Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth FIA Formula One World Drivers’ Championship title with a ninth-placed finish in a Mexican Grand Prix won by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

Mercedes driver Hamilton had to battle from the back of the field after an opening lap collision with title rival Sebastian Vettel dropped both men to the back of the field. Vettel, whose slim title chances rested on securing victory at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, managed to claw his way back to fourth place. However, with Hamilton slowly progressing to ninth place and too big a gap to overhaul to the drivers ahead, the Ferrari driver's hopes ended after Verstappen, second-placed Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and third-placed Kimi Räikkönen crossed the line.

When the lights went out at the start, Vettel was pressured by Verstappen off the line and at the end of the long run to Turn 1 the Red Bull driver drew alongside the Ferrari driver and muscled his way past in Turn 2 to take the lead. There was minor contact between them as they went through, with Vettel losing part of his front wing. More damage was to come for the German, however, as Hamilton went around the outside to steal second.

In Turn 3 the left side of Vettel’s front wing collided with the rear right of Hamilton’s car. The result was a puncture for the Mercedes man and substantial front wing damage for Vettel. Both limped to the pits for repairs and rejoined at the back of the field.

At the front, Verstappen began to build a lead and by lap 14 he found himself 5.5 seconds clear of Valtteri Bottas who had inherited second after the Vettel/Hamilton incident. Esteban Ocon was third, the Force India driver having bypassed Kimi Räikkönen in the opening lap.

Carlos Sainz was the first to make a scheduled stop, the Renault driver pitting on lap two to take on soft tyres, with which he’d try to reach the flag. Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo was the next into the pit lane on lap five, but for the Australian it was a complete stop. After taking a grid drop in the morning for an engine change, Ricciardo rose from his P16 starting position to P7. But his race was then ended by a suspected turbo failure.

At the back, Vettel was marching through the order and by lap 25 he was up to 11th place behind McLaren’s Fernando Alonso. Hamilton, though, was struggling, and after being lapped by race leader Verstappen the Briton complained that he couldn't get near Sainz up ahead in P18.

Hulkenberg was the next to exit the race. On lap 25 the German being told to stop the car, as it was unsafe. With a suspected ERS issue, Hulkenberg was told to exit down the nosecone and jump off.

On lap 32 Brendon Hartley pulled over at the side of the track with flames licking at the engine cover of his Toro Rosso. The halt, close to the side of the track, resulted in the Virtual Safety Car being deployed and that resulted in a flurry of pit stops, with Verstappen diving in from the lead to take on supersofts.

Behind him Räikkönen profited most, the Finn leapfrogging Ocon to claim third place. Behind them William’s Lance Stroll was now firth ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen. Magnussen’s hold on the place would be shortlived. Vettel had taken on ultrasoft tyres during his pit stop and he soon began setting fastest laps. He quickly reeled in the Dane and passed him with ease to claim seventh place.

There were however, 16 seconds to make up to the next target, Perez. Vettel closed quickly, to 7.5s by lap 45 but with the German needing second place to keep his championship hopes alive if Hamilton finished outside the points, and with almost 54 seconds to make up to second-placed Bottas it looked like the German’s title challenge was done.

Hamilton, though, was making his own steady progress and on lap 46 he passed Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson for 12th place and began to close the 7.1-second gap to Vandoorne. On lap 50, Vettel lunged down the inside into Turn 4 to pass Perez and looked to close the 3.3s gap to Lance Stroll and on lap 54 he eased dismissed the Canadian to take fifth place. Hamilton, meanwhile, had passed Vandoorne under DRS into Turn One to claim P11 and his team were advising him that at the pace he was going he was forecast to finish in P8.

Hamilton began to make that forecast come true by powering past Williams’ Felipe Massa on lap 57 to claim 10th place and a points finish. Up ahead Vettel passed Ocon to grab fourth but with 24 seconds to make up to get to third placed Räikkönen and a further 26 second gap to close to Bottas the German was fighting a losing battle. Told of the gaps he sighed “oh, mamma mia.”

Sainz, meanwhile, retired from the race, meaning that four of the six Renault-powered cars in the race had exited by lap 62. Just leader Verstappen and 13th-placed Gasly remained.

At the front the Dutch driver was in complete command, however, and not experiencing any mechanical concerns. With an 18s gap to Bottas it might have been expected that he would throttle back and control matters but Verstappen wanted more and on lap 64 he set a race record for the circuit with a lap of 1:18.892 and then widened the gap to over 20 seconds by the chequered flag.

