Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix from pole position, after starting on the soft tyre and then running a one-stop strategy by switching to the medium.
Hamilton was seemingly oblivious to all the chaos that happened behind him, especially in the final few laps, as not, but three drivers fought for third place on the rostrum with the actual place winner not finding out until well after the festivities were over.
Daniel Ricciardo, who started the race on the supersoft but changed to the medium tyre during a virtual safety car period on lap one, fought his way back through the field to eventually stop for more softs for a fast final stint. As such the Red Bull man was charging up behind the battle going on between his teammate, Max Verstappen, who was in third at the time, and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
As Vettel went to put a move on Verstappen, the Dutchman ran across the grass and managed to retain his positions, something the stewards later penalized him for. He crossed the line third, behind Hamilton and Rosberg, but it was Sebastian Vettel on the rostrum after stewards handed Verstappen a 5 second penalty.
But that wasn’t the end of the story because as Vettel was fuming at Verstappen’s move, Ricciardo tried a move of his own to which the Ferrari moved across the track under braking in defence, an offence the stewards later penalized hjim for, leaving Ricciardo the eventual third place winner, both in the race and the drivers’ championship.
“I’m glad to see the Stewards making the right decision regarding the Ricciardo-Vettel incident, and it extends our lead over Ferrari in the Constructors Championship to 62 points,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. “It’s been an interesting end to the Mexican Grand Prix, not one that anyone really wants to see, but I’m delighted for Daniel in having secured 3rd place in the Drivers’ Championship, he’s had an excellent season and deserves it.”
Williams’s driver Valtteri Bottas clocked 372kph on the speed trap (running the medium tyres): quite close to the fastest speed ever seen in a Formula 1 race.
Conditions were warmer than they were during free practice, with track temperatures remaining just below 40 degrees throughout the grand prix. A key part in the day’s strategy calculations was the length of the pit lane: the longest of the season, which increases the time needed to make a pit stop.