2017 Mexico Grand Prix Blog

Well it wasn’t the race he wanted but Lewis Hamilton has done it. The Mexico Grand Prix saw him crowned 2017 Drivers’ Champion and in doing so become the first Brit to ever win four World Titles. Many congratulations, Lewis joins an elite list of just five drivers to ever have achieved this feat.

Onto the Grand Prix itself and whilst it could not be described as a ‘classic’, the tension at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez on Sunday was palpable. A messy start, at the expense of both title contenders, did little to help matters.

Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel lightly touched at Turn 2, but in the process Vettel’s front wing was damaged. Advantage Hamilton, until a split second later when the Mercedes driver went for a gap at Turn 3 and his right rear tyre was clipped by Vettel and punctured. “Did he hit me deliberately?” asked Hamilton. We don’t think so but make up your own mind on that one.

So, both Vettel and Hamilton went back into the pits at the end of lap 1 and re-joined in last and second last place. Not really what anyone wanted to see but you could almost hear the groans from Maranello. Ferrari knew only too well that a second-place finish from Vettel was the minimum that was required.

One driver not inconvenienced was Max Verstappen, who found himself now leading the race unchallenged. His radio message “Simply, simply lovely” summed up the situation pretty well. And so it turned out as he dominated the race from that moment on to record his third Grand Prix victory.

The biggest worry for Red Bull Racing yesterday afternoon was not the challenge from other drivers but their own engine’s reliability. One thing we learnt is that the Renault power unit does not like racing at altitude. A total of four Renault powered cars: Ricciardo; Hulkenberg; Hartley; Sainz; retired during the race due to engine failures. Despite Verstappen’s victory, these are worrying times at Viry-Châtillon.

Reliability must be their key priority for next season but if Renault can get it right, that will bring Red Bull Racing, McLaren and Renault themselves right into play. The chassis on all three is good and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be mixing it up with Ferrari & Mercedes next season.

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