Mexican Formula 1 Grand Prix 2015: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2015

Mexican Formula 1 Grand Prix 2015: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Formula One is back in Mexico after 23 years, with the revamped Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to host what should be a thrilling spectacle.

    The last driver to sample victory in a grand prix in Mexico City was Nigel Mansell. His compatriot Lewis Hamilton, who was crowned world champion last weekend in the United States, will be hoping to follow suit with a win here. It’d be the 11th triumph of a remarkable season for the Mercedes man.

    Competition will be fierce, though. There’s a needle clearly prominent between Hamilton and his team-mate Nico Rosberg, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will be hoping to cling on to second place in the overall standings. Sergio Perez of Force India is one to keep an eye on, too, as he’s set to be backed by a fervent home crowd.

    A new circuit poses unique challenges for the drivers, making qualifying and practice especially important. Given the track is situated at a height of over 2,000 metres, the altitude will create issues for the drivers involved as they’ll have to get acquainted with the adverse effects it has on both cooling and turbo.

    It’ll certainly make for intriguing viewing prior to the race itself. Read on for the latest updates from Mexico and the full results from the preliminary sessions before Sunday's race.

Qualifying: Rosberg, Lewis Claim Top Spots

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    Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

    As has been the case virtually all weekend, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton sat in the top two spots coming out of Saturday's qualifying session. 

    Rosberg took the pole with a time of 1:19.480, less than two-tenths of a second ahead of Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel was also in the mix for the top spot, finishing third overall with a time of 1:19.850. 

    This marks Rosberg's fourth consecutive pole at the Mexican Grand Prix, per ESPN.com's Laurence Edmondson, though it did not come easily. Hamilton actually held the lead after the second timed lap, completing it less than two-tenths of a second better than his Mercedes teammate, but the final lap proved to be the German's shining moment. 

    Mercedes team owner Toto Wolff said after qualifying that Rosberg was "angry," per Mobil 1 The Grid on Twitter. He and Vettel have a tremendous rivalry emerging, so the only way to turn that aggression around is to knock off the points leader on Sunday. 

    Even though Rosberg will be happy to start in the lead, Luke Smith of NBCSports.com did note he has just two wins from his last 10 pole positions. 

    Given the competitiveness in qualifying thus far, not just from Rosberg and Hamilton, but down to Carlos Sainz in the No. 11 spot, the Grand Prix on Sunday is going to be one of the best races of the year. 

    Hamilton is the favorite with 10 victories in 16 races, including three straight, but Rosberg has been the runner-up in two of the last three races and is on the verge of having that big moment he's been looking for since the Austrian Grand Prix in June. 

    Here are the full qualifying results, per Formula1.com:

    PostionDriverTeamTime
    1Nico RosbergMercedes1:19.480
    2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:19.668
    3Sebastian VettelFerrari1:19.850
    4Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:20.398
    5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:20.399
    6Valtteri BottasWilliams1:20.448
    7Felipe MassaWilliams1:20.567
    8Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:20.710
    9Sergio PerezForce India1:20.716
    10        Nico HulkenbergForce India     1:20.788
    11Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:20.942
    12Romain GrosjeanLotus1:21.038
    13Pastor MaldonadoLotus1:21.261
    14Marcus EricssonSauber1:21.544
    15Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:22.494
    16Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-
    17Felipe NasrSauber-
    18Alexander RossiMarussia-
    19Will StevensMarussia-

FP3: Rosberg Squeaks Past Hamilton in Thrilling Session

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    Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

    The wild ride at the Mexico City continued on Saturday with Nico Rosberg edging out Lewis Hamilton by 0.014 seconds in the third practice round 1:21.083-1:21.097.

    Hamilton and Lewis, despite both driving Mercedes cars, are doing their best to create a rivalry that Ron Howard will one day turn into a sequel to his 2013 film Rush. The two had an incident at the U.S. Grand Prix when Rosberg threw his hat at Hamilton following the latter's victory.

    Mercedes team owner Toto Wolff told Pete Gill and James Galloway of Sky Sports he likes seeing that kind of passion from his two drivers. 

