Three performances flew under the radar in the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday in the wake of Lewis Hamilton clinching the championship and Max Verstappen dominating the race.
Lance Stroll snuck up from 11th to sixth, his second-best result of the season for Williams, and moved ahead of teammate Felipe Massa into 10th in the driver’s championship with 40 points scored during his rookie season. The fact the result came on Stroll’s 19th birthday added to the savory day for the Canadian, and solidified Williams’ fifth place in the Constructor’s Championship on 76 points as the team scored for a seventh straight race.
Kevin Magnussen, like teammate Romain Grosjean, had a nightmare qualifying session for Haas with the two drivers only in 18th and 19th on the grid, promoted up a few spots owing to the bevy of grid penalties. But by keeping his nose clean and playing the strategy right, Magnussen made it into eighth, equaling his second-best result of the year for a third time this year. This also aids Haas’ quest to make it to seventh in the Constructor’s Championship with Renault having a double DNF. With two races remaining, Toro Rosso is sixth (53 points), Renault seventh (48) and Haas eighth (47).
Lastly Marcus Ericsson put in a barnstorming early drive, having been promoted to 12th on the grid for Sauber and then running solidly in the top-10 in the year-old Ferrari power unit for most of the first stint until the Virtual Safety Car period. A power unit issue put pause to the Swede’s potential first score of the year, and marked the second straight year Ericsson deserved a point in Mexico only to come up short. On a one-stop strategy special called by Sauber strategist Ruth Buscombe last year, Ericsson finished 11th here last year.
All three drivers reflected on the race when speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton post-race. Their quotes are below, and also in Part 2 of the Mexican Grand Prix post-race Paddock Pass (segment also features Fernando Alonso, who finished 10th).
6. 18-Lance Stroll, Williams
“Yes (to cake). Definitely. We’ll celebrate this evening my birthday and a great result. It was a great race. The whole race was very well controlled. Good first stint on ultrasoft, overcut Perez on VSC, then took it home. I had a great second stint, hunting down Ocon down to the end. Just missed out on an opportunity.
“It got to the point where the harder I pushed, the more I’d overheat the tire. I never quite got in the DRS zone. I got in it once, but he got in it too because of lapped cars. I knew it’d be hard to overtake. We know it’s hard to overtake without a big pace difference. P6 is fantastic for us.”
8. 20-Kevin Magnussen, Haas
“I mean this is like a victory. It’s incredible. We could have easily given up, thrown the towel in the rings. But no one gave up. Everyone knows we’re not the worst team. We’re not meant to be last row. We are meant to be in the points, fighting in the top 10. I’m really proud of the team for that.
“Yeah it was a perfect race. Starting from 15th, it couldn’t have gone better.”
DNF. 9-Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
“Very disappointing. Probably my best race of the year. Had a great first stint, running in the top 10 all the time, then we were very unlucky with the VSC, we pitted two laps before it came out. We lost out to both McLarens and the time.
“It was, yeah. We weren’t overheating, but the turbo was toast.
“It was very important. The last couple races I’ve had strong qualifying sessions and two strong races in a row. This is what I need to show to stay in Formula 1. ”