Tag Archives: Mexican Grand Prix

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2016 F1 Grand Prix of Mexico — Results & aftermath

Hamilton dominates in Mexico for second win on the trot, Rosberg drives spirited race to secure P2; Ricciardo declared P3 after both Verstappen & Vettel demoted

Lewis Hamilton continued to do the only thing he can do to keep his Championship aspirations alive and the heat on his points-leading Mercedes teammate Nico Roseberg: just win, baby. After dominating last weekend in Austin, Texas at the US Grand Prix, Hamilton continued showing untouchable pace in the thin air of Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City. Starting from pole, the English contender and current two-time consecutive World Champ seems to have put his chronic starting woes well and truly behind him and blazed off the line cleanly. Despite Hamilton’s locking up and running off course briefly, Rosberg was still unable to match Hamilton’s acceleration, probably because the German was duking it out for positions with the two aggressive Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. But even though Rosberg had every incentive to drive conservatively and perhaps live to fight another day he banged wheels with Verstappen rather than cede second to the precocious Dutchman.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Careening off and then back onto the track ahead of Verstappenan after the contact, it could have been argued that Rosberg gained an unfair advantage but the stewards ruled no action was warranted. So Rosberg’s decision to fight it out paid off and, as it has more than once this season after contact, he managed to escape any significant damage that might have compromised his race. Despite an early Safety Car period that scrambled the contenders’ tire strategies somewhat, the two Mercedes did what they have done 6 times this season: take another dominant 1-2. Hamilton was never really challenged for the victory, his 51st in F1 overall tying Alain Prost for second all-time. And while Rosberg again had to fight off Verstappen again on Lap 49 to secure second, the day still played to Rosberg’s undoubted advantage. With only two contests remaining in 2016 the 31-year-old German leads by 19 points over his bitter rival in the quest for his first Drivers’ Championship. Even if Hamilton takes the final two victories it will require failure from Rosberg or his car to overhaul him. And with the now-impressive combination of skill and determination that Rosberg has more often than not displayed this year, as well as more than a touch of necessary good fortune, it’s hard to see that happening no matter Lewis’ supreme talent.

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Despite being the only real challengers to Mercedes dominance in Mexico the day did not quite play out according to script for team Red Bull. Continue reading

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2016 F1 Grand Prix of Mexico — Qualifying results

Surging Hamilton grabs another pole, Rosberg salvages P2 in dying seconds of quali; Verstappen fast enough for 3rd on grid

After dominating all race weekend in Austin last week en route to a commanding win, Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton showed yet again that he is not ready to concede the title belt to his teammate, archival and current points leader Nico Rosberg. Displaying his typical grit and determination, Hamilton once again comprehensively out-qulaified the entire F1 field to grab pole in Mexico City and give himself the best possible chance to not only take victory in Sunday’s Mexican GP but also keep his hopes of a third consecutive title alive in the face of dwindling races and odds. The Englishman bested Roseberg for the second weekend in a row and for a while it looked like the German contender might actually be pushed back to the second row in P4. But Rosberg dug deep in the dying seconds of Q3 and vaulted himself over the very competitive Red Bulls and up to P2, albeit a quarter of a second behind the man who has what he desperately wants. But Rosberg knows that if he can just keep finishing on the podium he can run out the clock no matter how many victories Hamilton claims in these last 3 races. In fact, if Rosberg should somehow win tomorrow and Hamilton stumbles to a sub-tenth place finish the Championship will be mathematically decided in the German’s favor.

Despite the Red Bulls looking very pacy at the high altitude, low drag Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez track all weekend long, they ware foiled by Rosberg’s last-second surge. Wunderkind Max Verstappen was still good enough for P3 and his senior teammate Daniel Ricciardo took P4 on the grid. Nico Hulkenberg was surprisingly fast for Force India and turned in a Q3 lap that earned him an impressive P5 for tomorrow’s race, while Kimi Raikkonen out-qualified his more decorated Ferrari teammate, Sebastian Vettel, P6 to P7. However sitting behind a Force India is not exactly where the Scuderia envisioned themselves on race day.  The two Williams managed to hoist themselves into the top 10 starters’ group after looking like dangerously dropping out in Q2 — Valtteri Bottas will start P8 and the retiring veteran Felipe Massa will occupy P9 on the grid. Following a strong P6 finish for the generally underwhelming Toro Rosso chassis at COTA last weekend, Carlos Sainz again showed improving skill and pace in a mediocre car and will start from P10.

Top 10 qualifiers for the Mexican GP:

POS NO DRIVER CAR Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS
1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:19.447 1:19.137 1:18.704 18
2 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 1:19.996 1:19.761 1:18.958 22
3 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:19.874 1:18.972 1:19.054 14
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:19.713 1:19.553 1:19.133 15
5 27 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:20.599 1:19.769 1:19.330 22
6 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:19.554 1:19.936 1:19.376 21
7 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:19.865 1:19.385 1:19.381 17
8 77 Valtteri Bottas WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:20.338 1:19.958 1:19.551 20
9 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:20.423 1:20.151 1:20.032 19
10 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO FERRARI 1:20.457 1:20.169 1:20.378 24

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s race airs live on NBC starting at 3PM Eastern. With an ultra-fast circuit and a rabid fan base down Mexico way it should be a heated contest full of energy and excitement — just the kind of venue that a hard charger like Hamilton enjoys in his quest to come from behind and put the pressure back on Rosberg to defend his title aspirations. Hope to see you then to find out how it all shakes out!

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2015 F1 Grand Prix of Mexico — Results & aftermath

Rosberg converts frustrations into victory in Mexico, Ham the Champ second; Bottas P3 for Williams despite another scrap with Raikkonen

Nico Rosberg was desperate to put last week’s dreadful US Grand Prix behind him, where he threw away both the race win and simultaneously handed his nemesis and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton his second consecutive Drivers’ Championship. With his own championship dreams extinguished, Rosberg channelled his immense frustartion at coming out second best to the Englishman yet again into a superlative race weekend at the tricky Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez near Mexico City. Rosberg had the first race treble of his career at F1’s return to Mexico after a 23-year absence with pole position, the race’s fastest lap and the win. After his hat-throwing tantrum post-race in Austin, it was Rosberg who happily donned the sombrero of victory by turning teammate Hamilton into the also-ran, if only for this one weekend. It was Rosberg’s fourth win of the season against Hamilton’s dominant 10 victories and, while Hamilton could be heard second-guessing his team’s trie strategy at times, it definitely looked like Rosberg had the measure of the circuit just that little bit more so than Hamilton. But the question that will be always be asked of Nico until he can win a championship of his own is: why can’t he perform as flawlessly when the pressure’s still on?

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pictures courtesy GrandPrix247.com

All even went Rosberg’s way in terms of the overall driver standings when Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who was uncharacteristically flustered all race long after a first lap coming together with Red bull’s Daniel Roccoardo left him seriously behind the 8-ball with a puncture. The normally self-assured German former 4-time World Champ then succumbed to the temptation to overdrive his car to make up for his lost positions, which was courting disaster on the treacherous newly laid asphalt of Hermanos Rodríguez and the downforce-robbing thin air of the 7500-foot-above-sea-level circuit. Sure enough, after an earlier spin Vettel completely lost the back end on Lap 53 and crashed his Prancing Horse into the barriers on Turn 7, dealing the car terminal damage. To make matters worse for Ferrari, their other driver Kimi Raikkonen had another coming together with his countryman, Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, on Lap 24 eerily similar to their race-ruing tussle in Russia a few weeks back. This time it was Raikkonen’s car that was immediately ruined with a broken rear suspension while Bottas was left miraculously unscathed. With Vettel & Raikkonen both failing to finish, it was Ferrari’s first double-DNF since Australia in 2006. And Vettel’s failure to score points put him at a 21-point disadvantage to Roseberg for second in the Drivers’ standings with only two more Grand Prix remaining. All in all, a lost weekend in South of the Border for the legendary team from Maranello.

On the flip side, Bottas not only survived his encounter with Raikkonen but he thrive. He used clever tire strategy and the Williams excellent straight line speed to fight his way onto the podium with a very strong 3rd place finish. His teammate Felipe Massa was not quite as successful despite being very fast through the speed trap all weekend long and had to settle for P6. Still, after their double retirement at COTA last Sunday it was a much-needed points haul for Williams and should set them up nicely to hold off Red Bull for 3rd in the Constructors’ standings as the contests dwindle to two. Red Bull managed a pretty good day for themselves, however, with Daniil Kvyat just bested by Bottas and finishing fourth and Daniel Ricciardo a scrappy P5 despite the opening lap incident with Vettel. Force India also did well, though perhaps not quite according to script, with German Nico Hulkenberg recovering from last race’s front wing-related crash to take P7 and Mexican native son Sergio Perez slightly behind his teammate in P8. Nevertheless, the packed grandstands resounded with cheers for their countryman all weekend  long and no doubt this is a race that the talented “Checo” Perez will remember all his life.

Rounding out the top 10, rookie Max Verstappen was 9th for Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean was P10 for Lotus.

