Day of the dead brings Rosberg to life
Crushed in Austin by an error that handed Hamilton both title and win, Rosberg was flawless in Mexico
Until he’d rounded the 71st and nal lap of the Mexican GP, you needed to go back four months to nd the last time Nico Rosberg had won a grand prix. It was in Austria on 21 June. Much has happened since then, including the mistake one week ago that meant the title was won by his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. But at a packed Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez during the annual festival ‘the day of the dead’, a reinvigorated Rosberg found himself once more on top of the podium.
The rst Mexican Grand Prix in 23 years was a remarkable engineering test for every team up and down the shiny new pitlane. The rareed atmosphere of Mexico City (at 2,250m above sea level) had a direct effect on downforce, the cooling of both brakes and engines, and power.
The thin air at the Tilke-tweaked circuit meant there was very low aerodynamic efciency with a lift over drag ratio of around 1.5. This meant teams ran steep, Monaco-style wings that only created Monza levels of downforce. The minimal air resistance created less drag, so on the main straight speeds topped a whopping 227mph.
But the increased top speeds put extra strain on the brakes, and the reduced air pressure had a signicant effect on cooling. Additional ducts had to be cut around the brakes and engine covers to help keep down temperatures, but that had the knock-on effect of reducing aerodynamic performance. The upshot of that was reduced grip, on a surface that was already very slippery due to the freshly laid asphalt. All in all, the conditions at the high altitude Mexican venue gave the teams a bit of headache.
On Sunday afternoon all 134,000 spectators