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Featured Mexican GP Debrief: Tempers Flare While Hamilton Eases to Victory

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    hammexico.JPG The end result may have been fairly routine, but a healthy dose of controversy kept things interesting at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez

    Two must-wins down, two to go for Lewis Hamilton.

    His second win in as many weeks, Hamilton was once again able to get the best of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, keeping alive his championship hopes in a race that was an enchilada full of controversy.

    Seemingly inconsistent penalties, a game of musical chairs for third, and a four-time world champion going nuclear highlighted what was an undeniably stormy race. Starting on pole, Hamilton locked-up going into the first turn but maintained his lead as despite cutting the corner, the stewards deemed he hadn’t gained an advantage – a cloudy decision made worse when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was given a 5-second time penalty for a similar move on lap 68. The penalty was enough to demote Verstappen off the podium, although the man who replaced him, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, was also demoted for moving under braking while trying to defend from Daniel Ricciardo – a punishment meted-out after Vettel had already earned a spot on the naughty list with an expletive-laden rant on team radio against both Verstappen and race director Charlie Whiting.

    Thus in the end it was Red Bull’s Ricciardo who joined the Mercedes pair on the podium – albeit not concurrently – while questions over Hamilton and Vettel’s incidents dominated the post-race discussion. Read on for a closer look at just what exactly went down at the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix.

    mexham.JPG Hamilton Escapes Stewards’ Wrath to Go Back-to-Back in North America

    Lewis Hamilton needed this win, and he got it. But should he have? For fans and drivers alike, that question has proven equally divisive.

    Once again comfortably ahead of Nico Rosberg in Saturday qualifying, Hamilton could have seen his advantage evaporate after a nervy start on Sunday. Just as in Austin the Brit was untroubled off the line, but after locking his front-right tyre decided to skip turn 2 completely before re-joining at turn 3, a move that at least live, seemed to have given him an advantage. In any case, the safety car-inducing incident between Pascal Wehlein and Marcus Ericsson seemed to nullify the issue, as Hamilton managed to escape the stewards’ ire entirely.

    Having dominated the rest of the race, much has been made of what was essentially its turning-point, and understandably so, particularly given what would later happen to the aforementioned Max Verstappen. With Sebastian Vettel right on his tail, he also suffered a lock-up into turn 1, opting to re-join at turn 3, refusing to give-up his position in what was probably a Red Bull (despite what we initially heard on team radio) order to back Vettel into Daniel Ricciardo. That move was an open-and-shut penalty from the stewards, making Hamilton’s reprieve look all the more curious.

    Driver opinion was split on Hamilton, with Rosberg (the man who stood to benefit most from a Hamilton penalty) suggesting it was “OK”, while Ricciardo admitted “[he didn’t] know what was different with [Verstappen’s] move and Lewis'”, and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg remained adamant Hamilton had gained a “massive advantage”. Of course, the stewards’ opinion is all that really matters in these cases, so what could have been their reasoning?

    There’s two things that work in Hamilton’s favour, the first being that unlike Vettel, Rosberg was not racing with Hamilton, but actually busy fighting with (funnily enough) Verstappen, with his own off-track sojourn making his teammate’s advantage appear larger than it actually was. The second is that unlike those of us watching on TV, the stewards do have access to the telemetry – meaning they would know for sure if Hamilton lifted, or if Verstappen didn’t, and that’s an important factor to consider.

    That said, Hamilton is far from absolved. He may have lifted, but “gaining an advantage” shouldn't only be a question of time won/lost, but also whether a driver has actually had to pay for their mistake. A popular refrain in the wake of Sunday was to introduce more gravel traps, and while that’s probably unfeasible for most circuits looking to host different varieties of motorsport, shouldn’t such errors be met with more than just a maintenance of the status quo? If the surface outside track-limits isn’t going to penalise a driver, why shouldn’t the stewards step in?

    Following from this is the issue that stewarding of F1 races remains an essentially amateur operation. It’s the only major sport where the people responsible for enforcing the rules have no formal qualifications, nor training, and can drop in or out as they please. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Alan Jones or Nigel Mansell, there’s no consistency across the season, let alone within an individual race.

