The 2022 Mexican Grand Prix ended up being the dullest Mexican Grand Prix since the 2020 Mexican Grand Prix. Max Verstappen was virtually unchallenged after leading into the first corner, while a meek strategy for a strong Mercedes meant the now-two-time champion took a new record of most wins in a stat-inflated season! In a largely lifeless event, we celebrate a double winner of Reject of the Race!
Both Daniel Ricciardo and the horrendous Hard Tyre Strategy succeed as Rejects of the Race in Mexico!
A rare-double victory shared the glory of Reject of the Race in Mexico. In honesty, the race itself was a prime candidate, providing very little in the way of excitement or intrigue. While 2022 has been a classic season when viewed through the lens of “classic Ferrari championship collapses”, the on-track racing has usually been eventful and interesting.
Daniel Ricciardo therefore provided the only real moment of on-track happenings when he launched himself into Yuki Tsunoda in a dreadful attempt at an overtake. Like George Russell last weekend, his penalty was meagre and almost pointless, especially since Yuki, like Carlos, was out of the race. It was a late gasp in Ricciardo’s career as his future in F1 looks ever more dire by the weekend. While last year he had the occasional burst of speed, this year has seen nothing of the sort, and the man who won against the odds at Monaco four years ago is now an anchor slowing his McLaren team down until they can legally get rid of him.
While normally the Australian’s snail pace has made him a candidate for an award, this time there is nobody to overshadow him, and he rightly wins Reject of the Race in a well-measured campaign for Reject of the Year.
And speaking of snails, it seemed that Mercedes were far more on the ball at Mexico than Ferrari were. Ferrari were so slow, and near a minute down by race-end, providing ample opportunity for the outgoing constructors champions to take a much-desired race win on a track that seemed to suit them very well. However, an incredibly conservative strategy on the useless hard tyre meant that neither Lewis Hamilton nor his teammate were even close to challenging Verstappen for the lead. It would have taken a mechanical retirement for such an opportunity to come, and with one not arriving, brought the public perhaps the limpest challenge for a win all season. There was no early charge, no late charge, and indeed no charge at all! Why Mercedes and the other teams kept on with that tyre is beyond anyone outside the brains trust in the paddock!
Mercedes’ reasoning for this hard tyre insistence was bizarrely put down to data harvested from the pace of Nicholas Latifi, of all people. This is the same Nicholas Latifi who finished the race in last and an incredible 50 seconds behind the next driver. The Canadian has received enough criticism from this website this season to write a whole article about, but on such a calm weekend, to be so unreliable and so far off the pace smacks of a driver counting out the remaining weekends he will be in a Formula 1 car. That number can be counted on two fingers.
A slightly different version of the F1 theme tune wins a very dry Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race award!
There was just the tiniest amount of apathy creeping into our community votes for this award. We know it is never a sign of a classic F1 weekend when the greatest moment in people’s eyes was the Mexican Mariachi-tinged version of the championship’s brassy intro music.
Ricciardo, who we have already discussed, was on the road to earn a rare double award if it weren’t for the unstoppable popularity of the Mariachi F1 theme. While his punt on Tsunoda was unforgiveable, so his recovery drive was hard to ignore. Daniel has been a driver very that is very easy to ignore when he is not being criticised this season, but a worthy recovery drive was something of a repentance for his sins early on in the race. He mastered the tyre strategy where others greatly embarrassed themselves, and perhaps gave us a shade of the old Daniel Ricciardo.
The reason why Daniel, admittedly a popular character, took second place in the awards to a Mariachi theme song, is because the next best thing was probably Alex Albon taking a Williams to 12th. It was not the kind of heroic drive that will be remembered for years, months, weeks, or even days, to come, but it was a solid day at the office nonetheless.
And finally, for the tiniest whimper of a final nomination, Valtteri Bottas deserves a cursory mention for his first points since Canada. Or, should one say, point singular. Alfa Romeo have been their own worst enemy in the last two consecutive seasons, consistently falling back in pace and consistently screwing up whenever opportunity presents itself. Think of Austin alone! So for Valtteri to achieve even a point is a moment worth mentioning in a brutal second half for the Sauber marque.
|REJECT OF THE RACE||INFINITE IMPROBABILITY DRIVE OF THE RACE|
|Daniel Ricciardo||12 (44%)||Mariachi F1 theme||14 (52%)|
|Hard Tyre strategy||12 (44%)||Daniel Ricciardo||7 (26%)|
|Nicholas Latifi||3 (%)||Nobody||5 (19%)|
|Alex Albon||1 (4%)|
|Number of votes: 27||Number of votes: 27|
Disclaimer: The ROTR and IIDOTR awards are purely for fun purposes.
The IIDOTR is a democratically-decided award, based on the assumption that, at any moment in time, there is a non-zero probability that even the slowest, most inexperienced and least reliable of underdogs might win the race. That under every rock, there might be a gold nugget. This is the award for that first podium that we all celebrate, for the overtake no-one was expecting, for the underdog’s first win. This is the award, in short, for the driver or team that makes you go “Woah! Where did THAT come from?!”.
The ROTR is a medal of dishonour that celebrates the most noteworthy failure of a Grand Prix weekend, based on expectations heading into the weekend and general performance. That one brainfade, the silliest mistake or the most patent nonsense going on, all that is what being the ROTR is all about.
2022 Grand Prix Rejects Awards
2022 Bahrain Grand Prix
2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
2022 Australian Grand Prix
2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix
2022 Miami Grand Prix
2022 Spanish Grand Prix
2022 Monaco Grand Prix
2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
2022 Canadian Grand Prix
2022 British Grand Prix
2022 Austrian Grand Prix
2022 French Grand Prix
2022 Hungarian Grand Prix
2022 Belgian Grand Prix
2022 Dutch Grand Prix
2022 Italian Grand Prix
2022 Singapore Grand Prix
2022 Japanese Grand Prix
2022 United States Grand Prix