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2018 Mexican Grand Prix.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    1 week after Austin, F1 reaches Mexico City this weekend, where the high altitude tests the engines possibly harder than any other circuit.

    Swami
     
  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Mexican GP: Red Bulls fastest in practice
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    By Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer



    [​IMG]
    Listen to second practice on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 20:00 BST
    Max Verstappen set the pace as Red Bull dominated first practice at the Mexican Grand Prix, while Lewis Hamilton ended up fifth fastest.

    The Dutchman was 0.483 seconds quicker than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and 1.270secs quicker than third-placed man Carlos Sainz of Renault.

    Hamilton was 1.419secs off in what was almost certainly an unrepresentative session on a dirty track.


    Hamilton will win the title on Sunday if he finishes seventh or higher.

    His only remaining title rival, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, was seventh quickest, behind Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas, and just over two seconds off the pace.

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    Ricciardo joined in the fun ahead of the weekend
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    As did Pierre Gasly - although perhaps understandably keeping his distance
    Even if the German wins the race, Hamilton will still be champion as long as the Briton scores five points.

    The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City is a little-used race track and it starts the grand prix weekend in poor condition, very dusty and dirty.

    Hamilton was 0.3secs slower than Ricciardo when all the drivers were running the fastest hyper-soft tyres in the first part of the session, but he then switched to the more durable ultra-soft, while Red Bull stuck with the hyper, which is close to a second a lap faster.

    All the latest F1 Gossip

    Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, winner of the last race in Austin, Texas, last weekend, was eighth fastest. The Finn had a spin at Turn Six midway through the session.

    McLaren's Lando Norris, standing in for Fernando Alonso in the first session as the team prepare the British novice for his debut next season, was 15th fastest, 0.070secs quicker than team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, who is leaving F1 at the end of the year after being dropped.

    Norris had a near-miss with a Force India towards the end of the session, when he was caught out by its lack of speed and narrowly missed running into the back of it.

    Swami
     
  3. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Mexican GP: Verstappen fastest before breaking down with Hamilton seventh






    [​IMG]
    Listen to Final practice and qualifying on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 16:30 BST
    Red Bull dominated a quirky second practice session at the Mexican Grand Prix as champion-elect Lewis Hamilton was only seventh fastest.

    Max Verstappen was 0.153secs ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, with Renault's Carlos Sainz 1.233secs back in third.

    Hamilton needs to finish seventh to tie up a fifth world title, and if Vettel does not win the race, the Briton will be crowned whatever result he achieves.


    Mercedes and Ferrari appear not to have got their cars to work on Friday.

    Many of the teams were struggling to get the best out of the fastest hyper-soft tyres and the two Red Bulls were more than a second clear of the field.

    The gap between the Red Bulls and Sainz, and between the Spaniard and other midfielders behind, was about normal.

    But Hamilton was the fastest Mercedes driver 1.380secs off the pace, and Vettel, the fastest Ferrari in fourth, was 1.234secs behind Verstappen.

    Vettel said: "I would be quite happy if I had more grip. It is the track with the least sensitivity on power. But it has been sort of expected Red Bull were very strong. I don't think we had a tidy lap. We should have been in front of the Renaults.

    "Everybody is on the limit with tyres and trying to get them to work in order to slide less, with the exception maybe of the Red Bulls."

    Vettel added that Ferrari had decided to stick with their old aerodynamic package, after comparing it with a new one in the first session.

    Verstappen was also quickest in the first session, again from Ricciardo, and that time by 0.483secs.

    But what had been looking like a very good day for Red Bull turned a little sour at the end of the session, when the Dutchman pulled off with a technical problem at the end of the main straight.

    Verstappen said: "We have a good car, good downforce and good mechanical grip. Unfortunately our day ended with a hydraulic issue, but other than that our day has been really good."

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: "Both cars have been quick in both sessions, which is encouraging. Looks like we've had a suspected hydraulics issue [on Verstappen's car] so we need to get the car back and see what's going on there."

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    Hamilton said: "The car was good in some places, but not so good in others. It's not about one particular area; there are lots of different things that we can improve. It was difficult with the high track temperatures, which were melting and graining the tyres, but a lot of people were experiencing that."

    Mercedes technical director James Allison added that the team had to run their engines at a lower performance level than normal because they were struggling with overheating "in a number of areas".

    Tyres, and Red Bull, could create thrilling racing
    On Friday his and Mercedes' big concerns will be on performance - the tyres were creating all sorts of headaches for the teams, especially the hyper-softs, which were good for about one flying lap before dramatically losing grip.

    That will create major headaches for the teams as they try to work out how best to run the weekend.

    One senior figure admitted that the session was "weird" and "a bit confusing".

    This situation led to an unusual competitive order, with the Renaults of Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg third and fifth and Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley sixth quickest ahead of Hamilton.

    The unusually high position for the Renault-engined Red Bulls and factory team might be related to the altitude.

    Mexico City sits at 2,200m and all engines lose about 22% of their performance. But as it is a proportional loss, the engines with less power lose less absolute power, which reduces the performance gaps between the standard-setting Mercedes and Ferrari engines, and the Renaults and Hondas.

    Swami
     
  4. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Mexican GP: Daniel Ricciardo on pole in Mexico, Lewis Hamilton third
    [​IMG]
    By Andrew Benson

    [​IMG]
    Sunday's race is live on 5 live and the BBC Sport website at 19:10 GMT
    Daniel Ricciardo pipped Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen to pole position at the Mexican Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton third.

    Ricciardo prevented Verstappen from becoming the youngest pole winner in Formula 1 history with a lap out of the blue right at the end of the session.

    The Australian was just 0.026secs quicker than Verstappen, who had dominated the weekend up to that point.


    Hamilton can win a fifth world title if he finishes the race at least seventh.

    [​IMG]
    Follow coverage of the Mexican Grand Prix across BBC Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website from 19:10 GMT
    Hamilton in prime position
    The Mercedes driver will also be champion if Vettel fails to win the race, which looks highly likely given the imperious form shown by Red Bull so far in Mexico City.

    The German qualified fourth, 0.211secs off the pace and 0.076s adrift of Hamilton.

    The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was fifth, ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, and the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz best of the group of midfield teams.

    Hamilton, though, was thrilled to be so high up after Mercedes struggled badly in the hotter conditions of Friday practice, when he was only seventh fastest.

    "Really, really happy with it," he said. "We had a difficult day yesterday and it was a big improvement today. It was a real struggle but the team did a great job analysing and moving forward, that was as good as I could get."

    If he has a clean race, it is hard to see how the Brit cannot clinch the title from that starting position.

    However, history provides a salutary lesson - Hamilton also started third in Mexico last year, with Verstappen also second, and the Mercedes driver suffered a puncture in a third-corner clash with Vettel, who had been on pole, and could finish only ninth.

    At that time, that was enough for him to secure the championship, but it would not be on Sunday if Vettel can find a way to beat the Red Bulls.

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    Knitted Mexican wrestling mask? On the fence with this one...
    Ricciardo back on top
    Ricciardo shouted and whopped in delight in his helmet when he was told he had taken pole, the first time he had out-qualified Verstappen since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix back in April.

    "I knew it was there somewhere," he said. "We hadn't had the cleanest run through practice but I knew the pace was in the car; Max showed that through the weekend. So it was just a matter of putting together a clean lap."

    It was only the third pole of his career, the first two being at Monaco, and the first time Red Bull have had a one-two on the grid since the advent of turbo hybrid engines in 2014.

    Verstappen, who had topped all three practice sessions and second qualifying, was furious to miss out, blaming engine problems.

    He said: "The whole qualifying was crap. Problems since P2, engine braking not like I wanted, just rear locking. I tried to make the best of it. I thought it was going to be enough but we see what happens tomorrow."

    Who will win in Mexico?
    Choose your top three drivers from the list below

    Why are Red Bull suddenly so dominant?
    But Ricciardo and Verstappen will go into the race as hot favourites for victory on a track where their car has excelled all weekend.

    The high altitude reduces the power deficit of their Renault engine and also forces all teams to run their cars with their maximum downforce set-ups, of which Red Bull has the best in the pit lane.

    The team, though, will be concerned about avoiding any clash between their drivers - the two crashed out when disputing a position in Baku.

    And the pressure to win on both will be high - especially Ricciardo, who is leaving the team to join Renault for 2019.

    Vettel, who said he had a messy final lap, added: "The Red Bulls are very fast. They will be hard to beat. Maybe they beat themselves."

    Swami
     
  5. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton equals Juan Manuel Fangio with fifth F1 title
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    Lewis Hamilton has won his fifth F1 world championship, making him the joint second most successful driver of all time.

    The 33-year-old becomes only the third man in history to win five world titles. He matches the haul of the Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio and is two behind all-time record holder Michael Schumacher.

