Sunday, November 1, 2015

Nico Rosberg Clinches Pole for 2015 Mexican Grand Prix Revival

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

This weekend, a Formula 1 grand prix returns to schedule after a 23-year absence. The third-to-final race on the 2015 Formula 1 tour, the Mexican Grand Prix on the upgraded Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez’s 4.304-kilometer hosts the third stop for a season in North America. Positioned at a high elevation 2,285 meters above sea level, the high-powered open wheel cars run through the circuit’s thin air has been an immediate topic of intrigue. Engines as well as the drivers’ general comfort level is expected to be tested in the main event on Sunday.

For Saturday’s qualifying, the latest inner-team rivalry saga between the Mercedes AMG drivers Nico Rosberg and the newly-crowned 2015 Formula 1 Drivers’ Champion Lewis Hamilton challenged each other for the Mexican Grand Prix pole. Fresh off the emotional outing at the Circuit of the Americas the previous week, the factory Mercedes race drivers have seemed to have intensified their on-track warfare. Rosberg posted the top time in Q1 while Hamilton topped his German teammate in the Q2 session. By an advantage of 0.188 seconds, Nico Rosberg grabbed the pole position for Sunday’s race over Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg’s 1-minute, 19.480-second time provided him his fourth-consecutive appearance in the top spot after qualifying wheeling the Mercedes AMG race machine. The trouble in the previous three grand prix races for Nico Rosberg is parlaying the pole into victories on Sunday. Each of those races resulted in a Lewis Hamilton win.

Despite pre-qualifying estimations that the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez will likely favour the Mercedes-Benz powered vehicles in the Formula 1 grid, the Scuderia Ferrari driven by Sebastian Vettel posted a respectable third fastest time in Q3. Vettel’s best lap time was 0.370 seconds slower than the Mercedes AMG racers but is relatively close compared to the rest of the field for the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix. Unfortunately for Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel has to lead the team's best chance at a top result alone. Kimi Raikkonen suffered a fire and brake problem with his car in the third practice session of the weekend. The Ferrari crew were able to install a replacement engine and gearbox into Kimi Raikkonen's car in time for qualifying but the Finnish driver will have start 18th in Mexico.


Posting nearly identical times, the Red Bull-Renault team cars start fourth and fifth. Russia’s Daniil Kvyat found a mere 1/1000th of a second in Q3 qualifying to place him ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Both Red Bull-Renault vehicles are more than 9/10th of a second slower than the pace of Nico Rosberg.

Behind the Red Bull Racing duo is the pairing from Williams Martini Racing. Valtteri Bottas starts in sixth place ahead of his more veteran teammate Felipe Massa. Behind eighth place qualifier Max Verstappen’s Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso, the Force India-Mercedes team fills the fifth row of the race grid. Significant for the Mexican audience is Sergio Perez who was able best teammate Nico Hulkenberg for the edge in qualifying.


At the back of the grid are the McLaren team cars of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Still struggling to find speed with their Honda power units, both McLaren Honda cars are serving grid penalties for various infractions. Button did not even participate in qualifying due to an engine misfire detected in the final practice. This weekend, Honda returns to the track where they scored their first grand prix victory a little more than 50 years ago in Mexico.

Starting at 12 PM local time (2 PM Eastern time), the 2015 resurrection of the Grand Prix of Mexico will consist of 71 laps at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

2015 Formula 1
Mexican Grand Prix
Starting Grid

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine

1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari
4 26 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Renault
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault
6 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
7 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes-Benz
8 33 Max Verstappen Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
9 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz
10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
11 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
12 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Mercedes-Benz
13 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Mercedes-Benz
14 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari
15 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari
16 53 Alexander Rossi Manor Marussia Ferrari
17 28 Will Stevens Manor Marussia Ferrari
18 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
19 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda
20 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda

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