One more win this year will guarantee Nico Rosberg the world championship regardless of what his team mate does in the final two races.
Lewis Hamilton took his eighth victory of the year in the Mexican Grand Prix. But he could end the season with more victories than his team mate and still lose the championship.
Indeed, whichever of them doesn’t claim the title will set a new record for winning the most races in a season without taking the championship. The current record stands at seven, but Rosberg already has nine wins and Sunday was Hamilton’s eighth.
Hamilton’s 51st career victory means he has now drawn level with Alain Prost in second place on the all-time race winners list. Prost won 51 races in a 199-race career, whereas Hamilton has started 186 races so far.
The only driver in F1 history to have won more races than Hamilton is Michael Schumacher, with 91 wins from 306 starts.
This was Hamilton’s first victory at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which means he has now won at every venue on the calendar with two exceptions. These are Baku, where he has raced once, and Interlagos, where he has appeared in all nine of his F1 seasons so far without winning. If he doesn’t change that this year his title chances will almost certainly be over.
Hamilton also took his first pole position in Mexico, increasing the record he set last week for setting pole at the most different circuits. Hamilton’s 59 career poles have come at 24 different tracks.
This was the 25th consecutive race which featured a Mercedes on the front row. This is their best-ever streak and leaves them ten shy of the record held by Williams.
However Mercedes have broken their record for most wins by a team in a single season, and done it with two races to spare. They’ve won 17 times this year, once more than in 2014 and 2015.
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Sunday’s race featured a rare example of a penalty being levied between the end of the race and the podium ceremony, meaning that Sebastian Vettel stood in third place instead of one-the-road third place finisher Max Verstappen. It brought to mind the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix, when on-the-road winner Ayrton Senna was notoriously disqualified immediately after the race and Alessandro Nannini was sent out onto the top step of the podium.
However in this case Vettel did not keep his third place. A further post-race penalty handed it to Daniel Ricciardo, who originally finished fifth. For Ricciardo this could be considered recompense for the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, where he stood on the podium in second place but was later disqualified.
Vettel, meanwhile, already has experience of appearing on the podium and then being relegated: it happened to him at the Hockenheimring in 2012 too and on that occasion he was also demoted to fifth place.
The post-race changes to the order means Ricciardo is now confirmed in third place in the championship. With 50 points available in the final two races he cannot catch or be caught by any of his rivals. He also set the fastest lap of the race for the eighth time in his career, putting him level with James Hunt, Gilles Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button.
Ferrari’s chances of catching Red Bull for second in the constructors’ championship are now as good as over. They are 62 points behind with 86 available.
Felipe Massa scored two points, moving him within one point of Fernando Alonso for the last place inside the championship top ten. Last weekend was his 250th participation in a grand prix weekend. He is now two races away from retirement, and his final race at Yas Marina should be his 250th start (he participated in but did not start the 2005 United States and 2009 Hungarian Grands Prix).
As last year, the Williams drivers were by far the fastest through the speed trap. Valtteri Bottas clocked 372.5kph (231.5mph), which was almost as high as his unofficial top speed in the European Grand Prix earlier this year.
Review the year so far in statistics here:
- 2016 F1 championship points
- 2016 F1 season records
- 2016 F1 race data
- 2016 F1 qualifying data
- 2016 F1 retirements and penalties
- 2016 F1 strategy and pit stops
Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Mexican Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.
2016 Mexican Grand Prix
- Horner baffled by Ferrari’s decision to continue Vettel appeal
- FIA rejects Ferrari petition over Vettel penalty
- Make run-off rules simpler, Horner urges
- Ferrari ask for review of Vettel’s Mexican GP penalty
- Verstappen proposes ban on broadcasting team radio