Rosberg wins Mexican GP from start to finish
Nico Rosberg has won the first Mexican Grand Prix in its current shape, leading the race from start to finish. He led his team mate Lewis Hamilton throughout while Valtteri Bottas completed the podium in third place.
The first Mexican Grand Prix since 1982 was off to an exciting start, with Rosberg on pole, and just ahead of his now three time World Champion team mate Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel was next up on the second row. Three more championship winning drivers were starting this race, interestingly on the last 3 positions of the grid. Alonso was 18th, Raikkonen 19th and Button 20th. All of them were dropped due to engine change penalties, with Button taking a record 70 place grid penalty for subsequent Honda engine part changes.
As the lights went out under a slightly cloudy sky at 22°C, Nico Rosberg set off for the 900m stretch to the first corner and easily retained the lead. Hamilton challenged on the outside of turn 1 but remained second.
As Vetel got a tyre puncture due to contact with Ricciardo, he soon dropped to the rear, handing Kvyat second place with Ricciardo following in fourth. Bottas was 5th, ahead of Verstappen, Massa, Perez, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Maldonado, Grosjean, Ericsson.
By lap 12, the Pirelli theory of a single stop race was already blown to pieces as Bottas, Massa, Hulkenberg and Maldonado all stopped to change for medium tyres.
On lap 19, as Raikkonen quietely continued his progress, Vettel started to have issues with his brakes, going off twice after entering into a corner too quickly. He was subsequently heard on the radio saying his front brakes were "pretty bad, I can't continue".
On lap 22, Kvyat became the first of the remaining front runners to pit for medium tyres. Both Mercedes and Ricciardo however still happily continued for a few more laps. The latter though pitted on lap 25.
In between those two stops, Bottas had another encounter with Raikkonen, with the latter initially getting the advantage, but as Bottas came back for the next right hander, he found himself out of space and saw Raikkonen run over his front left wheel, sending Raikkonen off track with a broker rear suspension. Bottas meanwhile was fortunate to be able to continue and the stewards later found no grounds for further penalties.
On lap 27, Rosberg pitted, one lap after Verstappen did. Hamilton pitted one lap later, rejoining the track once again second place, 4 seconds down on his team mate.
On lap 49, after a very stale middle part of the race, Rosberg was called in for a change to a new set of mediums, with Hamilton obliged to follow suit one lap later. The Brit wasn't happy at all, repeatedly saying there was no need for a pitstop as his tyres were perfectly fine. He followed the order nonetheless, but said after the stop once again that the decision didn't sit well with him, especially as he had not been informed beforehand either. He continued to prove a point by setting two consecutive fastest laps.
Moments later, Vettel found himself in the barriers, finally getting caught out by his fading front brakes. This triggered a safety car, bringing the pack together again and allowing both Manor's to unlap themselves.
On lap 57, the race was on again with Rosberg keeping first, ahead of Hamilton. Bottas moved up into third after passing Kvyat. Ricciardo followed, ahead of Massa, Hulkenberg, Perez, Verstappen, Grosjean and Maldonado.
After the SC, both Hamilton and Rosberg appeared to push hard, running a second a lap faster than their closest competitors while making several mistakes themselves. It didn't lead to any position changes however, resulting in another long awaited with for Nico Rosberg.
|4||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull Racing||+16.572s||12|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull Racing||+19.682s||10|
|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|
|13||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Toro Rosso||+48.772s||0|
|15||Alexander Rossi||USA||Marussia||+2 laps||0|
|16||Will Stevens||GBR||Marussia||+2 laps||0|