From a betting perspective, more post-mortem than post-race. Three tips, none came off. Obviously the Hulkenberg tip was unlikely (although credible, I think, given he was side by side with Verstappen on the straight and both Mercedes went off track). The other two tips were just poorly judged.
Pre-race, Grosjean had some issues and started from the pit lane. Palmer, whose cracked chassis prevented him qualifying, lined up 21st on the grid.
Off the line, Hamilton got away cleanly. Rosberg was side by side with Verstappen, Hulkenberg close behind. At the first corner Hamilton went off and only came back on some way down the road. Rosberg went off, squeezed out by Verstappen, at turn one, rejoined still 2nd and kept the place. Neither Mercedes was penalised which I found somewhat surprising (more leeway must be given at the start but I’m not sure that extends to making corners optional).
Further down the order Gutierrez, with the deft touch of a drunk wearing oven gloves, nudged Wehrlein’s rear wheel, putting the German into a Sauber and out of the race. The Safety Car emerged after a brief initial Virtual Safety Car period.
The major changes, that I recall, were Hulkenberg rising to 4th ahead of Ricciardo and Vettel slipping down the order a few places.
Then a long period of boredom ensued. It was a one stop race for pretty much everyone as the medium tyre could do the whole race distance (Raikkonen did two, I think Ricciardo as well, the Aussie having pitted very early under the safety car). After the pit stops, Hamilton was trundling around in 1st, Rosberg was about 5-10s further back. Verstappen had been released by Ricciardo under team orders to pursue the slower Mercedes, whilst the second pit stop had put the Aussie 5th, behind Vettel.
Verstappen got close but was being caught by Vettel, who was being caught by Ricciardo. The last few laps had all three running nose to tail. Verstappen left the circuit and didn’t hand over the place (Vettel would likely have passed had the Dutchman remained on-track), to the expletive-ridden frustration of the German (who made the not very wise move of telling the race director, Charlie Whiting, to go forth and multiply over the radio). Verstappen was given a penalty which relegated him to 5th but then Vettel got a penalty for a rule introduced to stop Verstappen moving under braking, so Ricciardo ended up 3rd.
Many handbags, and more after the race, including about whether the Mercedes should’ve had penalties for both going off at the first corner: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/37819348
Raikkonen was 6th, with Hulkenberg unable to match the pace of cars ahead and having a rather dull but productive afternoon in 7th. Bottas and Massa were next, with Perez 10th.
Ericsson was a tantalising 11th. Had one car ahead dropped out, that would’ve been Sauber’s first point and put them ahead of Manor in the table (worth about $35m). Wehrlein was the only DNF.
Mr. Jessop, elsewhere, pointed me to the Mercedes ‘explanation’ for going off-track, arguing that if they hadn’t it would have caused the field to close up and have collisions down the line. That’s dross, in my book.
Notes to self for future:
Very hard to pass in Mexico. Thinner air reduces the effectiveness of DRS and slipstreams.
Stupid track surface which means degradation is minimal. One stops very likely.
Not a car breaker.
In the title race, this narrows Rosberg’s advantage over Hamilton to 19 points. If the German wins in Brazil, he takes the title. If Hamilton fails to finish and Rosberg is 6th or higher, the German takes the title. Interlagos is a fantastic circuit, probably my favourite, and rain often falls (the more the better for Hamilton who enjoys a substantial pace advantage over his team mate when it’s soggy).
In team terms, Force India are now 9 points ahead of Williams. Still very tight, but they should be favourites to finish 4th now. Every other place seems settle, perhaps excepting Manor/Sauber.
The next race is a fortnight away.