Behind him Bottas held second ahead of Räikkönen, while Vettel’s brave charge ended in fourth place. Esteban Ocon scored his second fifth-placed finish of the year, while Lance Stroll delivered a good result for Williams with sixth place. Sergio Pérez was seventh in front his home crowd ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, while Lewis Hamilton finished ninth, enough to earn the Briton his fourth drivers’ title. The final point on offer went to McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.

2017 Mexican Grand Prix – Race

  1. Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG 1:36'26.550
  2. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 19.678
  3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 54.007
  4. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari 70.078
  5. Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1 lap
  6. Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1 lap
  7. Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1 lap
  8. Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1 lap
  9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 1 lap
  10. Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1 lap
  11. Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1 lap
  12. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1 lap
  13. Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Renault 1 lap
  14. Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 2 laps
  15. Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 2 laps

Carlos Sainz Renault Renault
Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari
Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Renault
Nico Hulkenberg Renault Renault
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG

The beginning of the 2016 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix started with Ferrari taking the lead. During the middle of the race Fernando Alonso was involved in a massive accident, allowing for Nico Rosberg of the Mercedes team to take the victory. Lewis Hamilton, Nico's teammate, had a terrible start but managed to take second place while Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel had to settle for third place.

Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo took fourth place and was much further ahead of Felipe Massa who managed to score fifth position. Romain Grosjean brought home sixth place for the new Haas team. Nico Hulkenberg of Force India took seventh place while team Williams’ Valtteri Bottas settled for the eighth position. The Toro Rosso duo of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen completed the race with positions nine and ten respectively.

A few different drivers were forced to retire throughout the race. Fernando Alonso suffered a huge accident which ended his race early on and Haas' Esteban Gutirrez was able to walk away from a massive crash at Turn 3.

Additionally, Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat had to retire after he was hit with problems which prevented him making it to the grid at all. After the restart, Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire with a suspected turbo failure followed by a massive fire in his airbox. Finally, Rio Haryanto of the Manor team walked away with driveline problems.

Position Name Team Time Points
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 48:15.6 25
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +8.060s 18
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +9.643s 15
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing +24.330s 12
5 Felipe Massa Williams +58.979s 10
6 Romain Grosjean HAAS +72.081s 8
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India +74.199s 6
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams +75.153s 4
9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso +75.680s 2
10 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso +76.833s 1

The 2016 Formula One World Championship kicks off this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix from the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit

  • Lewis: “There’s still more to come from me”
  • Nico: “I’ve never felt more ready to go”
  • Toto: “We are racers and we love a challenge”
  • Paddy: “We have no definite sense of how we measure up to the competition”

Lewis Hamilton

Testing was just incredible – the best I can remember in my career. The car feels even better than last year’s from both a performance and reliability perspective, which is saying something. It’s all so refined in every area and we can be really proud of what we’ve achieved over the winter.

I was at the factory last week and it was humbling to stand in front of everyone that has worked so hard to get us to this point. I’ve been with this team for four years now and, despite all the success, everyone just keeps raising the bar every season, which is super impressive. I know that the guys and girls will keep pushing for more top results, so it’s up to us drivers to go out there and nail it for them on track. People keep asking me about motivation – but I just have to look at the faces of all those people to know what I’m fighting for.

Together, we’re always searching for perfection. But that target is always shifting and you’re constantly faced with new challenges to reach it. Just as you think you’re close, suddenly you fall further back – like someone dangling a carrot on a piece of string and whipping it away just as you reach for it. It’s tough mentally – but that’s a good thing, as it forces you to be resilient and seek improvement in every area. I know there’s still more to come from me – I think I’ve shown that in the past two years. There certainly needs to be some extra in my tank, as the competition will be stronger than ever this year.

There are a few things that will make it even more challenging for all of us this season, too. The changes to the radio rules will have a big impact. The engineers now can’t give you prompts or reminders that might affect performance during the race, so you have to remember so much more. This even applies to strategy, so when it’s shifting throughout the race you won’t be in the loop. It will be tough – but hopefully it will make for more exciting races.

Now we head to Melbourne and the first to chance to see how all this plays out on track. I can’t wait to get started.

Nico Rosberg

This is always a massively exciting time of year. Testing is important, of course. But what every driver really looks forward to is unleashing a new car flat out for the first time. I’m already itching to get back out there – getting to know our latest Silver Arrow and pushing on, making progress with it.

Limited testing gives everyone a big challenge, as you have to be efficient and make more of that time than anyone else. It’s even tougher when you’re the benchmark, as you need to invent while others can invent and copy. But we’ve done our homework and I think it looks set to be a good year again for us. The level of build quality in the car – how it all fits together and all the little details – is just awesome.

