Sunday, October 30, 2016

Lewis Hamilton Scores 10th Pole Of 2016 In Mexico

Photo Credit: Daimler AG/Mercedes-Benz
With three races remaining, a 26-point lead for Nico Rosberg in the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship standings. While a cozy lead that the German would maintain even in a non-point finish in one of the final three events, the position at the top is precarious for Rosberg as Mercedes AMG teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton regained winning form at the Circuit of the Americas.

 The second race of a three-race late season stretch within the Americas, the Mexican Grand Prix plays host to a 22-car field that includes last year's event winner Nico Rosberg. After a long-awaited return to the updated Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez in 2015, teams are left with a thin notebook of how to get around the 4.304-kilometer permanent race track in Mexico City. Saturday's qualifying for the Grand Prix of Mexico in 2016 repeated to be a successful outing for Mercedes AMG as the team again swept the front row. For the second race in a row, Lewis Hamilton bested Nico Rosberg for pole position. Clocking a lap of  1-minute, 18.704 seconds, the achievement was Hamilton's 10th pole in 2016 and 59th in his career. While Rosberg could only mount a second-fastest time, the Q3 time the German driver used to capture the spot was remarkable in comparison to his pace through much of qualifying. Rosberg's top time in Q3 was more than one-second faster than is fastest Q1 lap.

With both Mercedes AMG drivers placed on the front row in Mexico for Sunday, championship implications could transpire in the opening seconds of the grand prix. Even if Hamilton would win the last three races of the 2016 Formula 1 season, Rosberg would maintain the championship lead to the end if he would grab the runner-up spot in those grand prix rounds. However, if a situation would arise in the Mexican Grand Prix where Nico Rosberg would win and Lewis Hamilton fails to finish, the championship could end with two races remaining.

Photo Credit: Foto Studio Columbo Per Pirelli Media

Posting quickest time in Q2, Max Verstappen performed the third fastest lap in the final time trial round for Formula 1 cars at Mexico. While Verstappen's top Q3 time was 0.350 seconds slower than Hamilton, the young driver was 0.079 seconds quicker than Red Bull Racing teammate Daniel Ricciardo. The Red Bull TAG Heuer cars both occupy the second row.

 Wrapping up his second stint with the Sahara Force India F1 Team at the end of this season, Nico Hulkenberg grabbed an impressive 5th place in qualifying. Described by the German driver as, "possibly my best qualifying lap of the season," Hulkenberg outran both Scuderia Ferrari race cars. Kimi Raikkonen starting the Mexican Grand Prix in 6th and Sebastian Vettel taking a seventh place grid position both commented to underachieving efforts with cars that showed greater speed in earlier qualifying sessions.

 The two Mexican native drivers in the Formula 1 tour both encountered trouble in their qualifying attempts on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Haas F1 Team driver Esteban Gutierrez spun during the Q1 session and just missed the 16-car cutoff mark for advancement in qualifying. Breaking into Q2, Sergio Perez in the Force India-Mercedes posted a 7th fastest time in the first session. Intent to crack the top-10 on the time sheet for Q2, Perez locked the front wheels of his car entering turn 1 while pressing for an important late session run. Mexican spectators witnessed Sergio Perez settling for 12th place in the starting field for Sunday's race while Esteban Gutierrez is placed in the 17th spot.

 A 71-lap race, the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix will start at 1:00 PM local time (3:00 PM Eastern time).

2016 Formula 1

Mexican Grand Prix

Starting Grid

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
3 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG Heuer
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG Heuer
5 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
6 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
7 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari
8 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
9 19 Felipe Massa Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
10 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
11 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda
12 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz
13 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Renault Renault
15 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari
16 28 Pascal Wehrlein Manor Mercedes-Benz
17 9 Esteban Gutierrez Haas F1 Team Ferrari
18 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
19 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari
20 31 Esteban Ocon Manor Mercedes-Benz
21 8 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Ferrari
22 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault Renault

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