World champion Lewis Hamilton insisted that he was powerless to prevent an aggressive Nico Rosberg converting pole position into victory as Formula One returned to Mexico for the first time in 23 years.
Rosberg recovered from the error which handed his team-mate and rival the drivers’ championship seven days previously in Austin, controlling the race from start to finish as Hamilton failed to mount a sustained challenge.
Victory was Rosberg’s fourth of the season but his first since Austria in June, which means Hamilton will be unable to attain 13 wins this season and equal the record jointly held by German pair Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.
“I did everything I could, pushed as hard as I could, but when you close you lose so much downforce at this track and there isn’t much grip as it is. It made it really difficult,” said Hamilton, following Mercedes’ 10th one-two finish of the season.
“I was pushing every single lap to get close without cooking my brakes, but that was as close as I could get.”
Hamilton questioned the decision of his team’s call to bring him in for a second pit stop shortly after Rosberg had received the same instruction with 25 of the 71 laps remaining. An agitated Hamilton requested feedback on the tyres.
“They didn’t [give any feedback], but it’s irrelevant anyway,” added Hamilton. “The team said they had concerns about safety and I don’t know if that was coming from Pirelli or whatever.”
Rosberg’s success returned him to second place in the drivers’ championship ahead of Vettel, who crashed out of the race while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen collided with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.
It is the first time since the 2006 Australian grand prix that both Ferraris have failed to finish. Bottas secured third place ahead of Red Bull duo Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo.