Hamilton Wins In Mexico; Rosberg Closes In On Title

Lewis Hamilton wins the 2016 Mexico Grand Prix. [Photo courtesy Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez]

Lewis Hamilton wins the 2016 Mexico Grand Prix. [Photo courtesy Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez]

In an afternoon which provided enthusiastic fans, A winner who tied the second best of all-time wins and a controversial final in the battle for the last podium position greeted the Mexican Grand Prix Sunday afternoon as Lewis Hamilton closed in on his AMG Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg as the current world champion won the 19th round of the formula one world championship at the Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit over his teammate by a little over eight seconds. In a controversial move, Sebastian Vettel climbed the final step of the podium at the last minute when Max Vertsappen was penalized five seconds by overshooting turn one after he passed Vettel and came out in front of the Ferrari driver.

Editor Note: Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has been given a ten-second time penalty for driving ‘dangerously or erratically’ while defending fourth place from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages of Sunday’s Formula 1 Gran Premio de Mexico 2016. Vettel drops from third to fifth in the final classification, with Ricciardo moving up to third and Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen to fourth.

But for Hamilton, he was not only glad he won, but was amazed at how the crowd reactions were.

“It was amazing because of all these people “viva Mexico!” Hamilton exclaimed. “This is honestly the best crowd we get anywhere. In our home country it is always great, but these guys have such a great passion. I love it here. I have had tacos every night.”

Hamilton was certainly not thinking about food at the start, but how his clutch was going to hold out. The start saw the world champion get out in front, with Rosberg playing a more defensive role and slipping into second place. But Hamilton overshot turn two and went into the grass, only to come out again onto the track. But Hamilton held his own for the rest of the race, and was never threatened by anyone. His victory is his 51st of his career, ties Frenchman and four-time world champion Alain Prost. His victory now only puts him 19 points behind Rosberg with two race left in the season.

Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein was the only retirement of the race, after striking Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson on the opening lap at the first corner and heavily damaging the left side of his car.

While Hamilton was leading easily and Rosberg quite a way behind but with no threat in back of him, Vettel was having a tremendous fight for third with Verstappen, who was losing time on the Ferrari pilot. Their battle was so intense that Daniel Ricciardo was gaining time on both of them. With just a few laps remaining, Vertsappen overshot turn one after passing Vettel and came out onto the track in front of Vettel. But instead of yielding the position back to Vettel because he had made an infraction, Verstappen continued on and finished the race in third.

Vettel afterwards was fuming, even swearing into the F.I.A. radio about the situation. Something that the chief of the race control, Charlie Whiting was not too impressed with, even if he had two more races to go before he retires from the sport. On the podium, Vettel explained what happened.

“I was using a lot of sign language.” Vettel stated. “You have to understand the adrenaline. Then obviously he (Verstappen) left the track and didn’t move and so you can understand why I was annoyed. I was really disappointed when I crossed the line, but then I was told to come up here.”

Ricciardo just missed out on the podium altogether, just having one chance to pass Vettel but failed during his fight with Verstappen, but held on enough to finish fourth nonetheless. Vertsappen was penalized five seconds for his actions and took fifth, while Kimi Raikkonen was sixth. Nico Hulkeneberg spun during the race, but managed to finished seventh, and the Williams pair of Valterri Bottas and Felipe Massa, took eighth and ninth, respectively. For the home fans, Sergio Perez finished in tenth and the last point position.

Hamilton, who still has not spoken much with his teammate, had the sportsmanship to still complement Rosberg as his moment to win his fourth title is now beginning to run out of time.

“Nico (Rosberg) is doing a great job.” Hamilton continued. “I’m really grateful the team did a great job.”

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