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Ricciardo third at dramatic Mexican GP

AAP logoAAP 30/10/2016

Australian Daniel Ricciardo has wrapped up third spot in the Formula One world championship after a drama-filled finish to the Mexican Grand Prix, which saw two drivers penalised.

Lewis Hamilton took out the race over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, shortening the gap at the top of the championship to 19 points with two races remaining.

However all the attention was on third spot, after three separate drivers each held the position following the race before it was officially handed to Ricciardo following a steward's investigation.

The Australian crossed the line in fifth, but was initially elevated to fourth when his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen copped a five-second penalty for holding his spot ahead of Sebastian Vettel after going off track on the fourth last lap.

Vettel assumed the youngster's spot on the podium, only to later cop a 10-second penalty for under-braking in an incident involving Ricciardo - pushing him back to fifth and the Australian to third.

Ricciardo was adamant after the race the Ferrari driver should also have been penalised over the matter in the second-last lap.

"He (Vettel) is smiling now," he said.

"He doesn't deserve to be up there (on the podium).

"I thought I had every right to be there but he kept closing the door under-braking. I was frustrated with that."

Vettel was livid at the end of the race, pulling up alongside Verstappen after delivering a foul-mouthed spray over the the team radio about the 19-year-old.

"He (Verstappen) is a ****," Vettel yelled over the team radio.

"Am I the only one, or are you not seeing what I'm seeing? He's just backing me off into (Daniel) Ricciardo.

"Move, move for f***'s sake. He cut the chicane. He has to give me the position. End of the story."

The German then lashed out at veteran race director Charlie Whiting over the incident, again via his team radio after he was told the incident would be reviewed after the race.

"Here's a message to Charlie: f*** off. Honestly, f*** off."

The late penalty was unlikely to go down well with Vettel, who also claimed through the team radio the only reason he was in a battle with Ricciardo was due to Verstappen holding his position.

"He is just blocking me to Ricciardo ... He is just backing me off," he said.

Ricciardo's third-place finish opens up an unassailable 55-point lead over Vettel for third place, his second time in the top three in the past three years.

"I'm honestly quite proud of that this year," Ricciardo said following the reclassification.

"Sure would have been nice to get up on the podium and enjoy it but nonetheless that was the situation today."

The result also made this season the most prolific points-wise in the 27-year-old's Formula One career, taking him to 242 - four more than he scored in his breakthrough 2014 season.

Meanwhile, Hamilton's win was the 51st of his career, moving him equal-second with France's Alain Prost - but still 40 behind Michael Schumacher's record mark.

It also wasn't without controversy though, with several drivers questioning after the race why he too wasn't penalised for holding first spot after running wide on the first corner of the race.

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