Will Rosberg finally turn pole into victory?

2015 Mexican Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Nico Rosberg needs to turn pole position into victory today but starting from the head of the grid may be less of an advantage in Mexico than anywhere else on the F1 calendar.

When the lights go out at the start of the first Mexican Grand Prix in 23 years the drivers will begin a 900-metre sprint down to the first corner at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, making this one of the most eagerly-anticipated starts of the season.

The opening sequence of corners is swiftly followed by another decent straight into a substantial braking zone, presenting the drivers with many opportunities to improve their positions.

Rosberg’s best chance of winning rests on him staying ahead of Hamilton at the start, which he failed to do at Suzuka and Austin. However one of several big unknowns in Mexico is how easy overtaking will be. DRS is available along three-quarters of the length of the long straight, which on paper should lend a substantial advantage to the chasing car. However the high altitude already robs drivers of a considerable amount of downforce and drag, so the effects of DRS may prove to be lessened.

The trickiest aspect of the race for drivers to manage is likely to be the tyres. Having struggled desperately for grip on Friday the track conditions improved slightly yesterday, but keeping tyres in the correct temperature window will be critical to their race prospects.

Vettel is optimistic Ferrari can take on Mercedes
Sebastian Vettel is optimistic this will present an opportunity for Ferrari to take on Mercedes. “I can’t predict what’s going to happen but usually we’re always a bit stronger, compared to them, in the race,” he said.

“The tyres could be crucial tomorrow,” he added, “the circuit is very slippery and I expect it to be slippery again. There might be some rain overnight so might be a bit of a reset for the track.”

Last year the track surface in Russia proved so low on grip that Rosberg was able to put a set of the harder tyres on at the end of lap one and make them last until the end of the race. Keep an eye out for anyone trying the same today, especially if the Safety Car is deployed early on. As there is little space around the edges of the track in the second half of the lap where cars can be recovered, the chances are good we may see a Safety Car or VSC deployment during the race.

The weather system which brought scattered showers to the circuit has moved eastwards since yesterday and further rain is not expected until the evening. However the teams will remain wary about the possibility for showers, particularly as Mexico’s unusual climate means some of the rain which fell during practice was undetected by their radars before it appeared on the track.

That could be good news for Kimi Raikkonen, who at the time of writing is due to start from 18th on the grid due to penalties. He’s got a lot of catching up to do to get on terms with the Williams drivers, who are poised to overhaul him in the drivers’ championship.

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Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Nico RosbergMercedes1’20.4361’20.053 (-0.383)1’19.480 (-0.573)
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’20.8081’19.829 (-0.979)1’19.668 (-0.161)
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’20.5031’20.045 (-0.458)1’19.850 (-0.195)
4Daniil KvyatRed Bull1’20.8261’20.490 (-0.336)1’20.398 (-0.092)
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’21.1661’20.783 (-0.383)1’20.399 (-0.384)
6Valtteri BottasWilliams1’20.8171’20.458 (-0.359)1’20.448 (-0.010)
7Felipe MassaWilliams1’21.3791’20.642 (-0.737)1’20.567 (-0.075)
8Max VerstappenToro Rosso1’20.9951’20.894 (-0.101)1’20.710 (-0.184)
9Sergio PerezForce India1’20.9661’20.669 (-0.297)1’20.716 (+0.047)
10Nico HulkenbergForce India1’21.3151’20.935 (-0.380)1’20.788 (-0.147)
11Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso1’20.9601’20.942 (-0.018)
12Romain GrosjeanLotus1’21.5771’21.038 (-0.539)
13Pastor MaldonadoLotus1’21.5201’21.261 (-0.259)
14Marcus EricssonSauber1’21.2991’21.544 (+0.245)
15Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’21.4221’22.494 (+1.072)
16Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1’21.779
17Felipe NasrSauber1’21.788
18Alexander RossiManor1’24.136
19Will StevensManor1’24.386
20Jenson ButtonMcLaren

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Nico Rosberg27.401 (1)31.208 (1)20.860 (4)
Lewis Hamilton27.501 (2)31.271 (2)20.797 (1)
Sebastian Vettel27.646 (5)31.336 (3)20.839 (2)
Daniil Kvyat27.878 (8)31.488 (5)20.855 (3)
Daniel Ricciardo27.983 (14)31.411 (4)20.887 (5)
Valtteri Bottas27.601 (3)31.592 (6)21.106 (9)
Felipe Massa27.641 (4)31.695 (8)21.111 (10)
Max Verstappen27.930 (10)31.734 (10)20.950 (6)
Sergio Perez27.811 (6)31.703 (9)21.071 (7)
Nico Hulkenberg27.821 (7)31.770 (11)21.151 (14)
Carlos Sainz Jnr27.950 (13)31.592 (6)21.132 (13)
Romain Grosjean27.907 (9)31.842 (12)21.237 (17)
Pastor Maldonado27.942 (12)31.948 (13)21.090 (8)
Marcus Ericsson27.937 (11)32.008 (15)21.202 (15)
Kimi Raikkonen28.189 (16)32.111 (16)21.122 (11)
Fernando Alonso28.396 (17)31.948 (13)21.216 (16)
Felipe Nasr28.038 (15)32.332 (17)21.123 (12)
Alexander Rossi29.360 (18)32.988 (18)21.677 (18)
Will Stevens29.537 (19)33.072 (19)21.734 (19)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarEngineSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Felipe MassaWilliamsMercedes364.3 (226.4)
2Valtteri BottasWilliamsMercedes360.8 (224.2)-3.5
3Felipe NasrSauberFerrari358.2 (222.6)-6.1
4Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes357.1 (221.9)-7.2
5Sergio PerezForce IndiaMercedes355.8 (221.1)-8.5
6Pastor MaldonadoLotusMercedes355.7 (221.0)-8.6
7Marcus EricssonSauberFerrari355.7 (221.0)-8.6
8Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes355.3 (220.8)-9.0
9Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes354.9 (220.5)-9.4
10Romain GrosjeanLotusMercedes354.7 (220.4)-9.6
11Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari353.5 (219.7)-10.8
12Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari351.3 (218.3)-13.0
13Max VerstappenToro RossoRenault350.9 (218.0)-13.4
14Carlos Sainz JnrToro RossoRenault350.6 (217.9)-13.7
15Daniil KvyatRed BullRenault347.2 (215.7)-17.1
16Fernando AlonsoMcLarenHonda345.9 (214.9)-18.4
17Daniel RicciardoRed BullRenault344.3 (213.9)-20.0
18Will StevensManorFerrari331.7 (206.1)-32.6
19Alexander RossiManorFerrari331.3 (205.9)-33.0