    Penalty aside, Hamilton does deserve plaudits for what would have been a deceptively difficult afternoon. The ease with which he ended up winning really belies just how tricky his opening stint was, as the vibration from his flat-spot was bad enough Mercedes considered pitting him immediately to save his suspension. To survive that and ease away from Rosberg shows just how good his form currently is. Instead expect the noise to continue, with Hamilton having no choice but to block-out the criticism as he prepares for his toughest test yet at Interlagos.

    vetmex.jpg Vettel’s Rant the Highlight of Spicy Sunday

    Since F1 introduced a fan-voted “driver of the day” award at the start of this season, the results have often been farcical. On Sunday the fans got it right, awarding it to the one, the only, Sebastian Vettel.

    No, it wasn’t because he was the best driver (otherwise Rio Haryanto would’ve won for successfully navigating the path between his couch and the fridge), but on a day with plenty of animosity to go-round, it was Vettel whose star burned the angriest.

    It’s no secret that the last few months have been particularly trying for both Vettel and Ferrari as they’ve failed to build on the promise of 2015, with team-radio outbursts being a frequent outlet for his frustrations. Sunday’s edition was the best yet, going off on not just nemesis Max Verstappen, but Charlie Whiting also. Whether they deserved it or not, part of what makes motorsport such a good fit for TV is that the viewer gets to listen to those heat-of-the-moment conversations. Undoubtedly he wishes he could take back his choice words for Whiting, but outrage at officials is a fairly established part of all sport, it’s just rare that we get to hear it.

    What’s more is there is something of a delicious irony that Vettel, who as a young superstar at Red Bull – with his dreaded finger, feistiness on-track and repeated butting of heads with senior-figure Mark Webber – rubbed many onlookers the wrong way, now finds himself locked in a clash with a tempestuous young talent of his own in Max Verstappen. His finger wag to Verstappen after crossing the finish was highly amusing, particularly as he was later given his own “no-no” by the stewards for a Verstappen-esque block under braking, which given he’d pushed to include in the rulebook, only heightened the irony.

    The quintessential wunderkind, Vettel’s transformation to the F1-equivalent of middle-age has been fascinating to watch, but in Verstappen he’s found someone who (intentionally or not) seems to find every button to there is to press, momentarily wiping out any semblance of the German’s maturity. In a year that has lacked competitiveness, their clashes have become a highlight – let’s just hope that next year, they can do it over more than breadcrumbs.

    Should Hamilton have been penalised for cutting the first corner? Has Rosberg slipped since Suzuka? Is the Vettel-Verstappen rivalry good for F1? Sound off in the comments below.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
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  2. Hamilton's advantage was not negated entirely by the safety car as the advantage at the start is not the same as the pure gap advantage you think about when past the opening first few laps. By taking a short cut he avoided being possibly passed due to his terrible braking into the first corner and since the VSC didn't come into effect for an additional corner or more that's a lot of time for Rosberg to have potentially passed him.

    How to fairly penalize that given the VSC? No idea. The standard giving seconds off at the end does not in any way accurately reflect the advantage though so it would have to have been a penalty given in situ instead of post facto.
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  3. Lets say Hami gets 5 sec penalty for his action...he would still won the race with his race pace.
  4. snyperal


    I think i saw hami ease up and give any advantage gained back. Then the vsc came out, then the safety car so i think any advantage he gained he yielded. I think if they were that bothered, they would've given him a 5 sec extra on his pit stop, and it would've been interesting to see if he could've pulled that much away, i think he had that much advantage over rosberg, however i cannot recall. I honestly enjoyed the race, good to see hami closing the gap, better to see rosberg under pressure and verstappo having a lunge. I honestly thing stappo could've caught rosberg but if he had overtaken him, i think his tyre wear would've swung back in favour of rosberg.