    It's a great situation, it's what the sport needs - emotions. Do you want me or do you want us to put the hand on them and say 'don't show any emotions, we don't want any controversy'? It's the opposite, it's great. Somebody who won a championship and won a race and the other one lost one and was frustrated.

    Both drivers brought their A-game again on Saturday, with Rosberg coming out on top this time, but Hamilton still has a huge advantage in the points standings. 

    Daniel Ricciardo was not far behind that duo, clocking in 0.118 seconds behind them. In fact, the top-12 drivers in the session were within one second of each other.

    According to Formula1.com, the race track was "slippery as ever, partly because heavy overnight rain had washed away yesterday’s rubber" and there were a few small off-course incidents. 

    This marks Rosberg's second consecutive first-place finish. He needs to make a big move this weekend to have any shot at catching Hamilton in the points standings, currently sitting 80 points back in third place. 

    While there is still more work to be done this weekend, Rosberg is on the right track. Now that he's hanging on to his hat, things will get very interesting. 

    Here are the full results from Saturday's session, per Formula1.com:

    PostionDriverTeamTime
    1Nico RosbergMercedes1:21.083
    2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:21.097
    3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:21.201
    4Sebastian VettelFerrari1:21.294
    5Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:21.530
    6Sergio PerezForce India1:21.603
    7Valtteri BottasWilliams1:21.772
    8Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:21.775
    9Felipe MassaWilliams1:21.945
    10         Nico HulkenbergForce India    1:22.010
    11Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:22.039
    12Pastor MaldonadoLotus1:22.042
    13Romain GrosjeanLotus1:22.184
    14Marcus EricssonSauber1:22.871
    15Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:23.065
    16Felipe NasrSauber1:23.067
    17Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:24.648
    18Will StevensMarussia1:25.654
    19Alexander RossiMcLaren1:28.176
    20         Jenson Button     McLaren         1:29.336

FP2: Rosberg Fastest After Entertaining Session

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Nico Rosberg posted the fastest lap time in second practice at the Mexico Grand Prix in what was an incident-filled session.

    The Mercedes man will have been delighted to have finished at the summit having suffered with overheating brakes earlier in the day. The Red Bull twosome of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo trailed the German in second and third place, respectively, while world champion Lewis Hamilton finished in fourth.

    After finishing top of the standings in FP1, it was a disastrous start to the day’s second session for young Max Verstappen.

    Perhaps a little over ambitious after this heroics earlier in the day, the 18-year-old Toro Rosso driver was far too hot heading into Turn 16, before planting his car into the barrier. Red flags were subsequently waved, prompting a five-minute delay in the session.

    It wasn’t the only big incident in the stint. Valtteri Bottas was also finding the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit tough to cope with, as he spun at Turn 1, clipping the fence and losing his front wing in the process. Flags were brandished again, although only yellow this time, thankfully.

    Meanwhile, Hamilton was showing some pace that was scarce earlier in the day, going to the top of the time sheets in the first half hour. Rosberg was in the mix too and with some ominous clouds honing in on the circuit, the cars out on track began to get a move on.

    The German was able to overhaul his team-mate at the summit with a fine lap, but Red Bull's pair of Kvyat and Ricciardo showed some form of their own to move into second and third place, respectively.

    Another red flag saw the action halted again as the clock ticked past the hour-mark. This time it was Romain Grosjean in his Lotus with the issue, pulling up in a high-speed area of the track. However, the Frenchman opted to assist the marshals in moving his vehicle and the session was quickly back underway.

    It merely allowed the drivers to embark on some long run stints, meaning the final stages didn't see much movement in the upper echelons of the standings, especially as spatters of rain grew increasingly heavy.

    Rosberg may not be able to win the world title, but he'll be determined to make amends for a poor season in the last few races of 2015. Although he ran into trouble in the day's earlier session, his pace was strong throughout Friday and he's looking like the man to beat in Sunday's race. Hamilton, you suspect, will have something to say about that, though.

