No Fiesta for Ferrari - Dramatic Mexican Grand Prix leaves Ferrari taking 5th and 6th after Vettel in trouble with Stewards

Gerhard Berger sprang a surprise in that '86 race by collecting his and Benetton's first Grand Prix win. A year later victory went to Nigel Mansell, although the race had to be stopped after the bumpy surface led to a massive crash for Derek Warwick. One year later Philippe Alliot suffered an even bigger accident in practice, although he was thankfully able to crawl unhurt from the wreckage. Alain Prost won the race, a feat he repeated in 1990, sandwiching Ayrton Senna's only triumph on the circuit. The Brazilian would fall victim to the unpredictable surface in '91, rolling after losing the rear of his McLaren over the Peraltada bumps in qualifying. Riccardo Patrese won for Williams, and one year later followed team mate Nigel Mansell home. 

That would be the final Grand Prix held on the circuit - which still hosted a number of national and international championships over the subsequent years - until a return to the Formula One calendar was sealed for 2015 after an injection of both private and government money. The facility was comprehensively upgraded, with the entire track resurfaced for the occasion and changes made to a number of corners including Peraltada. The event was a huge hit with drivers and fans alike, proving that Mexico still has a very strong appetite for all things F1.

The 2016 race was as exciting as ever. Lewis Hamilton kept his title hopes alive with a comfortable victory from Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the Mexican Grand Prix. Hamilton survived a scare at the start, when he ran wide at the first corner after locking a front tyre. But otherwise he was untroubled en route to his 51st career win.

It was a little further down the road that the drama unfolded.

Ricciardo had been closing on Vettel as he duelled for third with the second Red Bull of Max Verstappen. With Vettel bottled up behind the Dutchman, Ricciardo pounced at Turn 4 and appeared to have the inside line - only for Vettel to squeeze the Australian, with the pair making light contact several times before Vettel eventually fended Ricciardo off to hold position.

"I just felt that Seb did what everyone's been complaining about lately, moving under braking," Ricciardo said of the incident, which stewards are investigating. "He is smiling now. For me he doesn't deserve to be up there [on the podium] with the move he pulled.

"It looked like he opened the door, I committed and had every right to be there, but he kept closing the door and in the end I had nowhere to go.

"I was frustrated by that. We know Max's moves have been a bit questionable - that was the same case today with Seb. Don't get me wrong I love racing, I love racing hard and even a bit of contact, but this whole moving under braking - you don't move after you've been out-foxed.

"Seb moved early, I'd won the chess match you could say, and then he went 'oh no' and moved late and left me nowhere to go. To me that’s not right. It was still a fun race, but I would have loved to be up there on the podium."

Vettel ran a long first stint on the supersoft tyre, and pitting late meant he had fresher tyres to chase Verstappen in the closing laps. He caught the Red Bull but in turn was caught by Ricciardo, leading to a three-way squabble for position. Vettel crossed the line in fouth, was promoted to third, then ended up fifth after a post-race penalty. Raikkonen meanwhile struggled with tyre wear and came home sixth.

Sebastian Vettel, 5th

“Today I think we did everything right, we had a very good pace. I think we could have even done better with a better position in Qualifying, but we can't change yesterday. We were very positive going into the day today, we knew that the speed was there, so we had good confidence for the race. We made the tyres last longer than anybody else. We were quicker, so we put Verstappen under pressure: for sure it was not easy to pass, but he did a mistake, cut the track and didn't give the position back even if he was told to do so. About the fight with Daniel: I respect him a lot, it is never ideal when you touch. On my defense, I was fighting hard, and trying to give him some space, which I think I did.”

Kimi Raikkonen, 6th

“My start was not too bad and we were running quite ok. After the first pit stop, though, I struggled to get any good grip with the Mediums, so we thought maybe we should try and see if we could go back on track with a new set of the same tires: but to be honest I had no better grip at the rear. It was the first time I was running with these tyres, maybe it's just how the tire is. Afterwards it's easy to say that probably it was not the right thing to do, but I'm happy that we tried. It was not easy to pass Hulkenberg, it's difficult when you get close and you have no grip. I don't know if we touched, I just saw him spin.”

It meant that Vettel dropped from third to fifth in the final classification, with Ricciardo moving up to third and Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen - who earlier had five seconds added to his race time for going off track and gaining an advantage whilst battling the four-time champion - to fourth.

In making their decision, the stewards referred to the race director Charlie Whiting’s recent directive in the United States, which stipulated that 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.


With everything on the line at the next race in the iconic Grande Premio Do Brasil in just a few weeks time, all eyes will be on the Mercedes duo.

Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez

First Grand Prix

1963

Number
of Laps

71

Circuit Length

4.304KM

Race Distance

305.354KM

Lap
Record

1:20.521 by Nico Rosberg (2015)




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