Verstappen dominates at Mexico, Hamilton limits damage

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguezmx

Max Verstappen was easily the fastest man today in Mexico as he virtually led the race from start to finish. Taking the lead at the start, he kept on extending his lead. Lewis Hamilton finished second as he fought off home hero Sergio Perez.

The Mexican Grand Prix got started with both Mercedes on the front row, followed by a Red Bull row led by Max Verstappen, then Gasly, Sainz, Ricciardo, Leclerc, Vettel and Giovinazzi. Due to various engine and gearbox penalties, the Haas cars of Schumacher and Mazepin started 14th and 15th, with behind them Russell, Tsunoda, Norris, Ocon and Stroll.

Of all drivers, only Tsunoda and Ocon opted to start with soft. Everybody else preferred the medium compound Pirellis.

When the lights went out, seemingly everybody got away well, but the slipstream towards the first corner allowed Verstappen to get ahead and first into the first corner. Hamilton followed in second while Bottas got clipped by Ricciardo and was sent into a spin. The Finn rejoined the action down in 17th after a pitstop. Only Ricciardo was left behind him as he had a longer stop for a new front wing.

The safety car was also brought out as incidents further back caused DNFs for Schumacher and Tsunoda. From Ocon's car, the view was pretty impressive as the Frenchman got sandwiched on the exit of Turn 1 and had cars flying over both his front wheels.

After 3 laps behind the safety car, Verstappen got the action going again, weaving all over the main straight to avoid a clean slipstream for Lewis Hamilton. Positions on the restart remained the same at the front with Perez in third, followed by Gasly, Leclerc, Sainz, Giovinazzi, Vettel, Russell and Raikkonen. Alonso just outside the points and ahead of Mazepin, Latifi and Norris. Bottas ended up dead last after getting passed by Ricciardo immediately on the restart.

Of the front runners, Hamilton became the first to pit for hards, followed by Verstappen 3 laps later. Perez however stayed out for much longer, ending up with 10-lap fresher tyres than Hamilton on the second stint. Despite the initial gap of more than 10 seconds after Perez pitted, the Mexican gradually came closer to Hamilton and ended up in DRS range 10 laps from the end, much to the amusement of the local crowd.

Valtteri Bottas's race meanwhile went from bad to worse thanks to another very very slow pitstop for him. The Mercedes mechanics had trouble getting the front left off of the car. They eventually did, but it certainly lost Bottas several positions as he rejoined in 15th, down from 11th before his stop.

Gasly continued in a distant fourth position, unchallenged by Leclerc. This triggered Ferrari to order a position switch around 15 laps from the end in an attempt to let Sainz put some pressure on the Frenchman. Sainz was clearly faster than his teammate, but by that time, 10 seconds behind the AlphaTauri, creating a difficult challenge for the Spaniard. Their positions were later switched again to enable Leclerc to finish in 5th.

Behind the Ferraris, Vettel, Raikkonen and Alonso continued steadily and maintained their 7th, 8th and 9th positions almost throughout the entire race.

As Verstappen won the Mexican Grand Prix without any trouble, Hamilton managed to keep Perez at bay to take second place.

Valtteri Bottas recorded fastest lap, thanks to a late pitstop to softs. It took away a point from Verstappen, but didn't gain him any due to finishing outside the top 10.


133Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda711:38:39.08625
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes71+16.555s18
311Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda71+17.752s15
410Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Honda71+63.845s12
516Charles LeclercFerrari71+81.037s10
655Carlos SainzFerrari70+1 lap8
75Sebastian VettelAston Martin Mercedes70+1 lap6
87Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari70+1 lap4
914Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault70+1 lap2
104Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes70+1 lap1
1199Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari70+1 lap0
123Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes70+1 lap0
1331Esteban OconAlpine Renault70+1 lap0
1418Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes69+2 laps0
1577Valtteri BottasMercedes69+2 laps0
1663George RussellWilliams Mercedes69+2 laps0
176Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes69+2 laps0
189Nikita MazepinHaas Ferrari68+3 laps0
NC47Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari0DNF0
NC22Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda0DNF0