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Featured Mexican GP Debrief: Fourth Time’s the Charm for Rosberg

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    rosbergmexpodium.jpg Taking his first win since June, Nico Rosberg’s ability was on full display as he took a commanding victory in Mexico City

    With the 2015 driver’s championship officially off the table for Nico Rosberg, Sunday’s race went a long way to prove just what he’s capable of.

    Starting on pole for the fourth time in as many races, Rosberg was able to banish the curse that had plagued his previous three starts, taking his first victory since the Austrian Grand Prix over five months ago. Coincidentally, that happens to be the last time he bested teammate Lewis Hamilton in a race they both finished.

    A race that originally had a 95% chance of rain, instead we were given a bone-dry afternoon that lacked much of the excitement from its tumultuous Austin predecessor, with two early incidents and a late safety car doing the most to spice up an otherwise-routine race. Nevertheless, the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix had its fair share of talking points, so let’s get to it.

    rosbergmexico.jpg Rosberg bests Hamilton for four in 2015

    Say what you will about Nico Rosberg, but no one gets the better of him from pole four straight times.

    Having conceded his initial P1 to Lewis Hamilton by the end of each of the last three races, Rosberg was finally able to deliver on his Saturday pace with an equally impressive Sunday drive. The German started in the best possible way, with a smooth launch off the line that allowed him to both keep the lead and cover off the middle of the track, leaving Hamilton nowhere to deploy his customary aggression.

    Whenever Hamilton comes out on top between the two, it’s easy to point out Rosberg’s lack of an answer for whatever his teammate is doing, so it’s only right to highlight when the roles are reversed. After winning the race to the first corner, Rosberg was in complete control, matching Hamilton for pace and forcing his teammate to back off early so as to manage brake and tyre temperatures in the unforgiving Mexican heat. Maintaining his edge through the pit-window, Rosberg was as comfortable and composed as he’s been all year. And while the timing of Rosberg’s performance may not help his championship aspirations, it was somehow only right he brought his “A-game” in Mexico – it’s about time a German did something to make up for the Zimmermann telegram.

    Lost in Hamilton’s march towards a second straight title, Rosberg should be given credit for lifting his game even as his championship prospects have dwindled. What made those previous races so disappointing was that he wasn’t completely lacking for answers – as he had been for much of the season – but could never effect a solution either. Today was a different story, and he couldn’t have been more impressive in writing it.

    mexicogpfans.JPG Mexico leaves its mark in return to F1

    Perhaps best known to the wider world for their iconic cuisine, Mexico proved this weekend that it has a sizable appetite for Formula 1 also.

    Always making up a sizable contingent of fans at previous GPs in Texas, the Mexicans were out in full force for their first race in 23 years. Considering the reception the drivers got, it’s a wonder why F1 didn’t get back here sooner.

    Throughout the weekend TV viewers were greeted with amazing scenes of packed grandstands cheering on the drivers (local boy Sergio Perez getting the sort of reception to rival any favourite of Monza’s tifosi) and just generally relishing the sport’s return to their country. However what really stood out to someone watching from over 14,000km away was just the positivity displayed by the Mexican fans. In particular, their chanting of “Nico! Nico!” after Rosberg parked in parc ferme was fantastic to see – if only he’d taken his earplugs out, he would’ve enjoyed it even more! Still, it made a nice change to some of the post-race booing we’ve experienced in recent times *cough*Aussie fans*cough*Seb Vettel*cough*.

    Unfortunately the on-track action wasn’t anywhere near as good as those fans deserved – on the basis of this race alone, the track would seem to not be among the best for passing, despite its heavy braking zones – but as we saw in Sochi, impressions can easily change. Still, its exceptionally thin air and heat forced drivers to manage gaps so as to cool their brakes in clear air – but that could also work in its favour, especially with the proposition of three tyres compounds to choose between from next year onwards.

    Maybe the one thing that needs immediate examining is the timing of the race in relation to the US GP. The FIA’s provisional calendar for 2016 currently has the race set for two weeks after CotA, but that might not be enough to allay attendance concerns at the American race its closeness did this year. Ideally F1 would give singular attention to both races, as it is clearly a market ripe for the picking.

    kimimexico.jpg Rivalry brewing between Bottas and Raikkonen?

