Ambient 22° Track 55° Humidity 40% Wind 0.9 m/s
Hot hot Hot!!! Brakes on fire and thermal issues likely with the brutal and oppressive heat at the circuit today. Managing tyre deg will be key. Ferrari has had the advantage in the heat in the past but do they still. Along with out of position drivers the race promised some interest.
ZOMG Rosberg fails to lose Mexican GP in closing laps and wins sillier hat than Lewis in Russia!!! That won’t sit well with Hamilton for sure. For once, with Lewis behind in the closing laps purists were treated to a rare battle of tenths at the top. Sadly, almost none of it was shown on telly, so only those following with a timing app had any clue to the fierceness of the battle, and even they had no real idea why the gaps contracted and expanded. Mistakes? Traffic? Who knows, let’s watch Maldonado miss a wall instead.
Of course, the real story of the race was the utter meltdown of Ferrari. Vettel was first to lose his storied cool after collecting a puncture from incidental contact with Ricciardo on lap 1. From then on he drove a fairly deranged race that featured not only a self inflicted spin but a rather lengthy argument with his team about tyre choice, being shown blue flags and ordered to comply before being penalised and eventually a sideways slide into the wall after he locked up into T7. Raikkonen managed to beat his teammate in terms of exiting the race however as in an inverse of the incident from
Austin Sochi, Kimi tried to close the door all the way on Bottas on his inside and came away with a destroyed rear suspension on lap 22, whilst Valtteri carried on with no damage.
It was Vettel’s crash that brought out the Safety Car on lap 52 and brought to a halt Hamilton’s chase of Rosberg for 6 laps incidentally. Perez looked to be a big loser as he was kept out on very old Mediums but as it turned out the Softs were a terrible choice and anyone who opted for the Soft tyre, primarily Red Bull and Toro Rosso, gave away places for free. That choice handed P3 fairly effectively to Bottas (who had been trapped behind Kvyat) and Williams who needed a decent result. Still 4th and 5th not a bad result for the Red Bulls, considering where they started. Toro Rosso was looking to Verstappen for their glory but the tyre choice relegated their highlight reel to Sainz’ joker lap against Perez, when he lost it entirely and took a rather interesting line across the grass and back to the track. Fortunately, he was clever enough to give the position to Perez and was able to carry on sans penalty. The restart also featured Nasr catching his brakes on fire (totally not mentioned to vindicate my pre-race prediction) and having to abandon on lap 57) as the lapped runners were released to overtake.
And of course it wouldn’t be a Grand Prix if there wasn’t turmoil at the top and in particular, Mercedes opting for plan B and converting to a 2 stop had Hamilton having a lengthy conversation with his race engineer before coming in. Did Mercedes really need the stop? Was it just to reduce the gap to the rivals?
Grab your tinfoil and have fun arguing that in the comments (nicely) along with everything else! See you in a couple of weeks! (N.B. Mercy rule prevents my mention of Alonso’s first lap retirement. Macca fans advised to grab decent bottle of Tequila from duty free, excuse themselves from the comments and have a Margarita or 7 (rocks, salt, natch) instead)