Mexico City Max Verstappen delivers a flawless performance in Mexico. The Red Bull driver extends his World Championship lead. Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes just can’t keep up.
Against the frenetic backdrop of the Foro Sol baseball stadium, Max Verstappen enjoyed his giant step towards the Formula 1 summit attack in a duel with Lewis Hamilton.
After a rocket start, Red Bull driver Verstappen celebrated his ninth win of the season in the high air of Mexico and expanded his World Cup lead over the relentlessly suspended pursuer Hamilton in the Mercedes to a whopping 19 points.
“That was great, guys,” said World Cup leader Verstappen happily on the radio after crossing the finish line and said about his World Cup prospects: “There is still a long way to go, but it looks good. It can turn around again quickly, however. ”Red Bull team principal Christian Horner enthused:“ You were fantastic. ”
The seven-time world champion Hamilton never had a chance to win in the Dutchman’s show of force as second – after all, he was able to leave the onrushing Sergio Perez behind in the second Red Bull in a thrilling final phase. “These guys are obviously too fast for us,” admitted a struggling Hamilton early on over the pit radio. “I gave everything, but I just didn’t have the pace.”
To the delight of the fans, the Mexican Perez raced onto the podium for the first time at his home Grand Prix. “Now it’s time for some tequila!” He exclaimed. Four races before the season finale, however, Verstappen steers steadfastly towards his first world title – and the upcoming event in Brazil suits his team as well.
After a chaotic start including a spin by pole man Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes, Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel improved from ninth to seventh and collected more points.
Mick Schumacher out early
For Haas newcomer Mick Schumacher, the race at more than 2,200 meters above sea level was quickly over. In the mess after the start, he destroyed the rear wheel suspension through no fault of his own and parked his Haas on the lawn. “It’s a shame that it happened because I was looking forward to the race,” said Schumacher.
Mexico and Red Bull – nothing should go wrong there. But in the battle for pole position, Verstappen suffered a setback on the feel-good course of his racing team. Brakes from Alpha Tauri youngster Yuki Tsunoda and from team mate Perez cost the Dutch valuable time on the last lap of his chase. The 24-year-old was only in third place on the grid, directly ahead of Perez.
“We were caught by Tsunoda,” complained Verstappen’s team boss Horner. But it wasn’t just the Japanese, the rear wing also caused problems for Red Bull. It was readjusted. “That was more of a precaution than anything else, so nothing that would affect performance,” said Horner.
In any case, the Red Bull superiority from training was gone in qualifying. Bottas raced to the 19th pole of his career ahead of Mercedes team-mate Hamilton. “I don’t really have an explanation, but I’m definitely happy to accept it,” said the seven-time world champion, surprised at the placement.
Verstappen with a strong maneuver
“We have to attack,” announced Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko before the red lights went out. “The start is crucial.” And it was tough! Hamilton even got off very well on the dirtier side of the road and was initially tied with Bottas. But Verstappen overtook the Silver Arrows with a great maneuver and took the lead.
Bottas was even thrown back to the bottom of the field after a collision with McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo. Schumacher demolished his Haas – his race was over after just a few meters. The safety car came on the 4.304-kilometer course. When the race was released again, Verstappen was leading the field with ease. Hamilton was stuck between the two Red Bulls.
Mercedes had to risk something – it didn’t work. The Briton came into the pits first from the lead field on lap 30, but only came back in fifth with fresh tires. Four laps later, Verstappen got new tires. He lined up behind the new leader Perez, but still clearly ahead of Hamilton.
When the local hero put the tough set of tires on his Red Bull on lap 41, the way was finally clear for Verstappen. Two weeks after his victory in the USA, he safely followed up with his next Grand Prix success.
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