Top 10 finishers in Mexico:

POS. DRIVER COUNTRY TEAM TIME POINTS
1 NICO ROSBERG GER MERCEDES 1:42:35.038 25
2 LEWIS HAMILTON GBR MERCEDES +1.954s 18
3 VALTTERI  BOTTAS FIN WILLIAMS +14.592s 15
4 DANIIL KVYAT RUS RED BULL RACING +16.572s 12
5 DANIEL RICCIARDO AUS RED BULL RACING +19.682s 10
6 FELIPE MASSA BRA WILLIAMS +21.493s 8
7 NICO HULKENBERG GER FORCE INDIA +25.860s 6
8 SERGIO PEREZ MEX FORCE INDIA +34.343s 4
9 MAX VERSTAPPEN NED TORO ROSSO +35.229s 2
10 ROMAIN GROSJEAN FRA LOTUS +37.934s 1

Complete race results available via Formula1.com.

With over 130,00 fans in attendance for yesterday’s race and huge crowds for practice & qualifying, as well, the Mexican Grand Prix made a triumphant return to the F1 schedule. While the expected rain never materialized on Sunday to make it two wet race weekends in a row, it was still a very challenging contest as teams struggled to come to grips with cooling issues and the loss of downforce, both caused by the high altitude, as well as the very slippery freshly laid asphalt. Coming as it does one week after Austin, the two GPs just feel like a well-matched tandem, not to mention the two races’ timing in terms of their potential as Championship deciders near the end of the grueling F1 season. Here’s hoping Bernie and the teams keep Mexico right where it is on the schedule for next year. It certainly deserves to be.

In other news, Mexican national and current Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez has been signed to be second driver for the debut of US-based Haas F1. The 24-year-old last competed in F1 in 2014 for Sauber and will join Lotus’ Romain Grosjean on the Haas team for next year.

The next race is the penultimate one of the season and the race weekend is from November 13-15 at the always challenging Interlagos in Brazil. Hope to see you then!

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2015 F1 Grand Prix of Mexico — Qualifying results

Rosberg takes Pole in Mexico with Champion Hamilton second fastest again; Vettel P3 in Quali for Ferrari

If Nico Rosberg could only race as well as he qualifies he might have been the one donning the Championship crown last week in Austin. Instead, to the German’s immense hat-throwing frustration, it was his Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who won his second consecutive driver’s title by being the fiercer competitor come race time and shoving past Rosberg for the victory. Rosberg did manage to put a week’s worth of anger and self-pity behind him in Saturday qualifying on the slippery new asphalt surface of the Autodrómo Hermanos Rodríguez by decisively earning  pole at the ultra-fast high altitude circuit, his fourth top spot in a row. Hamilton was once again only good enough for second fastest in quali but the champ will surely be trying to better Rosberg again come race day, as there is nothing that seems to delight the pugnacious British ace more than torturing his teammate and archival.

Sebastian Vettel managed 3rd spot on the grid for Ferrari after his teammate Kimi Raikonnen was forced to retire in Q2 with rear brake issues. Vettel bested the very well-planted Red Bulls of Daniil Kvyat (P4) and Daniel Ricciardo (P5). The two Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished 6th and 7th fastest respectively with their decidedly quick chassis really coming into its own as the track rubbered in. After a rare double retirement last weekend in Texas, team Williams really need to get back on form and score good points in tomorrow’s race. Toro Rosso teen sensation Max Verstappen qualified in 8th and the two Force Indias rounded out the Top 10, with native son Sergio Perez pipping his German teammate Nico Hulkenberg for 9th on the grid at his home Grand Prix to the delight of his countrymen in the stands.

Top 10 qualifiers:

POS. NO. DRIVER TEAM Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS
1 6 NICO ROSBERG  MERCEDES 1:20.436 1:20.053 1:19.480 23
2 44 LEWIS HAMILTON  MERCEDES 1:20.808 1:19.829 1:19.668 22
3 5 SEBASTIAN VETTEL  FERRARI 1:20.503 1:20.045 1:19.850 18
4 26 DANIIL KVYAT  RED BULL RACING 1:20.826 1:20.490 1:20.398 21
5 3 DANIEL RICCIARDO  RED BULL RACING 1:21.166 1:20.783 1:20.399 23
6 77 VALTTERI  BOTTAS  WILLIAMS 1:20.817 1:20.458 1:20.448 26
7 19 FELIPE MASSA  WILLIAMS 1:21.379 1:20.642 1:20.567 26
8 33 MAX VERSTAPPEN  TORO ROSSO 1:20.995 1:20.894 1:20.710 28
9 11 SERGIO PEREZ  FORCE INDIA 1:20.966 1:20.669 1:20.716 21
10 27 NICO HULKENBERG  FORCE INDIA 1:21.315 1:20.935 1:20.788 20

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s race, which marks the return of Mexico to the F1 schedule for the first time in 23 years, airs live on NBC proper here in the States beginning at 2:00 PM Eastern time.  With the thin atmosphere playing havoc with the cars’ downforce levels and boosting top speeds on the straights to over 220mph, not to mention possible rain in the forecast, it’s surely a race that promises a lot of action, excitement and unpredictability. Hope to see you then!