Verstappen victorious in Mexico

Championship leader Max Verstappen extended his points lead with a commanding victory in the Mexican Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver made a decisive Turn 1 move on the opening lap as Valtteri Bottas went into a spin.

Sergio Perez finished in a popular third position after Lewis Hamilton held off the home crowd favourite even with Checo had a major tyre-life advantage versus the Mercedes.

At the start, Hamilton got off the line well to quickly get up alongside Bottas on the inside run to the Turn 1 right-hander, while Verstappen closed in thanks to the tow/slipstream effect and them took the outside line.

The Red Bull driver braked later, with more confidence and went around the outside of his Mercedes rivals, holding his move to the outside and staying on the track – now in the lead.

As Verstappen and Hamilton headed in Turn 2, chaos unfolded behind them as Bottas was tagged into a spin by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who had locked up heavily on the inside of Turn 1.

As the Mercedes spun around, Perez cut across the inside to Valtteri’s left, the track limits rule that Lewis was in breach of in FP1 superseded for the first lap by a late order from Formula 1 race director Michael Masi, with the rest of the pack moved around.

In amongst the drama, Esteban Ocon was sandwiched between Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher – the damage in the ensuing contact putting the AlphaTauri driver out on the spot at Turn 2 and left the Haas spotted just past the exit of Turn 3 leading onto the second straight.

That safety car was called so the incident could be cleared, with Bottas stopping at the rear of the field to switch from the mediums all the leaders had started on to take the hards.

Ahead of the restart, Verstappen dropped Hamilton as he accelerated through the final corners of the stadium section and already had a lead of 0.9-seconds as the race went fully green once again at the start of lap five of 71.

From there, he shot clear of his title rival, lapping in the mid one minute, 21 seconds as Hamilton began his opening stint in the low one minute, 22 seconds, and then continuing to raise his pace – briefly reaching the high one minute, 20 seconds – with a series of fastest laps in the ten laps that followed the safety car coming in.

By lap 15 Verstappen’s lead was 5.4 seconds, which he extended to nearly ten seconds – never under pressure from behind – by the time he pitted on lap 33.

As Verstappen disappeared, Hamilton was soon under more pressure to keep a gap ahead of Perez, who remained around two seconds behind the Mercedes throughout the opening stint, despite being urged to close up by his engineer on several occasions.

Hamilton was the first of the leaders to come in for hards, four laps before Verstappen – just as Perez had closed to 1.5 seconds behind.

While Red Bull left Verstappen out for a little while, it left Perez out for 11 laps beyond Hamilton’s stop – setting up a significant tyre life off-set advantage for the second half of the race.

At the start of lap 42, Perez’s out lap, Verstappen led Hamilton by 9.8 seconds, with Perez facing a 9.5 seconds gap to close on Hamilton over the rest of the race.

The leader, again completely untroubled out front, steadily pulled further away from Hamilton over the second stint to take a commanding win by 16.5 seconds.

The main interest remained Perez’s attempts to catch Hamilton, which he did so solidly during the initial phase after his stop – the gap between them down to 5.7 seconds at the end of lap 50 as the home hero regularly lapped in the mid one minute, 19 seconds versus Hamilton’s low one minute, 20 seconds.

Mercedes reckoned Checo’s Red Bull would be close enough to make a move on the final lap, but in fact Perez’s pace was so good he closed to within DRS range at the start of lap 61.

At this stage, Hamilton was running behind the lapped Lando Norris, who had had enough pace to stay out of blue flag range for several laps, which aided Perez’s charge.

But when the McLaren moved aside on lap 62, Perez slipped out of DRS threat behind Hamilton, who was displaying mighty straight line speed – as Mercedes had against Red Bull all weekend.

That stalled Perez’s charge and he then fell back again as the pair lapped several backmarkers – including Fernando Alonso and the twice lapped George Russell (P16 at the finish).

Perez did close in again on Hamilton to run within a second on the final lap, but his look up the inside of Turn 4 was never close to really threaten Hamilton’s position and he came home 1.1 seconds behind.

Verstappen’s lead had actually been as high as twenty seconds, but when Mercedes pitted Bottas for a third time in a bid to deprive the leader of the fastest lap, the pair were suddenly close on track and held each other up.

Bottas, two laps down having chased Ricciardo on the fringes of the top ten in the first half of the race, lost further ground with a slow second stop to move back to the mediums midway through.

He took one lap back by passing Verstappen, who the lapped Bottas again – with Mercedes then opting to bring the Finn in for a fourth time to chase the fastest lap on the final tour, which Bottas, in P15, secured with a one minute, 17.774 seconds – although no point for that accolade will be awarded for this race because Bottas finished outside the top ten.

Behind the leaders, Pierre Gasly took a solid fourth place for AlphaTauri – running a lonely race well ahead of the Ferraris.

Charles Leclerc was the lead driver home for the Scuderia – after being allowed back past Carlos Sainz late on, as the pair had already swapped to allow Carlos a chance to close on Gasly after he had completed a long first stint.

But when that did not pay off, Leclerc, who had gained ground in the first corner melee – where both Ferraris were off track at one point – was moved back ahead of finish as the last driver on the lead lap.

Sebastian Vettel took seventh ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, with Alonso finishing ahead of Norris at the tail end of the top ten.

It wasn’t the most thrilling race but in terms of the championship, it makes it fascinating as Max Verstappen extends his points lead over Lewis Hamilton. While Red Bull are now a single point behind Mercedes in the constructors’ standings as the season heads to the final four races.

Mexican Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:38:39.086
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +16.555s
3 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda +17.752s
4 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda +63.845s
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +81.037s
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari +1 lap
7 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes +1 lap
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault +1 lap
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault +1 lap
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes +2 laps
15 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +2 laps
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes +2 laps
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes +2 laps
18 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari +3 laps
19 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari DNF
20 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda DNF

5 thoughts to “Verstappen victorious in Mexico”

  1. Mexican Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Red Bull’s Max Verstappen cruised to a record third career Mexico City Grand Prix victory ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez – who became the first Mexican driver to take a Formula 1 podium at their home race.

    The joy of Valtteri Bottas’s shock pole position was short-lived as Verstappen swept around the outside of the two Mercedes into the first corner on the opening lap. Bottas was then tipped into a spin by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo into Turn 2 to leave Verstappen leading Hamilton then Perez behind the Safety Car, which was called back for a Lap 5 race restart, as Bottas dropped to the back of the field.

    Verstappen’s pace on the medium tyres – on which everyone bar Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon started – was superior to Hamilton’s in the opening stint. With the Briton losing time to the Dutchman and his team mate Perez, he pitted for hards on Lap 30 and Verstappen followed on Lap 34, emerging second to make Perez the first Mexican to lead his home race.

    Perez would come in for new hard compounds on Lap 41, nine seconds behind Hamilton, and began to take chunks out of that gap to leave it at just one second on Lap 60 of 71. Huge cheers erupted when the crowds saw how close their home hero was to Hamilton and the Briton’s case wasn’t helped when he was told to lift and coast, but Perez couldn’t make the pass and ended up third – just 1.1s behind Hamilton – despite having hard tyres that were 11 laps newer than the Mercedes driver’s.

    As for Bottas, he was stopped on Lap 66 for soft tyres, unlapped himself on Lap 68, but could not take fastest lap away from Verstappen. He pitted again for another new set of softs with a lap remaining, and snatched away the fastest lap from the Red Bull championship leader, before finishing 15th overall.

    Pierre Gasly qualified P5 but finished a comfortable fourth after Bottas’s spin, while Carlos Sainz took sixth behind Charles Leclerc (P5) in the race, the Spaniard losing out to his Ferrari team mate at the start.

    Sebastian Vettel took seventh for Aston Martin, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in P8.

    Fernando Alonso took ninth for Alpine having started 12th, but was hampered by a slow Lap 40 pit stop. That left Lando Norris 10th from 18th, the McLaren driver having made it to P7 by Lap 45, when he pitted from mediums to hards.

    Norris’s team mate Ricciardo, however, could only take 12th after Lap 1 contact ruined his hopes of scoring points from P7 on the grid and promoted Leclerc, Vettel and Raikkonen a place apiece.

    The atmosphere ahead of the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix reached fever pitch well before the race had started, the grandstands packed to the rafters with thousands of fans ready to watch a front-row of Mercedes – Valtteri Bottas on pole and Lewis Hamilton on P2 – fending off the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez behind.

    With that excitement came a feeling of trepidation: what would happen on the run down to the tight and winding Turns 1-3 complex of corners? The backmarkers trickled onto the grid after their formation laps – a bit too slowly for the frontrunners’ likings – with everyone on mediums bar the engine penalty-hit pair of Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon who started on softs from P17 and P19, respectively.

    The lights went out, and it was Verstappen who capitalised. He braved it three-wide going into Turn 1 and made it around the outside of the Mercedes pair to take the lead. McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a solid start but locked up into the first corner, tagging and spinning out polesitter Bottas – who seemed to have slowed to help Hamilton past – while Alpine’s Ocon accidentally collected both Haas’s Mick Schumacher and AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda to end their races.

    The Safety Car duly appeared, causing Bottas to pit for hards and Ricciardo to take new tyres plus a McLaren wing. In the opening lap melee, the biggest gainers were Nikita Mazepin from P15 to P11 for Haas, George Russell from P16 to P9 for Williams and Antonio Giovinazzi from P11 to P6 for Alfa Romeo.

    Verstappen led the restart away on Lap 5 of the 71-lap race ahead of Hamilton and Perez. The Dutchman led comfortably into Turn 1 while Giovinazzi lost P6 back to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso took P11 off Mazepin. The Stewards, meanwhile, decided not to take action over the Lap 1 incidents.

    Back to the lead battle, where Hamilton was losing pace to Verstappen, the Dutchman putting fastest laps on the board to build up a seven-second lead by Lap 21. Red Bull implored Perez to keep up with Hamilton ahead; while Mercedes asked Hamilton to pull away from the Mexican. On Lap 27, Perez was just two seconds behind the defending champion. The Silver Arrows responded by pitting Hamilton on Lap 30, the Briton emerging fifth, briefly behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who pitted a lap later.

    Verstappen followed suit for a perfect Lap 34 stop, stationary for just 2.2 seconds as he emerged ahead of Hamilton but behind Perez – who became the first Mexican driver to lead laps at their home race before stopping for hards on Lap 41. Between Verstappen and Perez’s stops, Hamilton put in a flurry of fastest laps but, once Perez pitted, the defending champion was nine seconds behind Verstappen and another nine ahead of Perez.

    Perez started to take chunks out of Hamilton’s nine-second lead and by Lap 50 he was just six seconds behind the Mercedes, and Red Bull added more icing to their cake when Verstappen took fastest lap on Lap 52.

    The Mexican continued, putting the crowd well on their feet as he was just a second behind Hamilton on Lap 60, the Briton struggling to lap Norris on overheating hard tyres. Verstappen was 18 seconds ahead of Hamilton by this point and now the only question was whether Perez could pass the Mercedes. But try as he might, it would be P3 for the Mexican as he came within half a second of the defending champion but could go no further.

    Hamilton would end up second, exasperated, and Verstappen 16.5 seconds ahead for a third victory at this now-favourite circuit.

    Pierre Gasly pitted a lap after Leclerc but emerged ahead, comfortably finishing fourth having gained one place overall when Bottas spun.

    As for the Ferraris, Carlos Sainz may have qualified sixth and his Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc eighth but the Spaniard was behind after Lap 1 and, after the restart, irked that he was behind his team mate and unable to attack AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in P4. The Scuderia declined to swap them at that point but pitted Leclerc 13 laps before his team mate.

    On newer tyres, the Spaniard began to gain on Leclerc and the two were eventually instructed to swap by Lap 60 – but they were swapped back once it became clear that Gasly would hang onto P4. That left Leclerc fifth and Sainz sixth.

    Aston Martin’s Vettel made up a position at the start thanks to the Turn 1 fracas, pitted from P7 on Lap 34, and finished there ahead of his former team mate Kimi Raikkonen, the Alfa Romeo driver taking P8 from P10 on the grid at the expense of Ricciardo and Bottas.

    In P9 was Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard having gained three positions from P12 but hampered thanks to a slow Lap 40 pit stop. Hit by an engine penalty, McLaren’s Lando Norris stayed out until Lap 45 and pitted from P7 for a set of hards, with which he took the final point in P10.

    Antonio Giovinazzi started where he finished, in P11, while McLaren’s Ricciardo could only finished 12th having pitted twice in the race, that Lap 1 contact with Bottas keeping him five places behind where he started.

    Ocon swapped his starting softs to hard compounds on Lap 15, the Alpine driver finishing 13th ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in P14. That pair started 19th and 20th, respectively, and beat a beleaguered Bottas by the finish.

    Bottas’s day threatened to become farcical after his Lap 1 spin and pit stop, as he eventually went into the pits three more times in Mexico. The Finn was frustrated behind Ricciardo for a number of laps, pitted a second time from P12 on Lap 42 – for a stop that lasted more than 11 seconds – to emerge 15th.

    With five laps remaining, he was stopped for a set of soft tyres to take the fastest lap away from Verstappen. But he needed to be stopped again to take that fastest lap point, and finally did so on the final tour of the race.

