Verstappen makes it 14 race wins at Mexico

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguezmx

It looked like yet another easy win for Max Verstappen as the Dutchman easily controlled the Mexican Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton had a good race but lost out on the hard tyre in second stint. Home hero Sergio Perez finished third after failing to find a way past the Mercedes.

The race kicked off with an impressive launch by Verstappen, leaving the Mercedes no choice but to dive into the slipstream only to not be able to get past the Dutchman at the end of the straight. Hamilton however chose the inside line the Turn 1 and ended up passing his team mate Russell through turns 2 and 3.

The latter then was very wide on the exit of turn 3 and saw Perez take advantage of that in the braking zone of the next corner. Behind this battle both Ferraris were side by side through the first corners but their positions remained the same.

Fernando Alonso has a great start and moved up into7th as Bottas lost two places and ended up behind the Alpine. Ocon followed up in 9th, resulting in both being ahead of Norris, an effort they jokingly promised on Saturday after qualifying.

Crucially the field had 8 drivers starting on soft while others chose for the medium tyres. Among those starting on the softer Pirelli compound were the two Red Bulls and the Ferrari duo. Further back teams were splitting strategies with Tsunoda, Vettel, Schumacher and Latifi on the soft whereas their teammates started on mediums.

By lap 10 the top four ran about 2s apart from one another. Sainz in fifth was losing touch and trailed Russell by 5 seconds with Leclerc another 2s further behind. Alonso was 6s further back and had Bottas very visibly in his mirrors from time to time with the next 4 cars also following quite closely.

Daniel Ricciardo recovered 1 of the two positions lost at the start by passing Zhou on lap 8. The best starter of the day was Lance Stroll who gained 5 positions, slotting into 15th place, one behind Vettel until Gasly optimistically passed him in Turn 4 on lap 14. The Frenchman was later handed a 5s penalty for "forcing a driver off track".

Albon then looked very well positioned to overtake Stroll as well until he pitted at the end of lap 19. This left the Canadian dead last, 13.5s behind Magnussen.

At the end of lap 23 Perez was the first to stop. It ended up a bit slow with 5s of being stood still, but at least the Mexican returned to the track in 6th, ahead of Alonso and with a 4s clear stretch of track towards Leclerc. Meanwhile Verstappen reported increasing problems with his front left, going from "sliding" to "finished" to "dead" on lap 25, enough to make a stop. Verstappen rejoined in third, just ahead of Sainz.

Perez soon progressed to pass Leclerc but before he could attack Sainz the Ferraris pitted, both changing to medium tyres on laps 30 and 31. At the same time race leader Hamilton pitted to take on hard Pirelli tyres, bringing Russell in the lead.

When Russell pitted a few laps later, Verstappen returned to the lead, 8s ahead of Hamilton. Perez closed in to Hamilton to didn't manage to get close enough to get past quickly. Russell settled into a very similar pace 7s down the road.

Further back Vettel pitted after a 39 lap stint on softs whereas Pirelli expected a soft stint to last only 22 laps. A similar story for the medium tyre starters with Zhou and Ricciardo doing the longest stints; 45 and 46 laps respectively. When they pitted they took on soft tyres for the remaining 23 laps.

A few laps later Ricciardo got overly optimistic while being quick on the soft tyres and knocked Tsunoda off the track, resulting in a retirement for the Japanese. The Australian got a 10s penalty but seemed on a mission and went on to pass Norris, Bottas, Ocon and Alonso in the span of 10 laps.

Just when Ricciardo arrived Alonso let Ocon pass due to car issues. The Spaniard was running a comfortable 9s ahead of his teammate until he started losing a second a lap in the high speed Sector 1 only. Little was mentioned until a Alonso's radio was broadcast where he said "What a season, what a season!". Alonso retired on lap 65 with a message "Engine! Engine!". Alonso was clearly furious when stepping out of the car but at least didn't forget to wave the amazing Mexican crowd. Alonso later revealed his engine was running on 5 cylinders for numerous laps and eventually failed because of it.

One lap from the end Russell eventually got pitted after having nearly begged for a pitstop. Leclerc meanwhile also had a big margin to Riccardo but Ferrari decided not to pit the Monegasque, perhaps not confident they can beat Russell for fastest lap anyway.

Meanwhile Verstappen was well on his way for yet another victory, a record-breaking 14th of the season (even though the previous record had much less races in a season). Hamilton crossed the line in second with Perez joining the podium in front of his home fans.

Russell ended the race in fourth with fastest lap. Ricciardo finished 7th behind the Ferraris and thanks to his impressive pace on the softs built up enough of a gap on Ocon to maintain 7th even after applying the 10s penalty.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt711:38:36.72925
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes71+15.186s18
311Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt71+18.097s15
463George RussellMercedes71+49.431s13
555Carlos SainzFerrari71+58.123s10
616Charles LeclercFerrari71+68.774s8
73Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes70+1 lap6
831Esteban OconAlpine Renault70+1 lap4
94Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes70+1 lap2
1077Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari70+1 lap1
1110Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt70+1 lap0
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes70+1 lap0
1324Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari70+1 lap0
145Sebastian VettelAston Martin Aramco Mercedes70+1 lap0
1518Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes70+1 lap0
1647Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari70+1 lap0
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari70+1 lap0
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes69+2 laps0
1914Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault63DNF0
NC22Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt50DNF0

Note - Russell scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.
Ricciardo received a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision.