Mexican GP

Hamilton wins in Mexico to keep championship chance alive

Despite the Mercedes drivers starting from the front of the field, the fast starting Red Bull drivers taking the supersoft tyres to the soft tyres on the Mercedes will be certainly worth looking out for at the start of the race.

One car that you won’t see at the start of the race is Romain Grosjean who will start from the pit lane, changing the floor on the Haas. It wasn’t like he had anything to lose, starting at the back anyway.

Out of the top ten, everyone went for the softs apart from Nasr who was on the medium and Palmer on the supersoft at the back of the grid. At the front, joining the Mercedes on the soft tyre was Ferrari, with Grosjean also starting on the soft from the pitlane.

The Mercedes took their place at the front of the grid after the formation lap, waiting for the rest of the field to take their places. With the lights going out it was a good start from Rosberg. Hamilton blocked his teammate, but he went straight on at the first corner by locking up. Rosberg also got caught up at the first corner, with an accident at the back with Pascal Wehrlein and a Sauber.

With the Virtual Safety Car coming out, Daniel Ricciardo pitted with the Red Bull taking on the medium tyre. Marcus Ericsson also pitted after his tangle with the Manor and Jolyon Palmer also pitted. As soon as this happened the full safety car came out with debris all over the circuit.

Replays showed that Verstappen gave Rosberg a shove on the exit of turn one, with the stewards putting the accident under investigation.

The Safety Car came in at the end of lap 3. Hamilton gapped Rosberg slightly, with Verstappen sticking to the back of Rosberg. Kevin Magnussen was holding up Button and Gutierrez for 12th place, with Daniel Ricciardo making his way back through the pack after his pitstop.

It was a quick decision from the stewards, with Rosberg still ahead of Verstappen. The pair of them were falling behind Hamilton though. Vettel at this point was still trying to get ahead of Massa, but Ricciardo got ahead of Button very quickly on his comeback. He then made light work on Magnussen for 12th place.

By lap 12 and Verstappen had fallen off the back of Rosberg, with Hulkenberg also falling back as well. On the soft tyre, Vettel was also still hounding Massa. Grosjean pitted for the medium tyre in the Haas. Verstappen pitted at the end of the lap, a set of the medium tyres for the Red Bull driver. Sainz and Magnussen also pitted.

Vettel was still stuck behind Maas, and was losing time behind him. The battle behind involving Bottas and Perez was also closing in on the pair of them.

Williams pitted Massa on lap 15 for a set of the medium tyres. Hulkenberg also pitted, while Sainz got a five second penalty for forcing Alonso off the road. Released from the Williams, Vettel pulled away from the Williams.

At the front, the two Mercedes drivers were pulling away from the rest of the field, with Hamilton six seconds ahead of Rosberg. Alonso pitted on lap 17, again the trend of the medium tyres continued on the McLaren.

A lap later and Mercedes pitted Hamilton, and he again took a set of the medium tyres. He came out behind Sebastian Vettel, who had yet to pit, but ahead of Bottas. The Red Bull drivers were also in touch behind the Bottas/Perez battle. Red Bull believed on the radio that Ricciardo was ahead of Rosberg given he had yet to stop.

With Rosberg setting fast times at the front, Ricciardo was closing on Perez. The group was broken up when Bottas pitted on lap 20, while Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race on his new tyres. Verstappen was also right the back of the other Red Bull.

Rosberg pitted on lap 21, with the team taking the opportunity with the battling Red Bulls with a large margin behind. Perez also pitted on the same lap, while Kimi Raikkonen also overtook Nico Hulkenberg in the pit stop sequence.

Verstappen, stuck behind his teammate on newer tyres was getting frustrated and had the DRS to help, but was too far back. Ricciardo let his teammate ahead though later through the lap, the Dutchman instantly pulling away in the other Red Bull. Perez after his pitstop came out behind the two Williams drivers, with the team swapping their drivers too. Massa was struggling with pace, and was holding the Force India back.

Perez made the move on Massa on lap 25 into the first corner, but he went straight on locking his tyres up and the Brazilian retained his position.

Vettel, who had yet to pit was leading the race, and still on the soft tyres he was setting a lap time similar to his teammate. Verstappen was also closing in on Rosberg.

On lap 27, Hamilton said over the radio that the tyres were ‘not feeling that great’.

Ferrari were ready for Vettel to pit on lap 30, but the German stayed on the circuit. The Ferrari eventually came in on lap 32, coming out behind his teammate. Raikkonen though was saying over the radio that the grip on his tyres was very poor. Verstappen was also closing in on Rosberg, getting the gap down to nearly a second.

The clouds were coming over the circuit, which meant the times were starting to tumble. Perez tried down the inside of Felipe Massa once again on lap 40, but couldnt make it happen again.

Raikkonen pitted Kimi Raikkonen on lap 46, with Rosberg also closing in on Hamilton who was stuck in traffic. Raikkonen had another set of the medium tyres, with Rosberg and Verstappen yet to catch the back of the pack. Nasr was the only driver who had yet to stop, starting on the medium tyres and staying ahead of Palmer.

Vettel in fifth set the fastest lap of the race in the process and was closing on Ricciardo, with Raikkonen also fast on the new tyres. Alonso had a slow pitstop, but was a long way back down the field.

Lap 49, and Grosjean at the back of the field once again had brake problems in his Haas, with Verstappen closing in once again on Rosberg. Ricciardo also said over the radio that his tyres were struggling. Rosberg locked up into the first corner and the Dutchman was right on the back of the Mercedes, and went down the inside of Rosberg, but couldnt make it stick.

Ricciardo pitted on lap 51 for a set of the soft tyres, and he came out behind Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg. He made short work of the Force India, and set his sights on Vettel, along a long way down the road. He was trying though, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process and a second and a half seconds a lap faster than Vettel.

After he went off the circuit, Verstappen lost time afterwards and the gap had increased to over two and a half seconds on lap 55.

A number of battles ensued, with Button overtaking Palmer for 12th, Raikkonen closing on Hulkenberg and Ricciardo still closing on Vettel and Verstappen.

As Raikkonen went around the outside of Hulkenberg at turn 4, the Force India spun. Verstappen went on at the first corner, and retained his position ahead of the Ferrari. With Ricciardo closing on the pair of them, Vettel was being sandwiched by the two Red Bulls. The stewards said that they were going to investigate it after the race.

Verstappen was doing a good job of holding Vettel back, the pair of them getting close together into turn 4, and the Australian picking up a flat spot. Ricciardo suffered from his flat spot and fell back from the Ferrari, with Vettel falling back from Verstappen.

It was however a Hamilton win in Mexico to keep the Championship alive for another race, the gap down to 19 points. Rosberg finished second, with Verstappen tentatively in third.

Verstappen was given a five second penalty quickly after the race, with Vettel running towards the podium after parking in the pitlane.

It meant that Vettel would finish third, Ricciardo fourth and Verstappen fifth.

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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