    Here are the full results from the session, per the Sky Sports F1 broadcast:

    PositionDriverTeamTime
    1.Nico RosbergMercedes1:21.531
    2.Daniil KvyatRed Bull+0.245
    3.Daniel RicciardoRed Bull+0.337
    4.Lewis HamiltonMercedes+0.430
    5.Sebastian VettelFerrari+0.453
    6.Kimi RaikkonenFerrari+0.868
    7.Valtteri BottasWilliams+1.190
    8.Fernando AlonsoMcLaren+1.462
    9.Jenson ButtonMcLaren+1.578
    10.Felipe MassaWilliams+1.758
    11.Nico HulkenbergForce India+1.759
    12.Pastor MaldonadoLotus+1.832
    13.Carlos SainzToro Rosso+1.833
    14.Felipe NasrSauber+1.899
    15.Sergio PerezForce India+2.066
    16.Romain GrosjeanLotus+2.083
    17.Marcus EricssonSauber+3.002
    18.Alexander RossiMarussia+4.409
    19.Will StevensMarussia+5.437
    20.Max Vestappen N/A

FP1: Verstappen on Top, Mercedes Toil

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen finished top of the standings in the first practice session at the Mexican Grand Prix on a slippery Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.

    The 18-year-old was impressive on Friday, finishing clear of Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who were in second and third, respectively.

    Newly crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton had a relatively quiet session, ending up in 11th spot. His Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg looked strong initially but had a promising stint halted after his rear brakes caught fire with 30 minutes to go, eventually finishing up in sixth place.

    Although the first practice session of the weekend isn’t often too significant a barometer of how things are going to turn out come race day, given none of the drivers have competed in Formula One at this venue previously, it was intriguing to see who would adapt quickest to a new circuit and tricky conditions.

    Indeed, some overnight rain meant the track was still very damp in places, making it tough for the teams to initially determine which tyre compound to use.

    “It is like ice everywhere," reported McLaren man Fernando Alonso during the session, per BBC Sport. "On both the dry patches and the wet patches. Very strange.”

    Eventually, with clear skies above, the dry spots on the track did begin to grow, and as such, the drivers began to become increasingly confident with their braking. All 20 drivers posted a timed lap, and with 30 minutes of the session remaining, it was Mercedes' Rosberg who led the way.

    There was a hairy moment for the German not long after, though, as his rear brakes overheated badly and caught fire for a few seconds. It seemed set to curtail the Mercedes man’s session, allowing the other drivers a chance to overhaul him on the drying circuit; Rosberg did eventually reemerge for a quick dart before the chequered flag.

    Needless to say, Hamilton was quickly warned to keep his own brakes cool by the Mercedes engineers, as Red Bull duo Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo moved to first and second spot, respectively. But with the minutes ticking down, changes at the top were inevitable.

    Verstappen eventually emerged at the summit of the standings with an impressive 1:25.990, although it's doubtful whether the lap will be cleared as valid, as the youngster appeared to cut a corner.

    After their first outing around this testing circuit and with dry weather forecast for the rest of the day, expect second practice to provide a much clearer indication of which teams are going to be competitive when we reach the final knockings of the grand prix.

    Here are the full results from the session, per the Sky Sports F1 broadcast:

    PositionDriverTeamTime
    1.Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:25.990
    2.Daniil KvyatRed Bull+0.305
    3.Kimi RaikkonenFerrari+0.305
    4.Sebastian VettelFerrari+0.896
    5.Daniel RicciardoRed Bull+1.195
    6.Nico RosbergMercedes+1.206
    7.Valtteri BottasWilliams+1.313
    8.Carlos SainzToro Rosso+1.420
    9.Sergio PerezForce India+1.591
    10.Felipe MassaWilliams+1.705
    11.Lewis HamiltonMercedes+1.733
    12.Marcus EricssonSauber+2.508
    13.Pastor MaldonadoLotus+2.569
    14.Felipe NasrSauber+2.589
    15.Jolyon PalmerLotus+2.721
    16.Nico HulkenbergForce India+3.109
    17.Fernando AlonsoMcLaren+4.082
    18.Alexander RossiMarussia+4.629
    19.Jenson ButtonMcLaren+6.101
    20.Will StevensMarussia+6.876