Tuesday, December 7

Formula 1 lessons from Mexico: World championship maneuver in an “overpowering” car

Formula 1 lessons from Mexico
World championship maneuver in the “overpowering” car

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen dominates the Mexican Grand Prix. Series world champion Lewis Hamilton is amazed at the “overwhelming car” of the competition. Once again, he can only do damage limitation in the Mercedes. However, the Dutchman is not yet in the mood for the title.

Verstappen’s world championship maneuver

Bad qualifying? No problem. Then just a world championship maneuver. Max Verstappen braked so late in the first corner of the opening lap of Mexico like no other. The Red Bull driver then overtook the Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on the outside. “It’s unbelievable where the Max braked,” enthused Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.

After that, Verstappen won his ninth win of the season with a dreamy walk, and the World Cup lead over Hamilton grew to 19 points. “I’m not thinking about the World Cup, we have to keep fighting to the end,” said Verstappen. With his outstanding performance, the 24-year-old leaves no doubt that he is finally ready for his first title this year.

Another setback for Hamilton

The Red Bull with its Honda engine is damn fast. Currently too fast for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. “We are giving everything, but at the moment it is not enough to be able to keep up with them,” admitted the seven-time world champion after his second place: “The Red Bull was simply overwhelming.” Even after Max Verstappen’s five-star maneuver in the first round, the Hamilton’s had only vague hopes of victory in Mexico. “We have to start to perform better and maybe also hope for the god of racing,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

Brazil is also considered a Red Bull track. Nevertheless, Wolff said before the next Grand Prix in Interlagos next week: “We believe we can have a solid car there and be closer to Red Bull than we were here.” After two setbacks in a row, the air for the world champion is slowly becoming thin. He needs a sense of achievement.

Vettel as a happy co-swimmer

Sebastian Vettel started from ninth place after the competition had been postponed. In the race, the Aston Martin driver was able to survive tricky crash scenes and worked his way up to seventh place in the end. Vettel expanded his World Cup yield to 42 points. “I was pretty happy with the race, we were able to swim with the midfield,” said the four-time world champion, who crossed the finish line right behind the Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Vettel has to work with Aston Martin to do better in qualifying. “The race pace is more of a strength, but we weren’t able to play it out that often,” he admitted with a view to the many messed up starting place hunts. This time, however, Vettel was finally able to “drive what I wanted”.

Mexico is in love with Formula 1

In 2020 there was no driving in Mexico due to the corona pandemic. This time there were almost 372,000 spectators on the entire Grand Prix weekend and around 138,000 fans on race Sunday. The mood was exuberant. “The fans here are really, really great, totally euphoric. It’s something special for us to be there,” enthused Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel.

Sergio Perez also contributed to the high spirits. The Mexican Red Bull driver was unable to intercept Lewis Hamilton in the end, but finished third in his home country for the first time on the podium. “It’s something very, very special,” said Perez. For him it was the third podium in a row for Red Bull. And he was also the first Mexican to lead the Mexican Grand Prix. He had earned the “Checo” chants from the stands.

Unlucky Finnish under fire at Mercedes

The Finn was the unlucky person of the weekend. After the slow start, the pole setter avoided a crash with Verstappen in the first corner, only to be cleared away by the impetuous McLaren Daniel Ricciardo. Bottas’ race was over.

With the fastest lap shortly before the end, he was still doing damage control for Mercedes. Team boss Toto Wolff was still not satisfied. Bottas, according to Wolff, should have widened himself at the start and blocked Verstappen.


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