After 23 years Formula One returned to Mexico, where Nico Rosberg claimed victory at the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix.
In front of an incredible atmosphere created by the passionate Mexican fans, Nico Rosberg controlled the Mexican Grand Prix to take the first Formula One triumph at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez since 1992. The sold-out race played host to a deserved win for Rosberg, as Hamilton settled for second and Ferrari saw both drivers end their races early.
Across the weekend, Rosberg had held the upper hand on Hamilton despite the Brit carrying championship-winning momentum into Mexico. But the celebrations from a week ago at the US Grand Prix ended with Rosberg topping qualifying and starting the 16th Formula One Mexican Grand Prix from pole position.
Advantage however still was with neither man as the run from grid to turn one sits at 900 metres, plenty of distance to slipstream the opposing driver. Something Lewis indeed attempted after a clean start by both Silver Arrows saw Rosberg hold onto his lead and keep to the inside of the track to hold the lead by turn two for a change. In recent races, Hamilton has barged his way ahead through the opening corner when Rosberg has begun the race from pole.
Behind the Mercedes duel started Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari but a slow start saw him lose third to Kvyat, and then into turn one suffer a puncture following contact with Ricciardo. Seb’s Ferrari team-mate himself started at the back of the grid and Raikkonen swiftly moved through the lower half of the grid over the opening laps, something Vettel would then have to do himself after turning across Ricciardo into the opening corner. But with Daniel on the inside, Seb forced the Red Bull to slide as he locked up trying to avoid a larger crash but a small amount of contact still left the Ferrari with a punctured rear tyre.
As Vettel cruised back to the pits for a change of tyres, Alonso was joining his former team-mate as the McLaren suffered a terminal MGU-H problem. The team actually spotted the issue with Alonso’s power unit last night but could not change the part before the race and knew it could stop at any point. Unfortunately for them, it stopped during the very first lap.
While Vettel set about regaining his lost positions, the race stewards deemed their to be no further action required regarding his contact with Ricciardo. This however left a sour taste in the German’s mouth and opted to vent his frustrations over the team radio. “Where the hell was he supposed to go?” Vettel declared. “I would have had him either way and he puts his front-wing on my rear.”
Other drivers soon began to struggle with tyre life and began pitting earlier on than originally thought. But the action remained with the Ferrari’s as Vettel tucked in behind Button for 11th after missing his moment down the pit straight and had to wait another full lap for a chance to emerge given the narrow track through the middle and last sector.
Once Vettel swooshed by the McLaren under DRS, the German began to create a small lead back to the Brit like Rosberg was doing to Hamilton out in front. But shortly down the road, Seb lost the rear going into turn 8 and badly flat spotted his tyres while also loosing several positions once more due to his spin.
Yet things somehow could be even worse for the four-time World Champion, as proven by Raikkonen as the Finn found himself crashing out of the race in a tangle with Williams’ Finnish driver.
Potentially as revenge for their crash in Russia, Valtteri left his car on the apex of the corner while trying to overtake Raikkonen, except the Ferrari driver tried to turn in on Bottas to keep the position. However strong impact caused the suspension on the rear-right hand corner of Scuderia to brake and end Raikkonen’s race.
After a few laps, the order settled back down with a lot of cat and mouse chasing occurring all around the track. One of the cats chasing down a mouse was Sergio Perez as the home favourite with the weight of a country on his shoulders hunted the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz.
Unfortunately for the fans, an overtake was taken away from them when Carlos locked up and cut across the grass to avoid black spotting his tyres. But knowing a penalty would come should he not yield the position, Sainz backed up going into the stadium and to the roars of the stands, Perez gained the position. Waiting till the Stadium to give the position up also ensured Carlos would remain in DRS zone for the long straight that follows, but he was unable to make use of the advantage.
Once again, the action settled down once Sergio moved ahead of Sainz but in a matter of seconds panic kicked in at Mercedes over the life of the tyres. Their two drivers had been cruising in a world of their own in first and second, but out of nowhere Rosberg peeled into the pits for a second stop. The team also called Hamilton in to the pits but Lewis initially refused to come in as he felt his tyres were fine. One lap later however, Hamilton obeyed the teams order as they told him the life was near the end with his previous and current sets.
After rejoining the track, Hamilton began pushing hard and set a new fastest lap of the race as Ricciardo darted down the inside of Massa at turn one from what seemed like a mile away as the Williams duo began to struggle with life in their tyres.
Yet as life went from their Pirelli’s, Williams kept both drivers out on track but in a stroke of luck for them the safety car was coming out and they could pit without loosing as much time. Unfortunately for Vettel, it was he who caused the safety car as he again span at the esses but this time into the barrier and out of the race.
Under the safety car, a host of drivers opted to pit for fresh rubber to take them to the end and upon the restart, were racing again. One man using the closed up bunch to his favour was Bottas as he slipstreamed ahead of Kvyat down the pit straight for third, while Rosberg kept hold of the lead once more from Hamilton.
While Hamilton attempted to close the gap to Rosberg, Lewis made a few errors that cost him time. But at the same time, whenever Lewis put the throttle down and set a blistering lap time Nico returned serve.
As the final laps rolled off, Perez held the midfield runners back as his tyres began to fall off and he was no longer able to push. Meanwhile out in front, Rosberg continued to control the gap to Hamilton and took his first win since Austria in June.
Today’s 1-2 finish for Mercedes is their 10th of the season and the Silver Arrows were joined on the podium in the stadium section of the track by Valtteri Bottas. Valtteri ended the race 14.5 seconds back from the winner but two seconds clear of Kvyat after taking the podium spot upon the restart.
For the final points position Grosjean was able to hold of his Lotus counterpart as Maldonado struggled to find a way ahead of the departing Frenchman.
Felipe Nasr also found his race cut short as his brakes caught fire behind the final safety car and pulled the car off the track upon the restart.
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