Grand Prix of Mexico – Race

The stewards decided VER did not impede BOT in Qualifying session 3, so he keeps his P2 grid spot. [FIA]
However, engine component changes for RIC will drop him from P7, as well as HAR taking a similar engine change and also getting a 20 place penalty.

Provisional grid: VET, VER, HAM, BOT, RAI, OCO, RIC*, HUL, SAI, PER, MAS, STR, HAR*, ALO*, VAN*, ERI, WEH, MAG, GRO, GAS*
*Penalties to be applied: ALO+20, VAN +35, GAS +5, RIC +20, HAR +20.

Revised grid: VET, VER, HAM, BOT, RAI, OCO, HUL, SAI, PER, MAS, STR, ERI, WEH, MAG, GRO, RIC, HAR, ALO, VAN, GAS

Fortunately no stupid driver intros this weekend – that was so tacky last week.
Instead, there’s a minute’s silence to mark the recent earthquake and then on to the national anthem.

Air temperature 21°C; track 42°C; sky seems grey but not very cloudy
Don’t forget the altitude adds to the challenge – the air is thinner which means less power from the engines

As the drivers strap in, HAM tells his team his seat is “roasting – really hot on my back”
Looks like everyone on ultrasoft tyres except GRO and ALO who are on supersofts

VET leads everyone away on the formation lap

01/71: VET makes a good start
HAM pressuring VER
VER past VET
VET’s front wing punctures HAM’s rear right!

02: VET pits for a new nose section; 12.2 seconds to replace it; rejoins P19
HAM pits too; long stop while they inspect the car; soft tyres going on; rejoins P20

03: VER, BOT, OCO, HUL, PER, MAS, RAI, STR, RIC, MAG, ERI, VAN, GRO, ALO, WEH, HAR, GAS, VET, HAM
VER fastest lap 1:21.601
SAI pits
RIC takes P8 from STR

04: MAS into the pits
VER f/lap 1:21.593

05/71: VER, BOT, OCO, HUL, PER, RAI, STR, RIC, MAG, ERI, VAN, GRO, ALO, WEH, HAR, GAS, MAS, VET, SAI, HAM
Replay of the start shows VER and VET banging wheels
Once VER passes VET, VET just runs his front wing into HAM’s rear tyre

06: RIC pits and retires the Red Bull despite having a new engine

07: VER f/lap 1:21.299
ALO all over the rear of GRO (P11)

08: VET pushing hard as he catches up to MAS (P15)
Radio from HAM asking “Did he hit me deliberately?”

09: VER has almost 4sec lead over BOT

10/71: VER, BOT, OCO, HUL, PER, RAI, STR, MAG, ERI, VAN, ALO, HAR, GRO, GAS, MAS, VET, WEH, SAI, HAM; retirements: RIC
Incident involving VET, VER & HAM “noted”, i.e. might be investigated
ALO makes a move on GRO; contact – debris from GRO’s sidepod

11: No investigation required for lap 1 incidents
Confirmation that MAS pitted because of a slow puncture, and SAI for a flat spot

12: VER f/lap 1:21.177

13: Incident involving GRO/ALO under investigation – did GRO exceed track limits?
VET tries to pass MAS; VET cuts the corner

14: Radio from VET whining that MAS should have let him pass
“Seriously, I had my nose in front”; told “stay focused”
VET hasn’t let MAS pass despite cutting the corner – hopefully that’ll be investigated

15/71: VER, BOT, OCO, HUL, PER, RAI, STR, MAG, ERI, VAN, ALO, HAR, GRO, GAS, VET, MAS, WEH, SAI, HAM
VER 1:21.038
BOT 1:21.026
5sec penalty for GRO for leaving the track (when ALO tried to pass him)

16: VER f/lap 1:20.997
No investigation necessary for the ALO/GRO collision

17: VER f/lap 1:20.989
HAM is still P19 (last runner) – how long before VER laps him?

18: VER f/lap 1:20.898
VET takes P13 from GRO

19: BOT f/lap 1:20.860
PER pits from P5; softs go on; rejoins P8
ALO has taken P10 from teammate VAN

20/71: HUL pits from P4; rejoins P7, staying ahead of PER

21: OCO pits from P3; rejoins P5
VER closing up to lap HAM

22: Blue flags for HAM as VER closes to lap him; let’s the Red Bull pass
First time HAM has been lapped since Spain 2013
The next person to lap HAM will be teammate BOT

25/71: VER, BOT, RAI, STR, OCO, MAG, PER, ERI, ALO, VET, VAN, HAR, GRO, GAS, MAS, WEH, SAI, HAM
VER 1:20.848

26: HUL pulls off and parks his Renault
Radio for HUL telling him quite clearly to stop immediately and get out carefully – sounds like an ERS (battery) problem

