Rate the Race and driver of the weekend 2017 Round 18, Mexico
Rate the race: Mean Reader score 6.84
This year’s race scored slightly higher than last year (6.45) and much higher than 2015 (4.70)
With Hamilton being 66 points ahead of nearest rival Vettel, a good race for Vettel (i.e. a win) was crucial to keep the championship going until the next race. Putting in a stunning qualifying lap in Q3, Vettel took his 50th career pole and it looked as if the WDC could indeed continue in Brazil. However this optimism was short lived with a collision between Verstappen and Vettel taking off some of Vettel’s front wing and another between Vettel and Hamilton taking off the rest, lap one ended with the two championship leaders in the pits. Vettel had his damaged wing replaced and Hamilton his punctured tyre. Hamilton came out P20 and Vettel in P19. The rest of the race saw Vettel move up from P19 to P4 and Hamilton progress from P20 to P9, which was enough to secure his fourth WDC.
Ocon qualified in P6 and finished in P5: Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Hartley, Ericsson and Sainz didn’t finish at all, Verstappen finished first and Alonso reminded us what great racing he could provide if only he could get himself a decent car. Vettel had to make do with the F1 Driver of the Day and Fastest lap awards.
Driver of the Weekend: Max Verstappen (60.38% of reader vote)
Determined to make up for not getting onto the podium last time out and with nothing to lose, Verstappen set off like a Red Bull in a China shop, getting into P1 by turn one and staying there for the rest of the race. His team told him to slow down, to no avail as he didn’t listen. It was win or bust, making this his third ‘just beautiful’ career win. Well done Max!!
(Q: is the Kvyat effect real or is it all just a series of fortuitous coincidences?)