Tuesday 25 July 2017

Mexican fiesta in full swing as Rosberg ends victory famine

Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg (centre) of Germany celebrates between his teammate Lewis Hamilton (left) of Britain and Williams Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland after winning the Mexican F1 Grand Prix at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City
Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg (centre) of Germany celebrates between his teammate Lewis Hamilton (left) of Britain and Williams Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland after winning the Mexican F1 Grand Prix at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City

Daniel Johnson

Where has this Nico Rosberg been for the last year or more? His first win in nearly six months came far too late for the drivers' championship, but this gutsy, faultless drive, holding Lewis Hamilton behind throughout, at least restored some pride.

Rosberg stemmed the tide in a glorious return for Formula One to Mexico City, exorcising the demons of gifting his team-mate victory and a third title week ago in Austin.

There were no fireworks at the start, just a long grind of attrition over 71 laps at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Hamilton likened his current dominance to Muhammad Ali in the preamble to the Mexican Grand Prix, but he lost this contest on points. The newly-crowned triple champion could not quite channel his inner assassin and make the killer blow in the closing laps.

Relations are still icy cold between these two. A curt handshake was all they shared before the podium. Perhaps the Sombreros were far too large to throw around.

As superb as Rosberg was, we should not get carried away. Since his home race in Hockenheim last July, he has won just five races to Hamilton's 16.

It requires this sort of perfect weekend to beat Hamilton, and there have been far too few this season.

Cemented

This win, just his fourth of the year, cemented Rosberg's position ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the championship, after the four-time champion drove one of the most error-strewn races of his life.

Away from the Mercedes soap opera, Valtteri Bottas drove a fine race to take third, holding off the Red Bulls. A word too on the local boy, Sergio Perez, who brought the crowd plenty of delight despite coming home eighth.

Although this was no classic, the attendance of more than 100,000 spectators enlivened the occasion.

On the ritual drivers' parade in the blazing sun, Hamilton tossed a few caps into the fevered crowd, just as he had done to Rosberg in the podium anteroom last weekend in Austin.

Once again, a few came back. Some rudimentary observation did not find the German lurking in the crowd, without question one of the most spectacular seen all season.

Mercedes conceded it was pointless trying to force some sort of pre-race agreement. In the end, their boys kept it clean.

Both got off the line reasonably well, Hamilton pulling into Rosberg's slipstream. By the end of the 1,000-yard run to the first turn he was alongside, but had to concede. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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