It’s so impressive how the team keeps on pushing, aiming to be better all the time. Of course, we all know that Ferrari are right there with us and maybe some of the others will be up there too, so we have to keep pushing. But it’s good to have that competition. With the team we have I believe we can keep them behind.

I’m really hoping to bring back a couple of wins from the first flyaways to reward everyone at the factories for their hard work. There’s such a positive vibe in the team and everybody gets so excited. I know they’ll be cheering us on at home every weekend, so it’s our responsibility to deliver for them.

I’ve had a great winter and done a few things differently for this year. I’ve never felt more ready to go. It’s going to be a great battle.

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

It seems like we’ve never been away. Although the season starts later than usual, the work has been non-stop over the winter. Under stable regulations you are not looking to re-invent the wheel and you cannot expect huge development jumps. But looking for small, carefully evaluated steps forward in every area is equally challenging. There is always room for progress and we have found some interesting developments. It gives me great pride to see how the team continues to innovate in exciting ways.

Motivation is crucial to performance and you need to set ambitious targets to keep that drive high. These change from year to year. When I first arrived, it was becoming a front running team. Then, it was winning the title. Then, proving to ourselves that it wasn't a one-off. And now, it’s creating sustainable success – building the team and the organisation as a whole. We’re realistic with ourselves. We know we won’t win every race and every Championship. But we want to be up there fighting for it every year and putting on a great show, so that’s the target.

We expect the competition to be tougher than ever this year. Expectations are high, both internally and externally. But Ferrari look confident and there will likely be other teams involved in the battle. Testing is about clocking mileage and understanding the car, so there is no clear order at this point. But if it were to be this way, that’s something we would enjoy. We are racers and we love a challenge. Having an enemy pumps you up for a battle – and having strong competitors motivates us to push even harder.

This is not a sport where you can relax. The minute you start being complacent you lose out, so you have to keep the energy in the system and we are doing this all the time. Likewise, the drivers need to keep raising their game. They are major competition for each other in the same car, which is not always going to be easy to handle. But with others also in the mix, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic evolves. We’ve shown in the past two seasons that there are no team orders – and this does not change.

Formula One is a sport – but it is also entertainment. Controversy, both on and off track, makes headlines. That’s not a bad thing – it’s part of the world we live in. But we can think about that later. For now, I can’t wait for the flag to drop in Melbourne: let battle commence.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

Firstly, congratulations to the team at Brackley and Brixworth on an incredible achievement in the delivery of this car. We saw an unprecedented level of reliability during pre-season testing, with over six thousand kilometers completed. That’s almost the same mileage in eight days as we achieved across twelve days last year, demonstrating clear progress in our ability to prepare for a new season. However, it’s still early days, and there are no Championship points for testing.

What’s equally pleasing is to see evidence of continuous innovation. Innovation drives us forward – and it’s clear to see on our car that nobody in the team is resting on their laurels. But while we were pleased with our performance in Barcelona, we have no definite sense of how we measure up relative to the competition. This creates tension – but mainly excitement to see where we stand.

The first qualifying session of the year is, for me, the most exciting hour of the whole Formula One calendar. This is where you get your final exam marks for all the hard work over the many months needed to put together a new car. It’s the first time we see all of the cars and drivers on the limit – gloves off, flat out. Once you get through qualifying and see where you stand, good or bad, a lot of that winter tension is relieved and translated into plans for the future. Whether it’s maintaining a gap or closing on a target ahead, the objective becomes clear.

After an intense winter, the team enjoys arriving in Melbourne. There is a great buzz as the paddock gets back to work, with new kit, some new faces and this year even a new team. We also have some significant new sporting regulations concerning tyre compound choices, driver communications in the race and qualifying format. Put together I am expecting these changes to create far more variation, uncertainty and excitement for the fans, while testing even further the ability of Nico, Lewis and the race team to perform under pressure. We're looking forward to it!

  • Lewis took his third Italian Grand Prix victory and seventh of the season
  • The result marks his 40th career win on his 160th Grand Prix start
  • Nico was forced to retire just three laps from the flag with a mechanical failure of his Power Unit
  • The Power Unit in question was being run for a sixth race weekend. The root cause of the failure will be diagnosed at Brixworth.
  • Both Lewis and Nico ran a one stop strategy of option / prime
  • MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS now lead Ferrari by 181 points in the Constructors' Championship
  • Lewis now leads the Drivers' Championship by 53 points from Nico

Driver

Chassis No.