    Despite Nico Rosberg’s victory on Sunday, his rivalry with Lewis Hamilton remains settled, at least for this year. At the same time however, there’s one that’s just starting to heat up – the Ice Man versus the Nice Man.

    Coming together for the second time in three races, Finns Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen find themselves locked in a battle for both on-track righteousness and championship standing. In a close facsimile of their clash in Sochi, Sunday’s episode saw Raikkonen knocked out of the race after turning in on a diving Bottas, who had managed to put half his car alongside going into turn 5.

    Where Mexico’s incident differentiated was in Bottas’s positioning prior to the corner, as he managed to draw his car alongside well before the pair entered the turn. This was no opportunistic lunge, but such moves are always a high-risk/high-reward game, and Raikkonen was obviously having none of it. An unfortunate racing incident for the elder Finn, but sometimes fortune favours the bold.

    What this incident is most notable for is not just its sense of déjà vu, but the situation it encapsulates between the two drivers, and the ramifications it could have for them heading forward. Currently on 126 points in the driver’s championship, Sunday’s result gives Bottas a three-point lead heading into the final two races of the season, and very much sets up the younger Finn for a “changing of the guard”, in every sense of the word. Bottas is known to be a potential target to replace Raikkonen in 2017, and beating Kimi in a less-consistent car would only solidify his candidacy. As things stands, both drivers have everything to fight for.

    Were you impressed by Rosberg’s victory? Where do you rank Mexico in recent additions to the F1 calendar? Which Finn will finish the year on top? Sound off in the comments below.
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  2. Chris Stacey

    Chris Stacey
    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium Member


    Reminds me of Vitas Gerulaitus the tennis player saying: "And let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row.", after finally beating Jimmy Connors. Ha!
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  3. Loved the move by Bottas. Kimi must have been blind or stupid to have not left more room.
  4. elloLeo Kinnunen

    elloLeo Kinnunen
    Premium Member

    There seems to be a lot of disagreement about leaving and not leaving room in different circumstances. In this case, on the immediately preceding corner I think Kimi, with the inside line, had the right to run Bottas out of road. Almost the same as Hamilton had the right to do to Rosberg at Austin 1st corner, except that Kimi didn't actually go so far as to push Bottas completely off the track. I think this was more out of sportsmanship from Kimi than inability. My guess is that Kimi had in mind that Bottas understood this unexercised right and so that Bottas should have yielded the next corner where the accident happened. Instead Kimi found himself punished for not fully pushing his advantage on the previous corner.

    Is there anything explicit in the regs about leaving racing room other than the one car's width when making a second defensive movement in a braking zone to retake the racing line thing? If 'leaving racing room' is supposed to help produce wheel to wheel racing, as opposed to wheel into wheel racing, in this case I think it failed.

    (My 2c, Bottas should have backed out of it)
  5. I don't believe anyone ever has the right to run people off the road, whats more this isn't one corner, its two corners and if Bottas was on the outside of the first corner then thats that corner done, then we have the following corner where Bottas clearly is on the inside and clearly has the position to fight for it. From then on in my opinion decent racecraft would involve the two fighting it out on the exit, to see who got it better and with the nature of this corner where the impact was its clear that Kimi didn't want to go off the line because it would have meant killing his exit and thus losing position to Bottas.

    I have no idea why you think Bottas should have yielded the next corner. Side by side racing isn't a game of racing to the first corner in a complex of corners then surrendering the line to the other guy who by the nature of the corners strung together is out of position subsequently. Bottas stayed as far inside as he could and there was road enough for Raikkonen to stay inbounds but he shut the door instead. When there's room for two cars I see no reason why its correct form to expect someone to give it up.

    I don't know what this is meant to refer to in this circumstance.
  6. :confused:
    Is this actually happened ? Or is it just a great joke ? :)

    About that Raikkonen/Bottas incident... imo, it's all about contact, it's always like that, if they didn't touch it would be just another great pass by Bottas, if Rosberg didn't back off in 1st curve in USA it would be all another story. Similar to this one.
    It's so thin line between "a way to agressive move" (which probably leads to [un]deserved penalty) and "ohhhh, I've never seen anything like this, what a great move, he's done it again!" exaggerated TV commentary.
    Basically, it's all about what the other guy do.
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  7. Chris Stacey

    Chris Stacey
    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium Member

    It's real :)
    Jimmy Connors had beaten Gerulaitis on the previous 16 times they faced eachother.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  8. fortyfivekev

