|Circuit||Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
|Distance||305,354 km / 189,779 miles|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||SF71H||–||Scuderia Ferrari||2.|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||SF71H||–||Scuderia Ferrari||3.
no images were found
Maurizio Arrivabene: ”Today’s result reflects the determination of the entire team, after a less than ideal qualifying on a track where aerodynamic downforce and tyre management are fundamentally important. Seb and Kimi both drove great races. Thanks to the efforts of the team, both here at the track and back in Maranello, the Constructors’ Championship is still undecided and the team has closed the points gap over the past two races. We are therefore determined to fight all the way to the finish, starting with the next GP in Brazil. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton on his fifth Drivers’ World Championship title.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I’m glad that Kimi and I were on the podium today and also because the atmosphere here is always great, but obviously I am disappointed for the result of the drivers’ championship. At the beginning of the race I was looking after my tyres a little bit. Then, after passing Lewis, we thought about putting some pressure on Max, also trying something different in case they would start to struggle with their tyres towards the end, but he was too quick to catch. I want to congratulate him for this race and Lewis on winning the championship. This is not a very happy day for me, but one thing is being down and another is not being able to get back up, and I know that in two weeks I will be back up and try my best to finish the season well and fight for the Constructors’ championship.”
Kimi Raikkonen: ”Today I was pretty happy with the car. Obviously the result is not ideal but from where we started we did our maximum. We got two cars on the podium and some more points for the team. The first set of tyres was a bit tricky, for sure the second one was better, but that’s what we expected to be. In the first stint we tried to pass the Mercedes, but we did not manage and the tyres suffered from this attempt. Then we changed from two stops to a one-stop strategy, knowing it would be a long race; the tyres were actually really good in this phase. In the end we ran out a little bit with the left front, but it still worked pretty good. Hopefully we can close up in the Constructor Championship in the last two races. Congratulations to Lewis; he has done the best job of any of us this year and he deserved to win.”
Seb and Kimi second and third. Ferrari still fighting as the Constructors’ title undecided
Mexico, 28 October –Two Ferraris on the podium – Seb ahead of Kimi – after a difficult qualifying. With two races to go, the Constructors’ championship is still up for grabs, after the Scuderia has closed the gap by 23 points in the last two races.
FILM OF THE RACE. The top six on the grid were all on Ultrasoft tyres, the middle compound available. Seb was fourth and Kimi sixth on the grid, a bit bottled up after the start as Ricciardo’s Red Bull was slow off the line. Bottas made the most of it to pass Seb, who fought back to retake the position at turn 4. Kimi was seventh but soon got back ahead of Sainz.
Tyres were the key to this race and Mercedes changed theirs on lap 12, going on to the prime Supersofts, the hardest available. Then Ricciardo came in, while Sebastian stayed out. Verstappen pitted and the number 5 car was leading, followed by the other Ferrari. However, Kimi was struggling with graining and could not match Max’s pace on fresh tyres. Then came a fight with Hamilton and Ricciardo, which gave his team-mate a bit of breathing space, and he pitted on lap 18 followed by Kimi. At the end of the first run of pit stops, the positions remained unchanged, but the Reds were on fresher tyres, although everyone was on the same Supersoft compound.
With a third of the race completed, was it best to save the tyres as much as possible and go all the way to the end, or to push hard and make a second stop? So at this point, Seb stopped attacking Ricciardo. The two of them were mired in back markers, with everyone using DRS down the straights. Lap 31 seemed like the right moment, but the Virtual Safety Car came out after Sainz parked on track.
Two more laps and the race was on again. On lap 34, Seb pulled out all the stops and made the most of the backmarkers t make the decisive attacking move at turn 2. He was now the quickest man on track and closing on Hamilton.
Laps 38/39: Seb was glued to his rival in the stadium section, flipping open the flap down the straight to pull off a clean passing move at the first braking zone. He was now second. “Try and go with Plan A as long as you can,” he was told over the radio. Meanwhile Kimi had massively closed down Bottas by 15 seconds, so the gap had dropped to just two. Hamilton ran wide, under attack from Ricciardo and lost the position.
It was time for Seb’s second pit stop and Hamilton did the same. The Ferrari was now on new Ultrasofts, while on the Mercedes they were worn. Then came a fight between Kimi and Bottas, which produced a carbon copy of their team-mates’ clash as the Mercedes man ran wide. A great move from the Iceman to put Ferrari in third and fourth places. Ricciardo was on used rubber, but Seb was unable to close on him because of traffic.
Ten laps to go: “Ricciardo’s car’s smoking,” Sebastian is told over the radio and a few moments later the Ferrari was promoted to second. The Virtual Safety Car was out again, Kimi stayed out in third place, as Bottas pitted.
That’s how it ended with the two Ferraris behind Verstappen and Hamilton coming home to take the world championship title. We have not won, but we have shown what can happen if you never give up.
