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Lewis Hamilton cuts Nico Rosberg's F1 points lead with commanding Mexican Grand Prix victory

Lewis Hamilton cuts Nico Rosberg's F1 points lead with commanding Mexican Grand Prix victory
Oct 30, 2016, 9:08 PM

Lewis Hamilton took a commanding victory in the Mexican Grand Prix ahead of his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to cut the German driver’s lead at...

Lewis Hamilton took a commanding victory in the Mexican Grand Prix ahead of his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to cut the German driver’s lead at the head of the Formula 1 world championship standings.

It was his 51st victory, tying Alain Prost for second in the all time winners list behind Michael Schumacher.

Max Verstappen finished third on the road but was penalised and removed from the podium ceremony. Sebastian Vettel went on the podium but was later given a time penalty for moving under braking and Daniel Ricciardo will go down in the record books as 3rd and a podium he did not get to stand on.

At the start, Hamilton and Rosberg had leapt almost in unison from first and second off the line, but Max Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg rapidly closed in on them approaching Turn 1. Hamilton covered off Rosberg towards the inside but them locked up heavily under braking for the right-hander and ran wide.

As Hamilton was scampering across the grass, Verstappen dived up the inside of Rosberg. The Red Bull driver locked up slightly approaching the apex of Turn 1 and he slid into the side of the Mercedes at the exit. The pair made contact and Rosberg cut across Turn 2 as a result, keeping second place in the process.

Nico Rosberg Max Verstappen

Behind the top three, Esteban Gutierrez tapped Pascal Wehrlein into Marcus Ericsson, which sent the Manor into the barriers at the exit of Turn 3 and the Sauber into the pits for repairs.

That incident triggered the Virtual Safety Car, which became a full safety car as Wehrlein’s car had to be recovered. Daniel Ricciardo, who had lost out to Hulkenberg off the line, pitted at the end of the first lap to switch to the medium tyres.

When the race resumed at the start of lap four of the 71-lap event, the stewards investigated all of the first lap incidents, which also included Carlos Sainz edging Fernando Alonso off the track and into a massive swerve as they accelerated out of Turn 3.

Pascal Wehrlein

It was decided that the Rosberg and Verstappen incident did not merit a penalty for either party, and no one was blamed for the Gutierrez, Wehrlein and Ericsson clash either, but Sainz was handed a five-second time penalty for forcing Alonso wide.

Hamilton spent the first stint pulling clear of Rosberg, who just about kept himself out of reach of Verstappen before the Dutch driver pitted on lap 12 for the medium compound tyres that Ricciardo had been using to great effect to make his way back through the pack from his early stop.

Hamilton came in to make his switch to the mediums with a 5.7s lead over Rosberg, who made his own stop three laps later. The leaders maintained their positions, but Hulkenberg slipped behind Kimi Raikkonen, who had run longer on his first stint for Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel ran longer still, and for 12 laps he led the race ahead of Hamilton before he came in on lap 32 to switch to the medium tyres, which helped him move ahead of Hulkenberg and up to a sixth place.

In the next phase of the race, Rosberg began to catch Hamilton, but Verstappen – who had been allowed back into third by Ricciardo after the Australian driver had completed his charge up to the front end of the race – homed in on the championship leader.

By the start of lap 50, Verstappen had gotten to within 0.6s of Rosberg’s Mercedes and at Turn 1, the German driver locked up while following a backmarker, which allowed Verstappen to close right up to his gearbox.

Nico Rosberg Max Verstappen

The 19-year-old attacked down the inside of Turn 4 but he carried too much speed into the corner and ran wide, which allowed Rosberg to get back through and establish a 2.5s advantage.

From there, the top two ran unimpeded to the finish, and Hamilton crossed the line to take the chequered flag 8.3s ahead of his teammate to cut Rosberg’s lead in the world championship to 19 points. The win means Hamilton is now level win Alain Prost on 51 F1 wins, and he has now taken Grand Prix victories at 23 different tracks to tie Michael Schumacher’s all-time record.

Lewis Hamilton

But it was anything but simple behind them. As Verstappen dropped back from Rosberg, he fell into the clutches of Vettel, who had moved up to fourth thanks to both Raikkonen and Ricciardo stopping for new tyres, and he then cut the gap to the Red Bull using his fresher rubber.

The Ferrari driver closed right up to Verstappen and was well within DRS range at the start of lap 68, when Verstappen locked up at Turn 1 and ran wide, cutting across the grass much like Hamilton had done over an hour-and-a-half earlier.

In doing so, Verstappen stayed in front of Vettel, which enraged the four times world champion. Red Bull advised Verstappen to give the place to Vettel, but he did not and that allowed Ricciardo, who had used his own fresh tyres, to rapidly close in on the Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel continued to rant over his team as Ricciardo attacked him at Turn 4 on lap 70. The German squeezed the Red Bull at the apex and they only just avoided making major contact.

Verstappen crossed the line in third but was given a post-race five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, which dropped him to fifth. Vettel therefore finished third, but had to run to the podium in the stadium section of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez from the pitlane to receive his trophy.

Ricciardo was bumped up to fourth by Verstappen’s penalty, but his incident with Vettel is under investigation.

Nico Hulkenberg

Raikkonen finished sixth after passing Hulkenberg late on. The move ended with the Force India driver spinning at Turn 4 and he was lucky to avoid losing another place, but Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was too far back in eighth to take advantage.

Felipe Massa held off Serigo Perez to take ninth despite the Mexican driver making numerous attempts to get by. Perez complained bitterly over his team radio that Force India had not called him in for his only stop of the race earlier than Massa.

Ericsson superbly recovered from his lap one hit to finish 11th for Sauber ahead of Jenson Button and Alonso. Both McLaren drivers enjoyed a late race tussle with Jolyon Palmer, who had stopped at the end of lap one and made his tyres last long enough to climb to 14th from the back row of the grid.

Jolyon Palmer

Felipe Nasr finished ahead of Sainz thanks to the Spaniard’s penalty, and Kevin Magnussen edged out Daniil Kvyat – another driver to be handed a penalty after he went off the track passing Romain Grosjean – to come home 17th.

Gutierrez could only finish 19th in front of his home fans, but he did beat Grosjean and Manor’s Esteban Ocon to the flag.

Mexican Grand Prix results:

1 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 1h40m31.402s

2 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes +8.354s

3 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari +17.313s

4 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull +20.858s

5 Max Verstappen, Red Bull +21.323s

6 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari +49.376s

7 Nico Hulkenberg, Force India +58.891s

8 Valtteri Bottas, Williams +1m05.612s

9 Felipe Massa, Williams +1m16.206s

10 Sergio Perez, Force India +1m16.798s

11 Marcus Ericsson, Sauber +1 Lap

12 Jenson Button, McLaren +1 Lap

13 Fernando Alonso, McLaren +1 Lap

14 Jolyon Palmer, Renault +1 Lap

15 Felipe Nasr, Sauber +1 Lap

16 Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso +1 Lap

17 Kevin Magnussen, Renault +1 Lap

18 Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso +1 Lap

19 Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 +1 Lap

20 Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 +1 Lap

21 Esteban Ocon, Manor +2 Laps

DNF Pascal Wehrlein, Manor

Drivers’ standings:

1 Nico Rosberg, 349

2 Lewis Hamilton, 330

3 Daniel Ricciardo, 239

4 Sebastian Vettel, 192

5 Kimi Raikkonen, 178

6 Max Verstappen, 175

7 Sergio Perez, 85

8 Valtteri Bottas, 85

9 Nico Hulkenberg, 60

10 Fernando Alonso, 52

11 Felipe Massa, 51

12 Carlos Sainz, 38

13 Romain Grosjean, 29

14 Daniil Kvyat, 25

15 Jenson Button, 21

16 Kevin Magnussen, 7

17 Jolyon Palmer, 1

18 Pascal Wehrlein, 1

19 Stoffel Vandoorne, 1

20 Esteban Gutierrez, 0

21 Marcus Ericsson, 0

22 Felipe Nasr, 0

23 Rio Haryanto, 0

24 Esteban Ocon, 0

Constructors' standings:

1 Mercedes 679

2 Red Bull 422

3 Ferrari 370

4 Force India 145

5 Williams 136

6 McLaren 74

7 Toro Rosso 55

8 Haas F1 29

9 Renault 8

10 Manor 1

11 Sauber 0

What did you make of the Mexican Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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