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GP Week : Issue 232
Fresh tyres also helped Valtteri Bottas steal third place away from Daniil Kvyat. Though both stopped for fresh rubber the bunched pack followed the safety car while the additional grunt afforded the Williams courtesy of its Mercedes power unit, allowed Bottas to make short work of the Russian. Once by, and on similarly aged tyres without the need to conser ve rubber or fuel, Kvyat could do little more than stare at the gearbox of the Williams ahead. Kvyat had deser ved more out of the race. He'd started well to get ahead of Sebastian Vettel and held third for most of the race before Bottas got by with a dozen or so laps to run. Bottas too had worked hard for the result. He'd been among the first to stop, dropping him to 16th for a time and forcing the Finn to race his way back through the field. Such was his pace that, by lap 21, he'd caught back up to Kimi Raikkonen, who was recovering from an engine problem in qualifying which saw him start 19th. Contact between the two was not inevitable but it was predictable, given the prodigious pace Bottas had shown to that point. He was in no mood to hang around and made that abundantly clear by his refusal to yield despite being hung out to dry at turn four. The contact was a racing incident. Raikkonen could have left more room but Bottas didn't have to stick his nose up the inside; either driver could have avoided the outcome and therefore the stewards made the correct decision by not apportioning blame to either. Raikkonen's progress to that point hadn't been as stellar as one might expect from a car many tipped to be capable of challenging the Mercedes. He made good gains at the start but from there progress through traffic was slow with most positions picked up as those ahead stopped rather than racecraft or speed. How it would have panned out is unclear since Raikkonen never reached his first stop. Teammate Sebastian Vettel did, though rather sooner than he'd have hoped for. Contact with Daniel Ricciardo at the first corner gave him and puncture and dropped him to the last runner on track following Fernando Alonso's opening lap retirement. Like Raikkonen the German benefitted from early stoppers but also managed to pass cars on track, climbing back to 12th before spinning on lap 17. Thereafter he was never a threat, and was never inside the top ten following the first corner melee. His eventual retirement, a third driving error of the race, summed up his day. There were strong performances from Max Verstappen, racing into the points while at the back of the pack Alexander Rossi once again got the better of Will Stevens. None though had the better of Nico Rosberg, not even Lewis Hamilton, no matter how hard he tried. 20 GPWEEK.com // 20 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> MEXICO PARTNERS: