Nico Rosberg took an assured win in the Mexican Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg took pole position, his fourth in succession, but this time he managed to fend off Hamilton through the opening lap and start building an advantage. The Brit was never more than a couple of seconds adrift, but was unable to get close enough to mount a challenge.
A potential controversy loomed when Mercedes switched to a two-stop strategy, a call Hamilton questioned over the radio. Told the change was “for safety reasons” he responded: “The tires feel fine.” But, having stayed out an extra lap, he was told he must come in: “This is an instruction.”
Once back on track, Hamilton got the hammer down and set off in pursuit of Rosberg, only for the race to be neutralised behind the safety car. Rosberg made a textbook restart and held Hamilton at bay for the remaining 22 laps.
Rosberg was clearly very happy with the win, his fourth of the season. It’ll go some way to making up for the disappointment of throwing away a near-certain win in the US Grand Prix, an error gifting Hamilton the win and allowing him to seal the title with three races remaining.
Williams pilot Valtteri Bottas was third, despite a clash with fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen. In a reversal of their collision in Russia, the pair tussled through Turn 4 and into 5. Bottas held the inside line but Raikkonen, slightly ahead, turned in across the Williams’ prow. His right-rear wheel connected with Bottas’s front left, breaking the Ferrari’s suspension.
Ferrari’s woes were compounded when Sebastian Vettel crashed out, the culmination of an atypically poor performance by the German. He started the race third but picked up a puncture after being nerfed by Daniel Ricciardo at the first corner.
He battled back through to 12th but a spin at Turn 7 and running wide at Turn 12 – on the same lap – put him on the back foot. After a mid-race tyre change he was able to keep pace with the Mercedes, albeit a lap down, until he lost control at Turn 7 again and ploughed into the barriers.
That brought out the safety car. At the restart, Bottas was able to surge past Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, securing his place on the last podium step. Ricciardo was fifth ahead of Felipe Massa.
The Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and local hero Sergio Perez, whose arrival in the stadium section sent the sell-out crowd nuts every single lap, were seventh and eighth. Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten.
Rosberg’s win moves him up to second in the championship standings, 21 points ahead of Vettel. F1’s tour of the Americas continues with the next race in Brazil, on 15 November.
Mexican Grand Prix results after 71 laps
- Nico Robserg — Mercedes — 1:42:35.038
- Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes — +1.954
- Valtteri Bottas — Williams-Mercedes — +14.592
- Daniil Kvyat — Red Bull-Renault — +16.572
- Daniel Ricciardo — Red Bull-Renault — +19.682
- Felipe Massa — Williams-Mercedes — +21.493
- Nico Hulkenberg — Force India-Mercedes — +25.860
- Sergio Perez — Force India-Mercedes — +34.343
- Max Verstappen — Toro Rosso-Renault — +35.229
- Romain Grosjean — Lotus-Mercedes — +37.934
- Pastor Maldonado — Lotus-Mercedes — +38.538
- Marcus Ericsson — Sauber-Ferrari — +40.180
- Carlos Sainz Jr. — Toro Tosso-Renault — +48.772
- Jenson Button — McLaren-Honda — +49.214
- Alexander Rossi — Marussia-Ferrari — +2 laps
- Will Stevens — Marussia-Ferrari — +2 laps
- Felipe Nasr — Sauber-Ferrari — DNF (brakes)
- Sebastian Vettel — Ferrari — DNF (crash)
- Kimi Raikkonen — Ferrari — DNF (crash)
- Fernando Alonso — McLaren-Honda — DNF (power unit)
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By Only Motors