Seb and Kimi: we improved from yesterday, but not enough
SEB (P4, 16 laps, best 1min14sec970 on Hypersofts, will start on Ultrasofts):
“I was pretty happy with my forst run in Q3, but I knew that in order to beat the Red Bulls I would have needed probably a couple of tenths more. So I tried to push harder in my last attempt and it didn’t work, the lap was not so far away from the previous one but not a very clean one, either, and I lost a bit of time in some places. This is a track in which aerodynamic efficiency is probably not so important, you try to throw in all the downforce you can, and I could see that we were fast in the first sector but losing out elsewhere. Anyway, it will be a long race tomorrow, and again I think strategy and tyre management will be the key to succeed”.
KIMI (P6, 20 laps, best 1min15sec330 on Hypersofts, will start on Ultrasofts):
“Today, the overall feeling with the car was better than yesterday; we improved and that’s a positive fact. In qualifying some laps were pretty good in some places and in the next one they were better in other places, so it was hard to put the lap together. In the cooler conditions of this morning it seemed to be much easier. For sure it was not the easiest qualifying, but this is how it goes sometimes. It’s going to be a long and difficult race for sure. The top three teams start with the same tires, so we’ll see how it pans out. There’s a long run down the straight to the first corner; we’ll try to make a good start and stay out of any issue. The first corner is usually quite hectic and tight: if you manage to get a good tow, it makes a massive difference. Then we’ll see what happens in the race . The tires management will be the key.
Seb’s and Kimi’s comments after Friday P2
SEB (P4 in Practice 2, 42 laps, best 1min17sec 954 on Hypersofts):
“Today it was difficult to make the car work the right way. However, it was interesting to compare the packages this morning, while during the afternoon session we focused more on preparing for the qualifying session and the race, which was good. On the fast lap though, we struggled to find the right balance and squeeze everything from the tires. The difficult part is that there is no grip and downforce, so it’s pretty slippery and the tires don’t work the right way. So, I think this is why, in some cases, you can see big gaps in lap times. We’ll try to fix everything for tomorrow. This will be the main job to do. I believe everybody can still improve for tomorrow, and we’ll try as hard as we can, but I think the key point will be the tires”.
KIMI (P8 in Practice 2, 42 laps, best 1min18sec133 on Hypersofts):
“This track has always been tricky to start with, because of the very low downforce, and today it was no different. It was a normal Friday in Mexico, with very limited grip on the track, so it’s easy to make mistakes and flatspot a tire. Because of this, we had a lot of vibrations in the car, which is not ideal, but towards the end it was getting better. How good we are against the others we’ll see tomorrow. For sure we improved through the session, but there is still some work to be done”.
Seb and Kimi ahead of the Mexican weekend
SEB: “We are approaching this weekend well, we won the last race and for the team it was an important result after the last tough races. The mood is good after all, and we have made progress, moving forward, which is good for us.
This track is very unusual because of the altitude which makes the air thinner. The approach to this circuit is very simple and straightforward: everybody is trying to put as much downforce in the car as they can, so we’ll see what happens. For sure, we’ve been more competitive on straights this year than last year, so hopefully we’ll be the fastest this time too. Our primary focus is always on winning the next race, and I think we know what we have to do to stay in the fight. However, it clearly doesn’t depend only on us. We need to look ahead and I think it’s very important that we have started to understand what maybe didn’t work in previous races. So, I think it was necessary to step back to understand and look at these points, but the main thing is that we keep moving forward. Obviously, the last couple of days have been important and helped us to make things clearer”.
KIMI: “Winning in Austin was good and that is something that I am bringing with me, but we have to look forward. We have been racing on this track layout since 2015. If we look at the past editions, we can see that every one of the three top teams has been up there at some point. So, the final result here can depend on many small things and that makes it pointless to start guessing as to who may have the upper hand this weekend. It can go either way. As for us, as a team, we can only guarantee that we will give our maximum and fight for the victory”.
Mexico City, a very unique GP
The Scuderia Ferrari race team flew by charter from Austin to Mexico City on Monday morning. Flight time is only a little over two hours, but it’s enough for a complete change of skyline, from the plains of Texas to a megalopolis that, seen from a plane, appears to stretch as far as the eye can see, with crazy traffic and policemen on point duty at every street corner. The city is surrounded by mountains, but it’s not immediately apparent, especially when the sun is beaming down, that one is at an altitude of over 2200 metres above sea level. That’s a whole two kilometres higher than Austin.
Altitude is a classic theme of the Mexican GP: it has always been the highest race in the world, with the lowest of course being Baku, which is located 28 metres below sea level. The rarified air, around 25% less dense, has a significant effect on aerodynamics. Normally, one runs maximum downforce at this track, but overall, it is still less than at Monza. The situation is a bit different for the engines, as the turbo can compensate for the less dense air and therefore reduce relative power loss.
Just like last week, the weather is expected to throw up some questions. Over the weekend, storms are forecast for almost every day. But it’s unlikely this will put off the fans, who have never failed to pack out the grandstands at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, ever since the race returned to the calendar.