    Vettel losing it on the radio was pretty funny, I dont know if the recording was live, but him ranting and losing his mind is what gave ricciardo the opportunity and resulted in that dodgy defensive move. That being said, they both showed amazing skill to both make the corner, and only rub each other a tad. Great skill there.

    I wanted to see alonso and butty do better, but any radio interaction with Alonso seems in good spirits, whereas buttons is usually moaning or mentioning a problem with the car. I can understand Alonso's frustrations knowing that at his prime he is going to under achieve as an f1 driver. A pity because i think he brings a lot to the series.,
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  5. In F1 history, you only have to give a place back if you gained a place illegally. It was not the case with Verstappenn, as he did not gain a place. That penalty is quite unique in history of F1. Vettel's behaiviour is that of a child that has been spoiled for too long at Redbull, (ask Webber about that).
    The penalty to Verstappenn looks like a FIA (Ferrari International Assistence), in order to save Ferrari's face from a deceaving season where not only they could not match Mercedes but also lost to Redbull.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
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  6. Richard Hessels

    Richard Hessels

    Vettel should talk less and drive more, every time you are talking instead of driving you lose concentration = time. Max was on the edge like always. But my hero for this race was Ricciardo, he came from the back of the field after his first pitstop, overtook the whole field and was still be able to battle for second/third place in the last lap.
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  7. fortyfivekev


    You know it's boring when the commentator spends half the race checking to see if Bottas can beat Montoya's speed record. Lucky about those last 5 laps really livened things up.
  8. snyperal


    I heard maldonado held the speed record for the hybrid era at that circuit last year, i am wondering if he bothered to break when he got to the end of the straight?
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  9. I thought there was something called track limits now in place, similar to what in Automobilista, where If you go outside those limits your penalized. Well If Hamilton's move wasn't outside those limits why have the rules at all? Mexico has had a history of limits as far as F1 races, look at those old races where tires were half buried next to the track, you hit one of those and its pretty much all over. Then again I saw practice and I can't remember who but one driver got up on the curbs and cracked the tub in the car having to have it all rebuilt.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. airutonpurosuto8912


  11. I really don't understand how "he didn't get advantage", how's that ?
    He clearly was.
    He was like few meter's away from them before turn and just look where he was on exit.
    Like Hulk said... he did take a "massive advantage" and... they bend the rules for him today.
    Sebastian was over the line with that radio messages but no one mentioned really cowardly Verstappen behaviour. He was clearly trying to slow Sebastian for Daniel to be able to jump him. Is that allowed ?
    How is Verstappen drives this year that "no turn under braking" rules won't be the only one they have to implement. :D
    Max is slowly becoming somekind F1 brat. He want one rules for him and other for others.
    And this is my (and my only, I didn't read that anywhere up to now) theory - Seb didn't actually move on the breaking, he was just trying to overtake Verstappen. So, I agree with Arrivabene.. that penalty was too harsh. And I'm not Seb's fan. Afaik. :D

    No advantage track cutting, proudly presented by FIA.

    Hilarious. :giggle:

    No, he wouldn't.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
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  12. aphidgod

    'bout to cut some sh-- up with my crab hand. Premium

    Is current F1 the most unthrilling motorsport of all time? I can't think of a contender off hand.

    Seriously, the two most exciting things to talk about after this one are a radio message and a penalty that wasn't given... FFS.
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  13. As I said in the other thread, I think it would have been fair if Lewis was given a penalty, but the stewards probably deemed it unnecessary given that a) the 2nd and 3rd place cars actually collided b) Lewis slowed down and let them catch back up and c) the virtual safety car came out right after - which in spite of its intention, is known to close gaps down.

    Although there was that recent "clarification," I was surprised Vettel was given the penalty. It's clear that he "moved under braking" a little, but Verstappen was not exactly way off in the distance. What is more surprising is the rigidity of how that rule was enforced here, given the overall inconsistency of steward decisions. I admit I'm not sitting here rewatching the video to see exactly how far ahead, the trajectory, etc. but it does seem silly in a 3 way battle that you may need to hit another car because doing otherwise is a "violation." I wonder if Vettel's little rant left the stewards feeling like he deserved some kind of penalty and that was just the lowest hanging fruit.
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  14. Queequeg


    That's a mean Haryanto burn, Ben! :roflmao:

    I am glad the stewards do like to enforce the track limits at least once in a while. Verstappen's penalty for leaving the track was entirely deserved.