    Premium Member

    Tried to be enthusiastic about the current track but having good memories of the old layout and even simracing there in the Geoff Crammond days it just made me sad every time they went through the rubbish "stadium" section :(
  9. Ah... amazing! Now I have one brand new super cool joke to talk about. Thanks! :thumbsup:
    Aw c'mon.... you're the only one who doesn't apreciate those "football fever" crowd. All joke aside... it was great to see how they give Nico well deserved cheer. He was surprised I think. Maybe even thought "oh c'mon, that was a little bit exaggerate, I drive Mercedes for God's sake". :)
    On a more serious note, old layout has.... something.... that new doesn't.
    And it's not (only) the last curve.
    I already said on another topic, this is too much "Mickey Mouse" track to me.
    Why they doesn't make Mosport type of track anymore?
    We run out of the hills?
  10. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
    Premium Member

    I read a good article about new track design (about 4 years ago) and for one reason or another the new designs are limited to a maximum camber and a maximum incline in each corner. Whether it's a safety thing or because of view of the cars (sponsorship visibility?).


    Spa (Eau Rouge), Sao Paulo (Senna S) for example get away with it because of the historic nature of the track.

    So a Mosport or Paddock Hill style bend wouldn't be allowed on any new circuit design.

    I'm not sure about COTA though that first corner is pretty steep! Maybe it's a gradual incline and that's how they got it passed.

    But yes I agree with you, the Mexican crowd were amazing and they thoroughly deserve to have their Grand Prix back, just a shame the track wasn't a little more special.
  11. Those track regs are absurd. I don't even know what to say. It says something when most of the most iconic corners or series of corners in motorsport or the character of entire tracks is against modern regulations.

    I wonder what they'll say in 50 years. Eau Rouge will probably seem even more crazy.
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  12. I don't know... we're a bit offtopic here:geek: but does it mean if the track is hill(bill)y - it is dangerous?? :O_o:
    It doesn't have to be every corner Eau Rouge alike but... Mosport just come to my mind first but there so many other examples there. But hey... it's like with girls, you know... "I prefer brunettes, only" then come one blonde and steals you heart. That being said... my most fun track to race is Portland/Vaport. If you're not familiar with it, let me tell you - it's flat as a pancake. So... is there a point, perhaps?
    If there's any - there's no need for some big hills, it's all about great curves I guess.
    (why I'm thinking right now about girls once again?:x3:)
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  13. elloLeo Kinnunen

    elloLeo Kinnunen
    Premium Member

    If Bottas was forced to leave enough space for Kimi on the exit of the second corner this would indeed be good race craft, exciting to watch, and incidentally would make good consistent regulations that all drivers could adhere to. I admit I don't know what it says about this in the regs, but from drivers' comments it sounds like I'm not alone.

    I don't agree with you that Kimi would have lost out if they'd both left each other enough room on exit because Bottas had such a tight angle to the apex. In this case it would make no sense for Kimi to crash in to Bottas because he was "blind or stupid"... instead I think Kimi turned into Bottas because he thought Bottas would run him out wide on the second exit - i.e. because the regs don't appear to be clear on this.
  14. Timmieturner12

    Premium Member

    Yes I was, didn't expect him to put up such a fight after having lost the title. Though I had the quaint feeling that Lewis wasn't pushing as hard as he could. Though still a very dominant performance by Nico and I congratulate him with the win. Where do I rank Mexico, hmmm that's a good one, on a scale of 1-10 I have to say that this circuit provides everything, from straights to fast corners to s'ses to slow corners. The podium looks epic too, makes me kinda think about Monza. I think Bottas will end the year on top, he found the right form a couple of races ago and he would've finished in P3 too in Sochi if it wasn't for Raikkonen. So with how the recent few races have gone I have to say Bottas will take it.
  15. fortyfivekev

    Premium Member

    The crowd were great and having the podium in front of them was good. It's just a shame to replace a classic super quick corner with mickey mouse stuff. Long term it won't help the sport. I will remember Senna trying to take the Peraltada in 6th gear and crashing out long after I have forgotten last weekend's race.

    I don't know why they have to change the circuits to suit the cars when it would make way more sense to change the cars. And whatever happened to changing the brake cooling to suit the circuit or being able to run when it is actually raining not just a bit damp?