Lewis Hamilton wins Mexican Grand Prix and ties Prost with 51st victory
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News October 30, 2016 Updated: 10:22 PM
Photo: Mercedes ANG Petronas
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took a milestone victory at Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix by scoring his 51st win and equaling F1 Legend Alain Prost on the All-Time wins list.
“It’s kinda crazy to think I now have 51 wins. It’s a shame these results are coming so late in the season – possibly too late. You can look back at say that maybe if Malaysia didn’t happen then I’d be in a different position right now. But that’s motor racing. All I can do is my best and hope things go as they have done for the past two weekends. History has shown that it’ s never too late – that’s why I keep pushing and doing everything I can to repeat weekends like this,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton finished ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg, who didn’t seem too concerned with trying to take first place as one more second place finish could secure him the championship.
“I had a good getaway and thought I would be able to take the lead from Lewis, when I saw he had a massive lock up and went straight through the grass. Then, suddenly, Verstappen hit me heavily after he had a lock up too and forced me off the track. Luckily my car wasn’t damaged and it didn’t cost me a position. Lewis was that little bit quicker today, so I didn’t manage to achieve my goal and win here again. But being second is not too bad overall,” said Rosberg.
Hamilton’s commanding performance cut the gap between himself and Rosberg to 19 points in the driver’s championship with just two races left in the season.
After struggling with tire temps and rhythm of the track, Nico Rosberg spent most of the race dealing with pressure from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who was head hunting the Mercedes driver.
After Verstappen's second attempt was unsuccessful, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel started to close in on Verstappen. Vettel caught Verstappen on the closing laps, but as he attempted a move at Turn 1, Verstappen locked up and cut Turn 2, after which Verstappen did not respond to team orders instructing him to move aside for Vettel.
After the race the stewards immediately penalised Verstappen five seconds, moving Vettel to third and dropping Verstappen to fifth.
“When I went off the track towards the end I think it was pretty similar to Lewis on lap one, corner one. He went off and I felt he gained an advantage, I didn’t even gain an advantage, I was ahead going into braking and when I came back on the track I was the same distance in front so I don’t understand the penalty. I think it was a small bit of justice that the stewards made the decision to penalised Seb,” said Verstappen.
Vettel was very frustrated with the situation during the closing laps shouting over the radio and using inappropriate language with FIA race director Charlie Whiting when requesting Max Verstappen move to the side, but Vettel would no be the victim as he himself would be investigated by the stewards as well.
Vettel was eventually handed a ten-second penalty which still landed him in fifth place behind Verstappen at the end of the race. Verstappen’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo, would end up taking the third and final spot on the podium.
“I was quite frustrated after the race with the incident and all that, I still had a lot of fun with that battle. And being the hunter at the end is so much more fun than driving around by yourself. The race came alive and obviously it became a bit spicy but it was a cool day. Sure I want to race and having penalties after the race isn’t ideal, but I did feel today that it was called for,” said Ricciardo.
Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg. Raikkonen’s two-stop strategy saw him drop to fifth, then to seventh, but Raikkonen worked his way back to sixth after Hulkenberg spun.
Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa crossed the finish line in eighth and ninth for Williams ahead of Sergio Perez in the second Force India in the tenth and final paying position.