2018 Mexico Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: In sports where championships are decided by points instead of a finale, the clincher can sometimes be uninspiring. However, in these type of sports, the key is to look at the big picture. Over the course of the whole championship, Lewis Hamilton's performance was anything but uninspiring.
TRACK: A literal stadium section that's more show than form.
EVENT: Mexico vs. Japan. Which place has the most dedicated racing fans outside of Europe (and maybe Brazil)?
QUALIFYING: Ricciardo spoils Verstappen's quest for a record as Red Bull sweeps the front row, but Hamilton doesn't care as long as he beat out Vettel, Renault and Sauber (!) continued to shine all weekend, and Hartley lets out a blue streak on his team's radio.
RACE: This was a throwback race. Not the 90s. Way back in the 60s and 70s when nearly everyone would get lapped, sometimes twice.
START: Hamilton gets a rocket of a start, Ricciardo wheel spins back to third, Verstappen makes up for his qualifying disappointment, Vettel and Bottas swap positions back and forth, and Ocon makes the lone contact.
HAMILTON: Lewis' worst race of the year clinched the greatest championship of his career.
VETTEL: Sebastian will have a lot of blown opportunities to ponder during the off season...
MERCEDES: Now they need to clinch the constructors' championship, which starts with answering why did they do so poorly in Mexico.
FERRARI: Now they need to concentrate on the next impossible comeback, which starts with grabbing back the momentum from last week.
VERSTAPPEN: Meanwhile, Max won a race with a brilliant drive preserving his tires and later his engine.
BOTTAS: Today was never about him. And with his tires in as bad shape as his teammate's, it really wasn't about Valtteri. But hey, he got fastest lap...
RAIKKONEN: Today wasn't about Kimi either as he did wonders with his tires and followed his USGP victory with a podium.
RICCIARDO: Good heavens. This is beyond ridiculous. Beyond absurd. Beyond ... we can't think of any other words.
RED BULL: If -- and to us, that's a huge IF -- the Honda really is going to work well next year, their chassis and number one driver are setup to make a run at the title.
HULKENBERG: An excellent run for Nico.
SAINZ: An excellent weekend for Carlos until the power unit shutdown.
RENAULT: Can they give reliability to Ricciardo when he is in their car that they cannot provide for him at Red Bull?
SAUBER: They just passed Toro Rosso for eighth place as they had their best weekend in (many) years.
LECLERC: Another massive drive by Charles.
ERICSSON: A long pit stop and having to concede to Leclerc could not spoil what was a great weekend overall for Marcus. Perhaps his best in his F1 career.
VANDOORNE: Another best, as Stoffel had his best race of his F1 career. Unfortunately, way too late.
ALONSO: Rapidly running out of laps before Fernando leaves F1 to pass Michael Schumacher for the all time laps completed record.
GASLY: Nice recovery drive for a point. Pierre is probably praying he doesn't get Ricciardo's luck next year.
HARTLEY: Despite his finishing position, another improved run by Brendon. But probably too late for him as well.
PEREZ: A crushing DNF for the local hero who thrilled the crowd for half a race.
HAAS: The never do well in Mexico. In fact, they do quite lousy there. Hell, even the Williams beat them!
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Handful.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 5 -- The number of World Championships for Hamilton, the number of race wins for Verstappen, and the number of years since Vettel took the title.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: This is the third time Hamilton has clinched the title without finishing on the podium. Last year also in Mexico he finished ninth which was all he needed. And of course, the famous 2008 wet finish in Brazil when he passed Timo Glock for fifth place in the final corners to just squeeze by Felipe Massa by a point.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Mercedes Technical Director, James Allison, puts the mixed emotions of the Silver Arrows camp into perspective, "You have to remember to be happy when you took a pasting like that."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Daniel Ricciardo, obviously frustrated beyond belief, "I'm not superstitious or any of that bullshit, but the car's cursed. I'll let Gasly drive it. I'm done with it."
SCHEDULE: The drivers' championship has been decided but not the constructors. So we go to Brazil for more fun ... if you call constant threats of being mugged fun...
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