Grid

Result

Fastest Lap

Lewis Hamilton

F1 W06 Hybrid/05

P1

P1

1:26.672

Nico Rosberg

F1 W06 Hybrid/01

P4

P17

1:27.067

Strategy

Start

Stop 1

No. 44

Soft (Used)

Medium (New)

No. 6

Soft (used)

Medium (New)

Weather

Warm, clear

 

Temperatures

Air: 22 – 24°C

Track: 38 – 40°C

Lewis Hamilton

This weekend has been just fantastic.This race is so special for every driver. When you stand up on that podium it's so emotional. It's a really proud moment to be up there in front of that sea of fans and to walk in the footsteps of so many great drivers who have won here. The start was pretty close, holding off Sebastian. But from there I felt in control. The balance wasn't perfect for qualifying but it was one of the best I've had in the race.

Nico Rosberg

This weekend was very tough for me. There were just too many problems with my car which made it impossible to fight for the win. Today was a massive step in the wrong direction for me in the Championship – but to complain doesn’t help in these situations. I just need to keep pushing and come back even stronger. Giving up is not an option for me.

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

A bittersweet day for us all with a fantastic win for Lewis but a DNF for Nico after he had climbed back through the field. The pattern was set at the start, when Lewis retained the lead but Nico suffered a bad start. Lewis was able to build a good gap to Vettel, drove a flawless race and thoroughly deserved his victory. The result leaves him in a very strong championship position with seven races to go.

Overall, this has been an extremely challenging race but after so many ups and downs, it's very satisfying to come away with a strong win. However, like we always say, small details decide between success and failure, and we had more evidence this weekend of how hard we must keep pushing to maintain our level of performance in every single race. We have a fantastic team and they have done a great job this season, both at the track and in the factories. Now we need to get our heads down, fix our problems and keep moving forward.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

Congratulations first and foremost to Lewis on a fantastic win. It was a superbly controlled drive. But, at the same time, our apologies must go to Nico. We will learn a lot of lessons from this weekend to take into the coming races.

  • Lewis took his second Belgian Grand Prix win, the 39th of his F1 career and sixth of 2015
  • Nico completed a seventh Silver Arrows 1-2 of the season with his 36th career F1 podium finish
  • An 80th career F1 podium for Lewis sees him move level with Ayrton Senna in P4 in the all-time standings
  • Both Lewis and Nico ran a two stop strategy of option / prime / option
  • MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS now lead Ferrari by 184 points in the Constructors' Championship
  • Lewis now leads the Drivers' Championship by 28 points from Nico

Driver

Chassis No.

Grid

Result

Fastest Lap

Lewis Hamilton

F1 W06 Hybrid/05

P1

P1

1:52.504

Nico Rosberg

F1 W06 Hybrid/01

P2

P2

1:52.416

Strategy

Start

Stop 1

Stop 2

No. 44

Soft

Medium (13)

Soft (30)

No. 6

Soft

Medium (12)

Soft (31)

Weather

Clear, warm

Temperatures

Air: 24 – 25°C

Track: 34 – 39°C

Lewis Hamilton

I'm really happy with that one. I had great pace in the car and the balance felt fantastic. If anything it got better through the race and I never felt under pressure. A massive thank you to everyone here and back at the factories for all their hard work. The car was awesome all weekend and the crew did a great job. Thanks to all of you for your support and hope to see you again at Monza!

Nico Rosberg

Unfortunately I messed up the start. Maybe the extra warm up lap had an influence on that - we need to find out what exactly happened but, in any case, I definitely have to improve that for Monza. I managed to be second again and also was able to close the gap to Lewis a bit - but I didn't get a chance to come within overtaking distance. The car they gave us was awesome here, so thank you to them for that. Hopefully we can have the same level of performance in the next races. 

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

I'm very proud of the team after today's result - and especially to get a 1-2 finish at Spa, which is such a difficult and demanding circuit to master. Lewis did a perfect job - he got off the line well, defended cleanly his position from Perez up the hill and then drove a beautifully controlled race. Nico obviously was hampered after his start, which we need to analyse, but then worked his way calmly back through the field. Congratulations to our boys, too, on four clean and impressive stops; they're doing a stunning job in the pits this year and we aim to continue that way for the remaining races. We will savour this win but need to keep our heads down and carry on working hard for Monza."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

We’re all very happy indeed with that result and a fantastic performance all round from the team. It’s always great to win at one of the legendary circuits on the Formula One calendar and this was one which Mercedes hadn’t conquered in the modern Silver Arrows era, so it’s good to be able to tick it off the list. It was a quite amazing weekend from Lewis – from an incredible pair of laps in qualifying to a controlled drive to victory in the race. Nico, too, had a very strong weekend. Of course, I’m sure he’ll be disappointed to finish second – but he was in touching distance throughout.