    The only way to justify not penalizing Hamilton for the same move is having telemetry that clearly shows him lifting - I really hope that exists somewhere, but we mere peasants won't get to see it for ourselves. :mad:

    Vettel moving under braking is quite a bit ironic, but I did and do like to see the rule pertaining to this implemented and enforced. Before its addition it was just a loophole in the rules waiting to be exploited by anyone ruthless enough. Something makes me think that Vettel's undiplomatic outburst did not help his situation during the steward's decision making process though.

    Ricciardo drove a great race from way down the grid and is a deserving podium finisher. He certainly got a bit lucky in the end, but he laid the foundation for that himself by driving very well for the whole race.
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  15. Fernando Alonso 'Not at All Happy' in Formula 1, Considering Leaving for Le Mans.
    Great Talent but not able to be at the top. Life can be hard sometimes. Also time is passing and he is getting older.
    As for the top 3 teams the door is closed. He should consider Williams to replace Massa.
    It is his only hope of showing his deserved value.
    Mclaren entered a dead end with the Honda engine even though Maclaren Honda has been great in the past. The problem with Honda and F1 engines is that you need great talent building those engines. Resources only is not enough.

    Edit: Ron Dennis only hope of wining a F1 title was leaving Mercedes, but choosing Honda turned out to be a costly decision. He should go back to Mercedes next season or else the team will struggle in 2017.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
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  16. he should have been given Drive through!
    if he was second - by yielding position to Rosberg, the race would have been very different story

    this move therefore has had major influence on the race, and that's why I'm quite upset that he wasn't given the penalty

    5 second (or so) penalties are also bad idea, becasue they might not really change outcome and therefore people won't be that afraid to break rules, ... if he was given drive through (and ruined his chances for championship) he would think twice before doing this in future

    the fact he got away with it sends a message,.. "it's fine if you are driver that is generally liked .. "
    • Agree Agree x 2
  17. Steve Bird

    Steve Bird
    Racing Since 1978 Premium

    I used to love Formula 1. I have been to over 30 GP's all over the world and feel like the majority of modern day F1 drivers are whinging "Daddy's Boys" who kick off when things aren't going their way. Bring back Mansell, Senna and prost and let them sort it out man to man in the pits like the old boys did :). Also, showing complete and utter contempt for the Clerk of the Course over comms will always land you in bother no matter what formula you race in. Just watch what happens in the future with Mr Vettel.
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  18. FIA has concluded that he "lifted" nad therefore there's no need for any penalty.
    Laughing my *ss really hard.
    So, he should be going with FULL THROTTLE on the grass - then they would ...consider it. :laugh:
    How the hell can you go through the grass with full throttle all the way ? :confused:
    At some point he has to "lift off" for some percentage. Did he brake on the grass ?
    Yeah, didn't think so... :rolleyes:
    Yeah but... how ? To clone them ?
    And you forget Piquet.
    One of my favorite is that boxing match in Germany.... which year was it ~ '83 somewhere, with Nelson Piquet, after he crash with that poor rookie in the chicane. :D Oh... those were the days...
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  19. [​IMG]
    Not moving under braking???
    Verstappen was way in front there, so Vettel could not overtake verstappen at all
  20. Yeah, I wonder why he couldn't overtake him on the first place.
    Cuz that pimple face Mad Max played against the rules ...all day long.
    Ok, watching that gif... Seb did move under breaking. I try to be realistic. But know what ?
    Look closely - there's so much space between Daniel and track end. It almost seems to me like he didn't want to avoid the contact ? :O_o: And look at the distance from which he start to "overtake".
    And, in all honesty, between all included in all these incidents (incl. Ham and Nico) Daniel is my favorite driver. So can't really say I'm biased.
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