What We Learned Mexican Grand Prix 2017

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THE BIG PICTURE:  Carlos Slim, one of the world’s wealthiest men, wanted a Grand Prix for his country. Being a multi-billionaire, Slim got what he desired, and a five-year contract was inked for 2015 through 2019. The crowds that fill the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez each October are some of the largest and most enthusiastic in all of Formula One.

EVENT:  This year’s Grand Prix took place a month from Mexico City’s devastating 7.1-earthquake on September 19th which killed over 350 people.  The city celebrated the arrival of the Formula One back to the capital.

IN OUR LAST EPISODE:  Lewis Hamilton powered to a commanding win, and could have taken the championship if not for Sebastian Vettel’s second-place finish.

 QUALIFYING:   Sebastian Vettel took pole with a spectacular lap. Good job!

 RACE:  It was basically the Max Verstappen show. After an interesting start which saw the Flying Dutchman emerge in first, he never looked back and was never challenged for the lead. It could have been a more entertaining contest had Vettel not taken both himself and Hamilton out of contention for the win. As it was, the superiority of the Mercedes was shown by Valtteri Bottas’ secondplace finish. Ferrari’s place as the favorite of race officials and the current television announcers was illustrated by Vettel not receiving any penalty for punting Hamilton and the TV guys not uttering a word of criticism of Vettel’s bonehead move.

BEST TEAM:  Mercedes. It would have been Red Bull Racing had Daniel Ricciardo not DNFed.

WHAT WE WILL REMEMBER:  Verstappen’s spectacular and commanding win and Lewis Hamilton clinching his fourth world driving championship.

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: “A great win and a fun podium, a Dutch DJ and Dutch driver, what a combination. The start of the race itself was not great but this allowed me to tuck in and get a tow from Sebastian, I had to be a bit aggressive but managed to get around the outside at turn one and from then on I was just doing my own race. I would go as far to say this was one of the easiest races of my career. I felt I missed out on pole yesterday so I had a lot of motivation to get the result I wanted today. To get not just a podium but the win is awesome. We calmed the pace and turned down the engine to make sure we brought the car home so I was just cruising towards the end. I was confident the car was going to be good today after studying the long run pace we have shown this weekend. This track with low speed and low grip suits our car, but even in Austin we had the balance and pace, I just had to come from way down the grid. Once we had got the balance of the car right it was easy for us to do quick lap times and sustain them. I think if we keep working this way and have a better start to the season next year we can look forward to achieving great things. The podium here in Mexico is special to be on as the fans are so passionate and being in the stadium section means the atmosphere is like nowhere else, it definitely made up for missing it last year. Like I said in the car on lap 1, it was simply, simply lovely.” Max Verstappen, Red Bull driver

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP“To be honest, this fourth world title is not even registering right now. There is all this energy from the people around you, but it takes a while for it to really sink in. I am incredibly grateful when I think about everything that was going on this year and everything that had to be in place to produce this result. I didn’t do this on my  own, there are over a thousand people back in Brackley and Brixworth who have created this beast that has given me the opportunity to exploit my abilities. I have received such great support from around the world, and I want to thank all of you that believed in me. To do this on Mexican soil, to shine a positive light on a country that has been through such a difficult time over the past few months, makes this really special. It doesn’t matter what happened in the race today. I carry ‘Still I Rise’ on the back of my helmet – it means when you get knocked down, you get back up again and keep pushing as hard as you can. I never gave up, and I kept pushing. Four is a great number – but I want number five now!” Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes driver

SCHEDULE:  In two weeks, the series makes its penultimate appearance of 2017 at the Brazilian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Carlos Pace in Interlagos on November 19th.

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management, or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Lisa Davidson

Lisa Davidson is a graduate of the University of Arizona and spent her corporate career as a Controller. She is a lifelong writer who has been covering open wheel racing since 2000 and is the author of historical articles and co-author of one book She and her husband, photographer Jeff Davidson, have two daughters and make their home in Murrieta, CA.

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