Rosberg edges out Hamilton for Mexican GP victory

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Nico Rosberg became the first winner of the Mexican Grand Prix since Nigel Mansell in 1992 after edging out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in an intriguing battle at the front of the field.

Rosberg controlled proceedings throughout the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday, only losing the lead for four laps through the pit stops as he scored his first race win since the Austrian Grand Prix in June.

One week on from his third Formula 1 championship success in Austin, Hamilton was forced to settle for second in Mexico on Sunday, but appeared unhappy with Mercedes’ strategy call after it switched both of its drivers to a two-stop strategy mid-way through the race.

Off the line, Rosberg made a good getaway to retain his lead through the opening complex of corners ahead of Hamilton. Just behind, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo made contact, leaving the former with a puncture that forced him to pit for repairs at the end of the first lap, dropping to the very rear of the field.

There was worse news for Fernando Alonso, though, who was told to retire his McLaren after just one lap due to a power issue on his car. Max Verstappen managed to capitalize on the incident at the front to jump from eighth to sixth.

Hamilton pushed to cut the gap to Rosberg, but was unable to keep up with the German’s pace through the opening stint of the race, causing him to drop two seconds back before the first round of pit stops. Rosberg pitted first on lap 26, releasing Hamilton into the lead until he stopped two laps later, emerging in second place once again.

In the race to complete the podium, Daniil Kvyat managed to push on during the opening stint of the race after making a good start to retain third place after the first round of pit stops. Williams opted to bring both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa in early to try and get the undercut on the Red Bull drivers, and although it allowed the duo to pass Daniel Ricciardo in fourth, Kvyat continued to lead the quartet.

Bottas was fortunate to still be in the race after another run-in with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Three weeks on from their clash on the last lap of the Russian Grand Prix, the Finns made contact again when Raikkonen squeezed Bottas to the inside of turn five, leaving the Williams driver with nowhere to go. Raikkonen was clipped, causing damage to his right-rear tire that forced him to retire from the race.

Throughout the second half of the race, Rosberg continued to monitor and control the gap to Hamilton, leaving the Briton to toil in second place. However, with a lead of around 30 seconds over the rest of the field, the Mercedes drivers were comfortable in their own intra-team battle at the front.

Vettel’s fightback was stunted when he was forced to pit for a second time to change tires, dropping him further back from the top ten. After emerging from pit lane between Rosberg and Hamilton, Vettel soon fell a lap down on most of the front-runners, ending his faint hopes of points in Mexico on a tough day for Ferrari.

Despite originally planning to go to the end of the race with just one pit stop, Mercedes opted to play it safe and bring both Rosberg and Hamilton in for a second stop to ensure their tires lasted to the end of the race. Rosberg was brought in on lap 46, with Hamilton – after much protest, believing Mercedes’ fears were unjustified – coming in two laps later, emerging from the pit lane behind his team once again.

The field was bunched just a few laps later when Vettel slammed into the barrier at turn seven, prompting the stewards to deploy the safety car and bringing Ferrari’s miserable day to an early end as it suffered its first double retirement since the 2006 Australian Grand Prix.

Rosberg and Hamilton continued at the front following their recent stops, while most of the remaining runners opted to take a second pit stop. Kvyat retained third, running on the option tire ahead of Bottas and Ricciardo, with the latter passing Massa for fifth by this stage.

The safety car returned to the pits with 14 laps to go, allowing Rosberg to lead the field away for the restart. The German driver managed to keep Hamilton back at the green flag, although both had off-track moments as the stop-heavy nature of the circuit began to take its toll on their brakes.

Just behind, Bottas got the jump on Kvyat to take third place, but was not able to drop the Russian driver immediately, creating a close fight for the final podium position in the final stages of the race.

Despite coming under pressure from Hamilton late on, Rosberg managed to monitor the gap and hold on to his lead until the end of the race to end his win drought that had dated back to the Austrian Grand Prix in June.

Hamilton followed Rosberg home in second place, finishing 1.9 seconds behind his teammate. Bottas managed to drop the Red Bulls to secure his second podium finish of the season, crossing the line in P3.

Kvyat’s headed up Red Bull’s charge in fourth, finishing ahead of teammate Ricciardo in P5. Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg followed in sixth and seventh, while Sergio Perez’s home race ended with four points for eighth place. Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean rounded out the points in Mexico.

Pastor Maldonado narrowly missed out on a points finish, crossing the line six-tenths of a second behind Grosjean in the sister Lotus car. Marcus Ericsson was the sole Sauber finisher in 12th after teammate Felipe Nasr retired, while Carlos Sainz Jr. and Jenson Button ended the race 13th and 14th.

Alexander Rossi managed to continue his perfect record against Manor teammate Will Stevens, finishing 10 seconds clear at the flag.

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.