    Williams’ Russell may have made it up to P9 from P16 at the start but ended up 16th, losing out to the likes of Alonso, Norris, Ocon, and Stroll as his pace couldn’t match up. Team mate Nicholas Latifi finished 17th, while Nikita Mazepin was the last finisher – team mate Schumacher and AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda having retired – in P18 for Haas.

  2. After winning the race, Max Verstappen commented that the Formula 1 championship situation is ‘looking good’. provides the story.

    Max Verstappen says the Formula 1 championship situation is ‘looking good’ for him after the Mexican Grand Prix, but he is mindful of how quickly things can turn around.

    The Dutchman took a dominant victory at Mexico City on Sunday after making a brilliant start from third on the grid to swoop around the outside of Mercedes rivals Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the first corner.

    From there he was able to comfortably pull clear from Hamilton through the 71-lap race to finish 16.55 seconds in front at the chequered flag.

    The victory extended his advantage over Hamilton in the drivers’ championship to 19 points with four races remaining, and he is further boosted by the fact that the next race in Brazil is again expected to favour his car.

    But despite the positive situation, Verstappen knows that nothing is done yet – and he is well aware that a single bad race could pull Hamilton back in to contention.

    “[There’s] a long way to go,” he said. “It’s of course looking good, but also it can turn around real quickly. But I’m looking forward to Brazil. I’m also very good memories there.”

    Verstappen said the critical moment of the Mexican GP for him was surging in to the lead at the first corner, as that gave him the clear air he needed to exploit the pace potential of his Red Bull.

    “It was nice three wide, and it was all about just trying to brake as late as we can,” he said about the move.

    “I kept it on the track and went from third to first, and that was basically what made my race, because then I could just focus on myself. Incredible pace in the car, so I could just do my own thing.”

    Teammate Sergio Perez delighted his home crowd with a third place finish, having challenged Hamilton in the closing stages as he pushed to secure a 1-2 for Red Bull.

    Speaking afterwards, Perez said: “I wanted more today. I wanted to get a 1-2 for the team and it was very close, but I didn’t have a single chance to get through. I gave my full heart.”

  3. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said that the team could do nothing against far superior Red Bull. has the full story.

    Lewis Hamilton feels there was nothing Mercedes could do to beat Red Bull’s “far superior” car in Mexico after losing more ground in the Formula 1 title race.

    Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but lost its advantage at Turn 1 when Max Verstappen swept around the outside to take the lead.

    Polesitter Valtteri Bottas dropped to the rear of the field after being tapped by Daniel Ricciardo at Turn 1, resigning him to a race outside of the points. He eventually crossed the line 15th.

    Hamilton failed to keep up with Verstappen at the front, but managed to withstand late pressure from Sergio Perez in the sister Red Bull in the closing laps to hold on to second place.

    Bottas set the fastest lap in the final moments of the race, snatching the bonus point away from Verstappen, but the Dutchman’s lead still grew to 19 points with four races to go this year.

    Hamilton sounded downbeat over team radio after parking his car up at the end of the race, telling the team: “I gave it everything. I just didn’t have the pace.”

    After offering his congratulations to race winner Verstappen, Hamilton said that Mercedes simply did not have the pace to compete with Red Bull in Mexico.

    “Their car is far superior this weekend, and there’s nothing really we could do about it,” Hamilton said.

    “I gave my absolutely everything, and even obviously a great fight with Sergio at the end. But I’m really grateful I did get second.”

    Perez managed to stretch out his first stint to gain an 11-lap tyre advantage over Hamilton after switching to hards, and closed up a gap of more than nine seconds to gain DRS in the closing stages.

    Had Perez passed Hamilton, Verstappen’s lead would have stood at 22 points, ensuing there was some degree of damage limitation for Hamilton.

    Speaking about the pressure he faced against Perez late on, Hamilton said: “I’ve had that many times before, so it was easy to just hold on.

    “But it just shows how fast their car was, when Sergio was that close behind me and able to pull that close.

    “He did a great job. He was applying that pressure and just kept going. But I really enjoyed the race still.”

  4. Sergio Perez finished ihis home race in third position but admitted that missing out on a Red Bull 1-2 at Mexican Grand Prix was “a bit of a shame”. has the full story.

    Sergio Perez called it “a bit of a shame” that Red Bull missed out on a 1-2 in Mexico after losing his late battle for second with Lewis Hamilton.

    Red Bull Formula 1 teammate Max Verstappen took a dominant victory at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, leaving Perez to challenge Mercedes rival Hamilton for second place.

    Perez sat within two seconds of Hamilton when Mercedes brought him into the pits, prompting Red Bull to go long with its strategy and open up an 11-lap tyre life advantage.

