The 2017 Mexican Grand Prix was won by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, but as dominant as his win was it was all about Lewis Hamilton and winning his fourth World Championship. The fourth title moves him among some of the very best drivers of all time, a place he deserves.
About the race itself, there was action of plenty at the start with the front three of Verstappen, Vettel and Hamilton charging into turn 1 almost three abreast. Verstappen was the ultimate winner after his forceful driving put Vettel off line, which then Lewis Hamilton took full advantage around the outside. Vettel then clipped the Mercedes and the end result was puncture for Hamilton and front wing damage for Vettel, and the back of the field for both. Verstappen meanwhile led easily at the front.
The rest of the race was all about how far back up the field the two title challengers could get, Sebastian Vettel needed the top two, and Lewis Hamilton a range of results in comparison to Vettel. In the end Lewis Hamilton did just enough and Sebastian Vettel not enough to stop him.
It’s obviously a good weekend for Lewis Hamilton, but who else that had a good weekend, and those who had a worse time of it are outlined below in the Good, Bad and Ugly of the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix.
Truth be told his Mexican Grand Prix could be described as very underwhelming, but ultimately it was about the end result – wrapping up his fourth drivers title.
Out-qualified by Verstappen and Vettel, a clash with Vettel left him with a puncture and at languishing at the back of the field, and seeing his rival who caused his puncture making better progress through the field would normally be a case for a bad race. But the title trumps everything, and his battle with Fernando Alonso shows his racing mentality despite what was at stake.
He has now won the most titles by any British driver, and if he chooses to pursue more titles instead of a music career, will probably win as many as Michael Schumacher’s seven.
Max Verstappen has had a good time of it since his last retirement at Singapore when he was caught in between two Ferraris at Singapore. In the three races since he has finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd, although the 3rd finish was dropped to 4th by the stewards in the US.
The Dutchman held pole for a while in Q3 but had to settle for 2nd a on a track where the Red Bulls looked very competitive in qualifying.
As so it proved in the race as he avoided any damage in the first few corners to simply disappear up the road and remain untouched for the rest of the afternoon.
His form of late has been ominous, especially for team mate Daniel Ricciardo who has yet to extend his contract with Red Bull.
Continues to impress in the Force India with 6th position on the grid, daring to outdo the local hero team mate in Sergio Perez. And finished as best of the rest in the race.
He benefited greatly from the incident among the front runners to find himself in a comfortable 3rd for the first part of the race until he stopped for new tyres. Once all the field hat pitted he was still 4th trailing only Verstappen, Bottas and Raikkonen.
The Force India driver couldn’t keep Vettel behind, but 5th place and another pile of points was a great day for the Frenchman who continues to impress.
His 6th place finish came from 12th on the grid, so it was an unexpected but very useful haul of points for the young Canadian, who is starting to shake off some of the criticism of his appointment at Williams.
The New Zealander continues in the Toro Rosso, and looks like he will keep the drive for the whole of the 2018 F1 season. He celebrated by making Q2 and qualifying 13th, albeit helped by the McLarens no show in Q2. Pity his engine expired on lap 32 whilst running in 11th as his first points in F1 was a possibility. Looks like he will get the chance to score more in 2018 in good news.
Avoided controversy with a fine eighth place and some good points for Haas. A good day out for the American team, as they sipped behind Sauber in qualifying as F1’s slowest team.
Outqualified by team mate Verstappen by almost a second and he ended up 7th on the grid, behind the Force India of Esteban Ocon. Throw in a 20 Place Grid Penalty and a starting position around the back of the grid, and you have a very ordinary Saturday. Primed though for a Sunday blitz through the field.
It looked like that fans were going to see another Ricciardo charge through the field, and they did for a few laps as the Australian climbed to 7th by the 4th lap.
A bad weekend. Had to sit out P1 to allow Sean Gelael a run, then had troubles in P2, at the end of which had a penalty hanging over him. The next day the Frenchman’s car broke on his first lap in P3, and then missed qualifying with another penalty added and he took his place at the very back of the grid.
