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Hamilton cuts Rosberg lead down to 19 with win in Mexico, Ricciardo claims thrilling third

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Lewis HamiltonMercedes picked up their 17th win of the season as Lewis Hamilton drove a lonely race at the front in Mexico City, recovering from going off the track after locking up in the very first corner of the Grand Prix to coast away into the distance and reduce the gap between himself and title rival Nico Rosberg to 19 points heading into the penultimate race of the season in Brazil.

Rosberg in contrast had an all action start, rubbing wheels with Red Bull's Max Verstappen, but recovering quickly enough to ensure his trip on the grass was shorter than Hamilton's and he too rejoined without losing a place. The German and Verstappen battle it out for the better part of 60 laps before the latter's attempt to overtake Rosberg saw him go off the track once more and damage the underside of his car, throwing him into the clutches of Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari behind.

That incident led to the start of the most exciting phase of the race as Verstappen, Vettel and the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo went hammer and tongs for the final podium place.

Vettel appeared to have Verstappen in his clutches, but the Dutchman once again went off the track after locking his front wheels, and came out back in front of an irate Vettel, who was as a result thrust into the clutches of Ricciardo.

While Vettel was busy yelling abuses out in the direction of Verstappen, who ignored his team's directive to allow Vettel to pass, the German collided with Ricciardo, who attempted to snatch the place from the Ferrari, who was caught in between a very aggressive Red Bull sandwich.

That clash resulted in Vettel and Ricciardo both falling behind and Verstappen finishing ahead of the duo on the track.

A penalty was quick in forthcoming as Verstappen was ushered out of the podium finishers' room and dropped down to 5th place behind his teammate Ricciardo giving a still annoyed Vettel the podium, his first since the Italian Grand Prix.

However, there was still another twist of fate to follow as the race stewards then decided to penalize Vettel too for his defence of his position against Ricciardo from the second incident, and moved the German back down to 5th, bumping the Red Bulls up into 3rd and 4th with Ricciardo who finished 5th on the track, handed third place.

Both teams had their own view of the incidents with Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene saying, “Today could have felt special: we fully deserved this podium, which was taken away by bureaucracy. The whole team had showed great stamina by staying united and focused in a difficult moment. Our strategy had made it possible to make good progress through the race and both drivers did a very good job. Unfortunately, we were penalized by Stewards’ unappealable decision which, in my opinion, is too harsh and somehow unfair.”

Red Bull's Team Principal Christian Horner said, “I’m glad to see the Stewards making the right decision regarding the Ricciardo-Vettel incident, and it extends our lead over Ferrari in the Constructors Championship to 62 points. It’s been an interesting end to the Mexican Grand Prix, not one that anyone really wants to see, but I’m delighted for Daniel in having secured 3rd place in the Drivers’ Championship, he’s had an excellent season and deserves it.

Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari came in 6th ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, with whom he too collided late in the race. The Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa came in 8th and 9th respectively, while local boy Sergio Perez in the other Force India wrapped up the point scoring positions.

Top 10: 1) Hamilton 2) Rosberg 3) Ricciardo 4) Verstappen 5) Vettel 6) Raikkonen 7) Hulkenberg 8) Bottas 9) Massa 10) Perez