    After pitting, Perez put his fresher tyres to good use, reducing a nine-second gap to less than one entering the closing laps.

    But he was unable to make it through despite a late charge as both he and Hamilton struggled with lapped traffic.

    Hamilton said after the race that he “didn’t really have much left on the tyres at the end” against Perez, predicting: “One more lap and I think he would have been over.”

    Perez conceded that he was disappointed not to have beaten Hamilton to second, believing Red Bull had the pace to sweep the top two positions.

    “It was really close,” Perez said. “There was a lap where it was so critical to do the undercut. Obviously they pitted that lap, so we did the opposite and we went long.

    “It was a bit tricky with the lapped cars as well. I reckon we all lost some time there. It was really close.

    “Overtaking here is really difficult, given their straightline speed that they were really strong on that. I didn’t have the chance.

    “So a bit of a shame, because I think we had the pace to finish 1-2 today.”

    The race nevertheless saw Perez become the first Mexican driver to lead his home grand prix and finish on the podium, sparking wild celebrations in the grandstands.

    “Being on the podium at your home grand prix, it’s something very special,” Perez said.

    “I wanted more, I want to win the race, and obviously to finish 1-2 for the team would have been amazing.

    “At the end of the day, we are such competitive people that if we finish third, we really don’t enjoy it. But today is one of those days that I must enjoy.

    “The crowd and just seeing so many people so happy, and especially on the podium, like everyone that has been with me since day one, was on the podium.

    “That was extremely special for me.”

    The result drew Red Bull to within a point of Mercedes at the top of the constructors’ championship. Polesitter Valtteri Bottas failed to score in the second Mercedes car after being tapped into a spin at Turn 1 with Daniel Ricciardo, sending him to the back of the field.

    While Perez was pleased by his recent progress, he felt Red Bull still had to understand why it had struggled against Mercedes in qualifying in Mexico.

    “I was very disappointed yesterday, because I felt like we were going into qualifying with great momentum, having had a good FP3 and pace in the car,” Perez said.

    “I think we are enjoying today a lot, but we have to understand what went so wrong for us yesterday, because all of a sudden, it swung around and Mercedes was a very strong force yesterday.

    “But what matters is today. There’s still four races to go. Things are getting really tight.”

  5. Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Valtteri Bottas “left the door open” for Max Verstappen to pass at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix.

    Polesitter Bottas and Hamilton had locked out the front row for Mercedes, with the team hoping to use that opportunity to exert control on the Mexico City race early on.

    The two were three-wide heading into the first corner with Verstappen, who swept around the outside and claimed the lead of the race with Hamilton in pursuit – while Bottas was left facing the opposite direction after contact with a late-braking Daniel Ricciardo precipitated a spin.

    Hamilton said after the race that he was trying to protect his side of the circuit, but felt that Bottas had not demonstrated the same tactic at the start.

    “I had envisaged it differently, naturally, in the sense that maybe Valtteri had got a better start and I would have tried to get into his tow,” Hamilton explained.

    “But I was alongside him which was good, and then I was just covering my side of the track trying to make sure that no-one could come up the inside.

    “So I was trying to keep whichever Red Bull I could see in my mirror behind, and I thought Valtteri would be doing the same.

    “But obviously, he left the door open for Max, and Max was on the racing line so did a mega job braking into Turn 1.

    “Because I was on the inside on the dirt, there was no hope for me.”

    Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said that he could understand Bottas’ position owing to the lack of vision from the mirrors, but felt that his two cars could have warded off an immediate threat from Verstappen at the start.

    Verstappen was able to maintain the lead during the following safety-car period, produced by the incident involving Mick Schumacher and Yuki Tsunoda, who had both ended up pincering Esteban Ocon at Turn 2.

    “These cars are very difficult to judge from the mirrors, what is actually happening behind you.” Wolff said.

    “But I think if they would have been more to the left he wouldn’t have passed, he would have been blocked.”

    Bottas explained his misfortune at the first corner, which later snowballed into a miserable race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in which he was stuck behind Ricciardo for the majority of the race, during which a slow pitstop ended his hopes of netting any consolatory points.

    “The start was OK, not too bad, but Verstappen got a bit of a tow and he braked really late.” Bottas told Sky F1.

    “But then suddenly at the apex at Turn 1 I think Daniel hit me in the rear and right there I spun I couldn’t do anything and then after that the race was tricky to make progress.

    “I was too close to cars and managing engine and brakes so I could manage it until I was getting too close then it was not easy.”


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