28: HAM finally passes SAI – moves up to P17

29: HAM closing on WEH
ERI pits; rejoins P15

30/71: VER, BOT, RAI, STR, OCO, MAG, PER, ALO, VET, VAN
HAM takes P16 from WEH
PER dives inside MAG and the crowd cheer as he takes P6

31: VET passes ALO for P8
VET f/lap 1:20.698

32: MAS inside
HAR pulls off track and parks the Toro Rosso
Virtual Safety Car deployed

33[VSC]: VER pits, as do BOT, MAG, GAS, GRO, HAM, SAI
RAI pits too, followed by STR and then VET and ALO
VET taking on ultrasofts – will they last to the end?
VSC ended

35/71: VER, BOT, RAI, OCO, STR, PER, MAG, VET, ALO, MAS, VAN, ERI, GAS, WEH, GRO, HAM, SAI
BOT f/lap 1:20.661
RAI f/lap 1:20.649

Half distance

36: VET f/lap 1:20.116
Remember VET needs to be P1 or P2 in order to prevent HAM taking the Driver’s Championship title today, assuming HAM doesn’t score points

37: VER f/lap 1:19.592

38: VET makes an easy pass on MAG for P7
HAM takes P14 from WEH
Radio for HAM telling him people running on a mix of ultras and supersofts; HAM asks “are the ultras going to last”; told yes, they’ve already done half distance
(So why did Mercedes put HAM on supersofts instead of ultras?)

40/71: VER, BOT, RAI, OCO, STR, PER, VET, MAG, ALO, MAS, VAN, ERI, GAS, HAM, WEH, GRO, SAI; retirements: HAR, HUL, RIC
Radio for VER telling him to think about engine/tyre maintenance; VER says “Alright son, I’ll take it easy” 🙂

41: HAM closing right up on GAS

43: HAM uses DRS to pass GAS for P13

45/71: VER, BOT, RAI, OCO, STR, PER, VET, MAG, ALO, MAS

46: HAM on the tail of ERI
ERI leaves the door open; HAM takes P12

47: Radio for HAM telling him the forecast is he’ll finish P8 (i.e. enough to win the title)

50/71: VER, BOT, RAI, OCO, STR, PER, VET, MAG, ALO, MAS, VAN, HAM, ERI, GAS, WEH, GRO, SAI
VET closing on PER

51: VET dives inside PER, locks up but takes P6 – the locals won’t like that

52: PER pits; ultrasofts; rejoins P7 still ahead of MAG

53: HAM outbrakes VAN to take P11

55: VET uses DRS to pass STR for P5

56: VET f/lap 1:19.516
VET’s next target is OCO; after that, it’ll be an easy pass on RAI to get up to P3
Meanwhile HAM is closing on MAS – if he passes the Williams and ALO he’ll be P9

57: VET tucked up behind OCO
MAS defends but HAM takes P10
ERI pits; looks smoky
ERI jumps out of the Sauber as mechanics put out a fire

58: VET f/lap 1:19.214
VET up to P4; next target is RAI
Radio from HAM asking about his position; told P10 but still P8 forecast
HAM’s next target is ALO, although ALO might pass MAG before HAM reaches them

60/71: VER, BOT, RAI, VET, OCO, STR, PER, MAG, ALO, HAM, MAS, VAN, GAS, WEH, GRO, SAI; retirements: ERI, HAR, HUL, RIC
Radio for VET telling him RAI is 23 seconds ahead – “Oh mama mia, that’s a little bit too much”

61: SAI pits and retires – that’s both Renault works’ cars out

63: HAM is right on the tail of the MAG/ALO battle

65/71: VER, BOT, RAI, VET, OCO, STR, PER, MAG, ALO, HAM, MAS, VAN, GAS, WEH, GRO, SAI

66: VER f/lap 1:18.892
VER has 19sec lead over BOT; so much for backing off and managing the engine
ALO defends; HAM has to back off

67: PER closing on STR, who in turn is harrying OCO

68: HAM attacks again; ALO defends forcefully; some bodywork flies off

69: HAM has another bite at ALO; makes it stick this time – takes P9

70/71: VER, BOT, RAI, VET, OCO, STR, PER, MAG, HAM, ALO, MAS, VAN, GAS, WEH, GRO; retirements: SAI, ERI, HAR, HUL, RIC
VET f/lap 1:18.785
Radio from ALO asking if his team think HAM went off track in order to pass him; told “good racing, fair racing”

71 = final lap: everyone still pushing hard

VER takes the chequered flag
BOT P2, RAI P3
VET P4
OCO P5, STR P6, PER P7, MAG P8
HAM P9 = 4-times World Champion
ALO P10

Provisional result: VER, BOT, RAI, VET, OCO, STR, PER, MAG, HAM, ALO; MAS, VAN, GAS, WEH, GRO
DNF: SAI, ERI, HAR, HUL, RIC

World Champions:

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