Over to you

Share your views on the Mexican Grand Prix in the comments.

2015 Mexican Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Will Rosberg finally turn pole into victory?”

  1. With high speeds before turn one, and cold tyres and brakes, plus altitude-limited down force, I’m anticipating some unfortunate carnage. I hope the drivers’ briefing is paid attention to.

  2. Genuinely think we could be in for an interesting start and the nature of the track could give us some surprises to begin with. Not to mention everyone sliding about. Obviously, the outcome will the same, but it’s always entertaining to see a Grand Prix at a new venue… if we can say ‘new’ here…

    Something I love about this track already is that the huge stands make them look like go-karts whizzing about. It also means there’s also a lot of reverberation so the engines sound louuuddd.

  3. Much will depend on the weather. Rain forecast between 70 and 90 % for 15:00 pm, but not as high for 13:00 pm. Rain may fall towards the end of the race and wreak havoc. Here’s hoping.

  4. My money is on Rosberg losing the lead before turn 1 again. We all thought Lewis might be the one to struggle more with the start procedure changes after Spa but since then Nico has been really weak in that aspect.

    Can see Lewis beating him again on this one.

    1. Agree with you, @fer-no65. I can see Nico messing up his start again, over caution with Lewis…

      We all thought Lewis might be the one to struggle more with the start procedure changes after Spa but since then Nico has been really weak in that aspect.

      I’m always amazed about those kind of guessing on Hamilton struggling with start procedures —or any kind of technical skills in comparison with Nico.

      Where that come from? Maybe from the press, from guys like Ted Kravitz, with no racing experience, only educated guessing based in very few inside info…

      1. It’s the “you’re only as good as your last result” type thinking. Hamilton had had blinding starts all season
        while Rosberg was struggling. Mercedes changed the start system to help Rosberg and then Hamilton also had a couple of seriously poor starts (Austria, Silverstone and Hungary). So then Hamilton was written off as a poor starter.

        After Spa the Merc starts still aren’t very good, but Hamilton seems to still have the upper hand over Rosberg on that.

        Journalists have no time to keep track of all results and see an average result. They can only remember the last few results and go with that as the average.

      2. as @patrickl says: back then they were all worried about it.

    2. I sincerely hope that, if they are side-by-side again, Hamilton doesn’t push Rosberg out yet again. I gave him the benefit of the doubt in Japan but the start at Austin wasn’t very well intentioned from his part. I, as many, just want some clean, gentlemen racing.

  5. I reckon Lewis will wait for the pitstop unless he gets clear ahead. He has his car set up to help the tyres last, and the kink in the straight will make T1 easier to defend on the inside. Then Rosberg will be fighting off Seb in the tyre-friendly Ferrari.

  6. “making this one of the most eagerly-anticipated starts of the season.”

    Yes, thats how i feel about it… Omg moment on first lap. Imagine Nico pushes lewis to outside… And a bit offtrack… Then we have race drama on our hands.. Can see it now, First corner Nico will hug inside Lewis will undercut, and then they will touch… Choice words will be beeped, Nico will have upperhand for 5 laps then Lewis will make mad dash under DRS. Meanwhile 5 seconds back Vettel will sit pretty hoping they take their fight offtrack.

  7. Hamilton often says he doesn’t concern himself with stats, but 13 wins in a season has got to be on his mind I don’t care how much he dismisses it.

    The last 3 races of this season need to be some wheel to wheel practice for Rosberg leading into next year. Wins would be nice I’m sure but spending some time wheel to wheel in preparation for 2016 would be worth so much more for him.

  8. i having a slight feeling that Vettel will get a great start, and take the lead into the first corner.
    (i know it is unlikely but is possible)

    if he does indeed takes the lead from the start, i think he will control the race from their.

    1. Vet
    2. Ros
    3. Ham
    4. Per
    5. Ric
    6. Kvy
    7. Rai
    Rest: well it doesnt make any difference!

  9. I just hope neither one does anything “extremely aggressive”, thats puts them both out of the running. Especially Nico, who has more to lose. Lewis already has the championship, Nico is still fighting for second place.

  10. Hamilton alludes to the notion that he has his car more st up for the race.

  11. Those speed trap data are pretty amazing. If Williams can get to the front no one will be able to pass them. Not even close. Perez may be able to ladder himself up to the front too if the cars stay close in the early running. Conversely, RBR is going to look like they are chained to a post.

    1. Alonso’s McLaren-Honda posted a speed of 345 km/h, which is faster than Ricciardo’s Red Bull-Renault. I think the long straight means cars with a few kilometres per hour speed advantage over the car in front will be able to accomplish an overtake.

  12. Maybe he’ll try to squeeze Hamilton like Hamilton did to him in Austin, but judge it poorly and collide.

Comments are closed.