He didn’t have it much better in the race, circulating outside the points for the race.
The driver who holds the record for most races without a podium continues to be just that, but it could have been so different for the German as he landed in 4th place after the first lap chaos.
So heartbreak again when his Renault packed it in on lap 34. The record continues.
LEWIS HAMILTON ACCUSES SEBASTIAN VETTEL OF DELIBERATELY HITTING HIM
The fallout of the 1st lap shenanigans at the fron was that Lewis Hamilton had a right rear puncture and Sebastian Vettel had front wing damage, and Max Verstappen emerged unscathed at the front.
As the Ferrari and Mercedes circulated at the back of the field, Team Radio revealed that Lewis Hamilton accused Vettel of running into him on purpose.
Looking at the replay, remembering Azerbaijan (where Vettel rammed into Hamilton in a fit of rage), all in the context of the title fight needing to be kept alive by Hamilton finishing lower than 5th, it does look like that accusation could have some merit.
The German showed his speed with pole position, and he needed it as to have any chance of keeping the title alive, he needed to win the Mexican Grand Prix. Even better was Hamilton qualified in third, with Verstappen in between.
Then came lap 1 where Vettel clashed with both Verstappen and Hamilton, the latter contact ending with front wing damage and a puncture for his main championship rival. So, once again Sebastian Vettel was involved in a first lap incident, and this one may have cost him the chance to keep the title fight open.
He did climb through the field well, better than Lewis Hamilton, finishing in 4th with some great overtaking. But he must regret some his actions throughout the 2017, as the mechanical failures that can happen over the course of an F1 season were doubly punished as he was involved in some unnecessary clashes when the car was at an advantage compared to the Mercedes.
MARTINI-CHAVES MEDAL FOR GURGLER BEST/WORST OF THE YEAR
Here is where we tally up all the good, bad and ugly for the season.
- 1 Point for Good
- 1 Point for Bad
-0.5 for Ugly
There are bonus points as below. Drivers/Teams listed below have received a good and/or bad-ugly. Those with an overall score of 0 have had good and bad. Those not listed have been mediocre and been neither good or bad all season.
ULTIMATE WINNERS AND LOSERS
Here’s where an extra bonus point is added and subtracted for the very best and very worst.
WINNER – Max Verstappen
LOSER – Daniel Ricciardo/Pierre Gasly
2017 MARTINI-CHAVES MEDAL FOR GURGLER BEST/WORST OF THE YEAR
MARTINI MEDAL FOR BEST
CHAVES MEDAL FOR WORST
14.5 Points – Lewis Hamilton
7.5 Points – Valtteri Bottas
5 Points – Max Verstappen
4 Points – Esteban Ocon
4 Points – Sergio Perez
3.5 Points – Dan Ricciardo
3.5 Point – Lance Stroll
3 Points – Felipe Massa
3 Points – Carlos Sainz
2.5 Points – Fernando Alonso
1 Point – Kevin Magnusson
1 Point – Pascal Wehrlein
1 Point – Jenson Button
1 Point – Stoffel Vandoorne
1 Point – Brendan Hartley
0.5 Point – Sebastian Vettel
0 Points Romain Grosjean
-0.5 Point – Pierre Gasly
-0.5 Points – Nico Hulkenberg
-1 Point – Antonio Giovanazzi
-2.5 Points – Marcus Ericsson
-4 Points – Dani Kvyat
-4 Points – Kimi Raikkonen
-6.5 Points – Jolyon Palmer
4 Points – Mercedes
2 Points – Force India
0 Points – Haas
-1 Point – Red Bull
-1 Point – Ferrari
-1 Point – Toro Rosso
-1.5 Points – FIA
-2 Points – Renault
-3.5 Points – Sauber
-5 Points – Williams
-6 Points – McLaren