Lewis Hamilton has beaten team-mate Nico Rosberg to take victory for the first time in the Mexico Grand Prix. It was a race Hamilton needed to beat Rosberg in so he could close his team-mate down in the championship if he had a hope of retaining his title.
Max Verstappen was stripped of third and then re-awarded fourth on appeal after further investigations into the incident with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Verstappen orginally handed a ten second penalty for forcing Vettel off and then refused to hand the place back to the Dutchman. Vettel said over team radio that Verstappen needed to “”Move! Move! For BEEP sake.” As the Red Bull refused to move out his way and a decision saw him demoted before the appeal before the podium.
Vettel also attacked the FIA race director Charlie Whiting for not making Verstappen move over. When his race engineer tried to tell him, the incident would be investigated after the race by saying “Charlie said…”, he was cut off by Vettel yelling: “Yeah?! Here’s a message to Charlie! F— off! F— off!”
Verstappen told Sky Sports “I think it is pretty similar to what happened in corner one, Lewis went off and got a massive advantage and Nico went off when we touched. I didn’t even get an advantage, I was the same length in front, so i think it is ridiculous.”
This now means with Verstappen’s and Vettel’s penalties the race result is third Ricciardo, fourth Verstappen and fifth Vettel.
It was a great drive from the three-time champion who showed he can come back on his team-mate to close the lead that Rosberg has had over him since the summer break. Hamilton knows now a win in Brazil and if Rosberg were to retire would give him control of the championship for the first time since Singapore.
Verstappen’s team-mate Ricciardo finished fifth. The Australian also had an incident with Vettel earlier in the race. When the two came close in a fight for position later in the race, the German was in no mood to play easy with both cars’ front wheels locked up as they arrived at the apex. Vettel just managed to have enough momentum to hold the position around the outside retaining fourth.
Vettel was deemed to have broken the new rule brought in last Thursday which states “Any change of direction under braking which results in another driver having to take evasive action will be considered abnormal and hence potentially dangerous to other drivers. Any such move will be reported to the stewards.”
Ricciardo was also annoyed with Vettels conduct in his fight with Verd”He (Vettel) did what everyone has been complaining about – moving under braking. He’s smiling now but for me he doesn’t deserve to be on the podium. He kept on closing the door under braking and in the end, I had nowhere to go.”
Rosberg knows he can finish behind his team-mate in both remaining races and clinch his first will title. But anything lower than eighth in Brazil and a victory for Hamilton will hand Rosberg the title. Hamilton made a mistake at the start locking up and running wide.
Kimi Raikkonen passed Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg in the closing stages to take sixth as Hulkenberg spun allowing the Fin through. It was always going to be tough for Raikkonen after the two stop strategy saw him lose time to the leaders.
Valtteri Bottas finished eighth ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa and Mexican Sergio Perez took the final point for Force India. Sabuer’s Marcus Ericcson had his best finish of his career finishing fourteenth behind both the McLaren’s.
With Hulkenberg seventh and Perez tenth it meant Force India sealed fifth place in the constructor’s championship.
Jenson Button was twelfth and Fernando Alonso thirteenth. Manors pascal Wehrlein was the only retirement.