn it, the stewards inconsistency and the silly rules are killing F1. The Verstappen rule was made a soon as it affected Lewis. Max did the same moves several times during the season, but since it affected King Lewis then we have to make a rule about it, it just like the radio ban, it was fine during the season until Lewis couldn’t figure out how solve a car issue, then the radio ban was lifted.

Member

All right, the Verstappen rule in effect. I am totally done with these after race judgments and verdicts. Either get a permanent staff of race stewards who travel with the F1 circus or take a match and light up the rule book. It makes the whole sport look amateurish and dis-organized to the world. How does that attract new fans, Chase Carey, Bernie E. and Liberty Media shareholders?

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

Welp, looks like you gotta update the results again. This race is getting better with age.

Negative Camber
Guest

It is, just so you’ll know…I actually took 3rd in the race after a series of penalties 5 1/2 hours after the race. Waiting to get my trophy from Daniel.

johnblair7
Guest
johnblair7

I commented on the guardian web site when I found out. 3 drivers all had a go at being 3rd, 4th and 5th. On track, Max, Seb and Dan, after first penalty, Seb, Dan then Max and finally Dan, Max and then Seb. I’m going to put in an appeal to the stewards NC, I think you blocked me unfairly so I’ll have the trophy when you get penalised :)

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

I really hope someone had to send out a correction for the F1B staff pick winners I this week.

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Mexico was just another race, it was ok. The bit at the end was even interesting, I’m sick of listening to drivers whine all the way through races though, I thought having radio comms in races again that we can hear at home was a good idea. I’m not convinced anymore. On the whole Verstappen thing in this week’s edition of ‘what did Max do?’… If the penalty is that by cutting a corner which gains an advantage in car lengths over the car behind, then both Max and Lewis are guilty of that. You could argue that Lewis’s advantage… Read more »

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Good points Tom, perhaps they can just turn the radio coverage off.
I enjoyed Paul DiResta’ suggestion that Vettel swap seats with one of the Sauber drivers and show everyone how a backmarker should deal with blue flag situations ;-)

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Should blue flags be ‘advisory’ in F1? Not a compulsory order?

MIE
Editor

Most definitely. Passing back markers should be a key skill (like Geelong and toeing).

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

I hold conflicting opinions on this (often depending on who’s involved). On the one hand backmarkers add an interesting and random challenge for the front runners to deal with. So it can show the skills and ccommitment of the top guys in a good or poor light. On the other hand it is a random factor that can change the outcome of a race. For me the best outcome would be the teams could all build optimally performing cars and the entire field stay on the same lap – imagine the whole pack howling around tightly bunched like lap 1… Read more »

Rick Gethin
Guest
Rick Gethin

Having been a fan of the circus known as F1 since the early 1970’s and attending nine consecutive USGP’s at Watkins Glen (25 minutes from my home), I have become increasingly frustrated with the state of the sport. I would love to see the KERS, DRS, etc. taken off the cars and have the drivers just drive. At one time, this was a sport that rewarded skill and audacity. What it has become is an event where the driver is becoming nothing more than a passenger. Telemetry on the steering wheel? Driver coaching from the engineers? Please, make it stop.… Read more »

Negative Camber
Guest

I understand the frustration and I was thinking about this very thing last night. I was even contemplating doing a video explaining the recent changes and why they are leaving fans cold. Maybe I should make that video.

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Please do. It would be an interesting watch.

Rick Gethin
Guest
Rick Gethin

Definitely looking forward to watching that video. Make it so, Captain!

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

A video rant-cast, that would be great to see.
Though I still go back to the view that if people want to see great drivers use epic skills to control wild machines, there are lots of spec-series formulas out there. For me F1 is supposed to be about technological excellence, and and innovation. That’s inherently ‘not good telly’, SKY should switch to A1 GP coverage, and give F1 to the discovery channel :-)

johnblair7
Guest
johnblair7

Well I’ll give you 4 drivers at least that could cope. in no particular order. Lewis, Fernando, Danny Ric, and Max. Those 4 could have coped in any era I reckon.

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

This race was obviously a mess of accusations, tantrums and dodgy moves, though I did love seeing some hard racing. Lost in all that though was Rosberg’s excellent drive, in my opinion. Languishing in fourth in qualifying he put in a blinder when he needed to to get in front of the bulls at the last second, bashed by Max he gave up what he needed to to survive but fought for what he could to keep his position. He took care of his car the whole race through but rose to the occassion when his position was threatened by… Read more »

Member
Fast Freddy

What about Hamilton’s first lap excursion. I thought is was illegal to shortcut the course, even if it’s caused by locking up the brakes.

Member
Fast Freddy

Just listened to the podcast and you explained what happened.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Track limits again…….time for Bernie’s walls?

TheFaust
Guest
TheFaust

Its funny that no one is talking about the fact that MB almost pitted Hamilton because he flat spotted his tires so badly it was causing vibrations through out the car. Vibrations that the engineers thought may damage the suspension or transmission. Can you see the headlines now? MB looses race for Hamilton through poor pit straggly. Poor pit strategy because they pit him to get rid of flat spot tires. Or the vibration rips the car apart because they leave the tires on and the headlines read, MB lets down Lewis with poor car reliability. Conspiracy, when in fact… Read more »