Lewis Hamilton matched Prost’s record of 51 victories as he collected a valuable 25-points at the Mexican Grand Prix. The race itself was jeopardized by a laughable level of inconsistency as the subjective, ever-changing penalty system continues to deteriorate Formula One.
The first dramatic element of the race emerged on the first-lap at turn-one, with Hamilton locking up and aborting any effort to make the corner. The Brit went deep into the grass and emerged out of the chicane with a larger gap to the cars behind.
— Grant (@SnowAndBeach) October 30, 2016
The cars behind Hamilton were Rosberg and Verstappen, the Dutch driver brushed against the German and caused him to take avoiding action and miss the second corner. This was a racing incident and dissimilar to Hamilton’s gain up the road.
The Brit wasn’t seen again and commanded the entirety of the race in a league of his own. Rosberg managed to keep the Red Bull’s at bay and did what he needed to do with 2nd. After the race, he said,
“For me, the race, there was a lot going on of course, quite eventful. But in the end, second place, I have to live with that. Lewis was quicker so he deserves the win, and for me, second place was the best I could do.”
– Nico Rosberg
— Nico Rosberg (@nico_rosberg) October 30, 2016
Max Verstappen crossed the line in 3rd but was later demoted to 5th after it was deemed he had gained an advantage for cutting turn-one whilst defending against a very angry Sebastian Vettel, who told race director Charlie Whiting to “F*ck off” during the race.
The term “gaining an advantage” needs to be clarified by the racing stewards for the sake of the viewers. If Hamilton isn’t considered to be gaining advantage because he went into the turn in P1 and emerged in P1 (and gained a nice gap), then any driver in the race is surely permitted to cut corners as long as they retain their position.
Verstappen was penalized as Vettel looked to be overtaking, so his trip across the grass was advantageous in that he kept a place that didn’t look to be his. Had Vettel been 2-seconds down the road and Verstappen had cut turn-one and gained a few seconds, the racing stewards would have surely applied the same thinking as their earlier Hamilton decision and taken no further action.
There are no other forms of Motorsport in which the officiating is as laughable. You don’t see this level of inconsistency in the BTCC, GP2, WTCC, WEC and it has reached the point of no return this weekend.
Vettel gained a podium for Ferrari after swearing on more occasions than the Trailer Park Boys combined. The German driver is gaining an R-rated reputation and doesn’t seem to see what the fuss is about. He said,
“It was not the right thing to say, equally in my defence emotions and adrenaline is pumping high so I don’t understand why you are trying to push me in a corner and make me answer something that then you try to make into another loop.
Out of respect I went to him and told him what I did. He is aware, and that’s it.”
– Sebastian Vettel
Vettel has a point in that we can hardly hold our inflated, journalistic, pre-watershed rhetoric against a guy driving at over 300km/h in an adrenaline-induced scenario. Also, FOM made the conscious decision to broadcast his outburst, so the responsibility lies with them. At the same time, there were 21 other drivers out there who were better at keeping a lid on their frustration.
Ricciardo finished 5th but was promoted to 4th after Verstappen’s penalty. He pretty much summed up the joke that was this race with,
“I’m still pretty pissed to be honest, for a few reasons.
First lap, Hamilton defended and cut the chicane and still held lead. How and why, that shouldn’t be allowed. You make a mistake, you can lose so many positions – and he gets it first. He deserved a penalty.
When I saw Max do it, he should get a penalty, they got that one right.”
– Daniel Ricciardo
The Aussie was also of the belief that the Stewards missed Vettel’s change of direction under braking because he wasn’t a Dutch teenager. He said,
“I saw the gap and went for it. Track opens up a little bit. I committed and he’s moved again. The apex is so tight and we slid into each other.
That’s moving under braking. Everyone is complaining Max is doing it, and Seb did it with him today.”
– Daniel Ricciardo
Raikkonen had a very quiet race and finished 6th, 30-seconds behind Ricciardo. Hulkenberg secured 7th despite a dramatic spin towards the end of the race and the Williams cars of Bottas and Massa followed. Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten after being frustrated by Massa for large chunks of the race. The Mexican didn’t look to be at his sharpest and made several oversights as he attempted to pass the Brazilian.
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) October 30, 2016
Elsewhere, Marcus Ericsson had an incredible race despite an early collision with Pascal Wehrlein. He boxed early and made a set of Mediums last for 69-laps and brought the Sauber home in 11th, frustratingly close to the points. It was definitely the Swede’s best race so far and comes at a crucial time in the season regarding contracts.
— Sauber F1 Team (@SauberF1Team) October 30, 2016
McLaren were relatively noncompetitive with Button 12th and Alonso 13th whilst Jolyon Palmer made another good example of his own abilities with a strong drive to 14th.
In conclusion, despite an excellent track, a field of talented racing drivers and a World Championship still undecided, the Mexican Grand Prix was a poor advert for Formula One. Subjective officiating and juvenile reactions pretty much urinated all over what was otherwise a fairly entertaining race.
Many hours after the race, Vettel received a 10-second time penalty and was given 2 penalty points on his license, so the stewards saw a bit of sense it would seem…
Confirmed: Vettel penalised 10s for "potentially dangerous" driving. New #MexicoGP order:
3 – Ricciardo
4 – Verstappen
5 – Vettel pic.twitter.com/oQuq409SI0
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 30, 2016