Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Nico Rosberg took victory at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez today at Mexico’s first Formula One race in 23 years.
The German, who took his 4th consecutive podium with today’s race, finally converted it into a win – the 12th of his career, to come back from a disappointing set of races. A petulant Rosberg was seen tossing the second-place cap at teammate Lewis Hamilton in Austin, Texas last week when the Briton sealed the drivers’ championship at the United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton gave his teammate a strong fight at tonight’s race, taking it down to the wire even with only a handful of laps to go as the Briton narrowed Rosberg’s lead. Rosberg staved off the 2015 champion eventually however, with the pair shaking hands after his win. The finish marked Mercedes’ 10th 1-2 of this season.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas rounded off the podium in P3, his second of the year after the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and the 8th of his career. The Finn was involved in a shunt with countryman and Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, with the latter forced to exit the race early on after suffering right rear damage.
The incident, which was investigated by race marshals, did not lead to any action taken.
It was not the first contact of the race however, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo colliding with his former teammate Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari. The 4-time world champion pitted in the first lap for tyres after the bump caused him to suffer a puncture. He was heard complaining on the radio, wondering where Ricciardo was “supposed to go.”
The driver got back on track, but spun out in the 18th lap to get back on track. This meant a drop to P16 for him, which saw him scramble to move back up the grid, at one point chasing Pastor Maldonado in P12.
He spun out of control once more later in the race, crashing into the barriers and bringing his race to an end. This meant neither Ferrari would classify in the final standings, something that last happened nearly a decade ago at the 2006 Australian Grand Prix, when teammates Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa both retired – Schumacher spinning out of control, and Massa part of a 3-way accident involving himself, Nico Rosberg and Christian Klien of Red Bull.
The earliest retirement of the race went to McLaren’s Fernando Alonso – his 7th of the year – as he had engine problems in the first lap and came into the garage almost immediately. A calm but distressed Alonso told reporters he “just want(ed) to forget this race and head to the airport now.” The two-time World Champion has had repeated issues with the Honda power units this year, as has his teammate Jenson Button.
Button, who finished outside the points today in P14, spotted a brake fire in Felipe Nasr’s Sauber, reporting it immediately to McLaren. Nasr acknowledged on the radio that his “brakes are done,” retiring soon after – the fourth and final retirement of the race.
With the safety cars brought out following Vettel’s crash into the barriers, most drivers pitted for new tyres – with the majority of them on the prime, softs, for the bulk of the race, although Raikkonen had some success early on on the medium compound.
The safety car was pitted in the 58th lap, with Pastor Maldonado narrowly avoiding a crash soon after and Hamilton attempting to close the gap to Rosberg, having some success in narrowing it despite Rosberg setting a personal fastest lap.
Mercedes took another front-row lock-out, with Rosberg, Hamilton and Bottas sharing the podium, followed by Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, who took his career-first Formula One podium at the Hungaroring earlier this year.
Both Williams were in the points, with Massa going P6 behind Kvyat’s teammate Ricciardo. The Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez took P7 and P8 respectively, with young Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean closing out the points among 16 drivers.