After a tumultuous final few laps during the Mexican Grand Prix, it had appeared that Red Bull’s Max Verstappen would be awarded a podium spot with third place. However, once the race had been concluded, Verstappen was hit with a 5 second penalty for going off the track and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was awarded the position. Up until recently Vettel had still maintained his position from the race Sunday, but the racing stewards had determined he would be given a 10 second penalty for driving dangerously. Due to this Daniel Ricciardo was awarded with third place, followed by Verstappen, and Vettel in fifth.
Based on the stewards report, Vettel had changed his direction under braking for which he was penalized. This nearly caused a collision with Ricciardo on the final laps of the race. Vettel was given the penalty as this was deemed “potentially dangerous” by the stewards. After being extremely vocal about this event as it was happening, we may hear more from Sebastian Vettel regarding this 10 second penalty.
The late changes of the race has now assured Ricciardo third place in the driver standings for the 2016 season. Ricciardo now has 55 points on Vettel— yet nearly 90 points behind Lewis Hamilton—but with only 2 races left this season, the Red Bull driver is mathematically guaranteed this position.
Much of the excitement of the Mexican Grand Prix came late between Red Bull and Ferrari, but Mercedes were once again the clear victors. Both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton could not finish the last two races and maintain their position in the Driver and Constructor standings. The dominant performances from Mercedes have spanned the season with 17 wins out of 19 races. The rivalry between the two has proven greatly beneficial for the team as we near a decision on the 2016 Driver of the year.
Nico Rosberg holds a 19 point lead, and with a win in Brazil on November 13th he will finish first in the 2016 Driver Standings. Hamilton continues to fight after winning both the United States Grand Prix and the Mexican Grand Prix consecutively. We may not be able to identify this year’s best driver until the last race of the season which would be a fitting close to one of the more exciting seasons of Formula 1 in recent history.