    Hamilton needed only to finish seventh at Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix to become champion, even if Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel had won - but the German could manage only second place behind the dominant Max Verstappen, despite a valiant and strong race.


    It was a difficult race for the Mercedes driver, who battled tyre problems throughout, but his finishing position just off the podium, in fourth, was more than enough to seal the biggest achievement of an illustrious career.

    At the end of the race, Hamilton pushed his car through a series of celebratory "doughnut" spins in the track's stadium section, before waving to the capacity 135,000 crowd.

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    Hamilton said: "It is a very strange feeling right now. This was won through a lot of hard work through a lot of races. I am so grateful for all the hard work, for everyone who has been a part of it.

    "To complete this, when Fangio has done it with Mercedes, it is an incredible moment.

    "It was a horrible race. I got a great start and was working my way up and I really don't know what happened after that. I was just trying to hold on and bring the car home."

    Vettel broke off from his post-race interview to congratulate Hamilton, as the two men embraced at the conclusion of a titanic battle.

    The Ferrari driver said: "Well deserved. Congrats to him and his team. They did a superb job all year, we need to stand there and accept that. We would have loved to hang in there a bit longer but that wasn't the case."

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    Under-par Mercedes seal it in Mexico
    The race was a reminder of what might have been for Vettel, as both Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas fell back with excessive tyre wear and his Ferrari moved up with an aggressive strategy to pressure the Red Bulls in the closing laps.

    But it was too little too late for Vettel, whose season, once so promising, unravelled in the summer and early autumn with a series of errors from driver and team.

    Hamilton and Mercedes were well below the high standards they set for themselves as they won six out of seven races from the German Grand Prix in late July to the Japanese race in early October.

    But that run - and the consistent excellence that both pressured Vettel and Ferrari into their mistakes and won races through the highest quality driving and team work - had put Hamilton into a comfortable position.

    And it was enough to seal the championship despite such a relatively lacklustre race, perhaps their poorest in terms of absolute performance of the entire season.

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    He's won it five times: Celebratory championship donuts perfectly performed by Hamilton
    A struggle throughout
    Hamilton had started the race with hopes of clinching the title with a win, and he did challenge for the lead on the run to the first corner.

    But Verstappen muscled him aside, as they left pole-sitter Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull behind following a poor start, and the Dutchman never looked back.

    Verstappen was in control throughout, soon easing away from Hamilton into a comfortable lead as the Mercedes driver began to struggle with tyres.

    Behind Verstappen, Hamilton never sounded comfortable, complaining soon after his first pit stop that the tyres he had been fitted with didn't feel good.


    Media playback is not supported on this device

    Pot washing & for sale signs: How Hamilton conquered F1 as only working class driver
    As the stint went on, he fell further and further back as Mercedes tried to persuade him to manage his tyres.

    Shortly after half-distance, Vettel, who started fourth, had passed Ricciardo for third and then took Hamilton on lap 39, with 32 to go.

    Hamilton continued to drop back and on lap 47 he locked a wheel under pressure from Ricciardo and ran wide at Turn One, then pleading with his team that his tyres were finished.

    He pitted for fresh ones and rejoined with 24 laps to go on a set of ultra-softs, and backed off to ensure he could get to the end without drama.

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    Vettel salvages some self-respect
    As Hamilton was struggling, Vettel was beginning to think of a potential win. He made a second pit stop on lap 47, and when Verstappen stopped again himself a lap later, Vettel was four seconds behind Ricciardo, who was on old tyres, and five seconds behind his team-mate.

    Vettel was quickly on Ricciardo's tail, but the Australian appeared to be capable of holding off the Ferrari to the end, until his car failed for the eighth time this season and he retired on lap 62, promoting Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen to the final podium position.

    Ricciardo's retirement caused some nerves at Red Bull, and Verstappen was on the radio pleading with the team to turn down his engine to reduce risks of a failure as much as possible.

    But it held on for his second victory of the year in a race that, despite Verstappen's impressive performance, was all about the man who finished fourth.

    Driver of the day
    [​IMG]
    No contest this - Verstappen was supreme in taking his second win in Mexico in succession, on a weekend he dominated other than being pipped to pole by Ricciardo
    What happens next?
    Brazil in two weeks' time. Red Bull are expected to slip back into a more normal level of competitiveness. But can Hamilton break a run that has seen him never win a race in a season after clinching the championship before the final event?

    Swami
     

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