A tough race for Ferrari at the Formula 1 Gran Premio de Mexico 2015 with their first double DNF since 2006.
F1’s return to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez produced a fascinating 71 laps of racing, in which Rosberg defeated his team mate Lewis Hamilton. With a late safety car which bunched the pack up, Bottas was able to jump the Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat on the restart to secure his podium place.
Kvyat held on to fourth, fending off team mate Daniel Ricciardo, while Felipe Massa finished sixth in the sister Williams. Sergio Perez was beaten to seventh in his home race by Force India team mate Nico Hulkenberg, and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean completed the top ten.
Rosberg took the lead at the start, and though he and Hamilton then traded fastest laps time and again, he was always in control in the cleaner air. By the 51st lap he had stretched his advantage to 3.0s, with Hamilton disgruntled to have been ordered to stop for a fresh second set of medium tyres on the 48th lap after Rosberg had done so on the 46th.
Four laps later, however, Hamilton got a lifeline when Sebastian Vettel unfortunately crashed his Ferrari and brought out the safety car for six laps.
The Ferrari driver had been in trouble right from the start, after contact with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in the first corner and sustaining a puncture which dropped him to the back of the field after a pit stop. He was fighting back towards the points when he spun at Turn 8 shortly after fighting past Jenson Button’s McLaren on the 17th lap, but it was his shunt at Turn 7 on the 52nd that ended a very hard day for the Scuderia. With Kimi Raikkonen crashing out on the 22nd lap, it was the first time they had had failed to get a car among the classified finishers since the 2006 Australian Grand Prix.
The success, Rosberg’s fourth of the season, went some way to making up for his recent disappointments in Russia and the United States, and boosts him back to second in the drivers’ championship, 21 points clear of Vettel.
The safety car helped Bottas, who earlier had once again collided with fellow countryman Raikkonen when they tangled at Turn 3 as the Ferrari driver tried to close a door through which the Williams pilot was already thrusting his car. The safety car also gave Alexander Rossi a second chance after he’d lost ground to Marussia team mate Will Stevens but was able to move back ahead in the closing stages.
Besides Alonso, Raikkonen and Vettel, the other non-finisher was Felipe Nasr, whose Sauber ran out of brakes shortly after the restart.
Overall the first Mexican Grand Prix of the 21st century was adjudged to have been a major success, and the enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd loved every second of it.
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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