On Sunday at the Mexico Grand Prix, Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing won for the record-setting 14th time this Formula One season. For the World Championship, Verstappen finished 15.186 seconds ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, with Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in third place on home soil. For the Dutchman Verstappen, it was his second victory in a week after he had won the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
When compared to Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, Verstappen currently holds the record for most victories in a season.
According to Verstappen, “it has been a wonderful year so far, we are absolutely enjoying it, and we’ll try to go for more (victories).”
Hamilton was upset that his team opted for a medium and subsequently a hard tyre compound while Verstappen moved from softs to mediums.
Although I came close in the first stint, the Red Bulls were too quick today and they most likely used the optimal tyre plan, as Hamilton put it.
A full house enthusiastically applauded Perez.
“Today things just didn’t work out,” Perez remarked, “but it is amazing to achieve third place here and be on the podium.”
After a disappointing race for Mercedes, George Russell finished fourth and set the best lap, edging off Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in their Ferraris.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo finished in seventh place, ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, McLaren’s Lando Norris, and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, despite receiving a 10-second time penalty for a collision that occurred midway through the race.
After the green flag dropped, Verstappen had an almost faultless start from first place, and Hamilton passed Russell for second.
In addition, Perez moved past Russell and into third place, much to the pleasure of his ardent fan base.
The race’s first real drama came when Stroll made the first pit stop on lap 18, allowing the Dutchman to build his lead from 1.39 seconds after the first lap to 1.6 seconds after ten laps and 2.2 seconds after twenty.
Perez came in after 23 circuits to swap from soft to medium compounds, but his stop was delayed by a problematic rear wheel change and wasted a further five seconds, prompting a complaint of soft tyre degradation from Verstappen.
After a brief absence, he was back in the sixth grade.
Two circuits later, Verstappen pulled in and out in 2.5 seconds to hand the lead to Hamilton, who was 5.5 seconds ahead of Russell when the Dutchman rejoined the race in third place.
On lap 30, Hamilton pitted for a set of hard tires and came back out in third place; Russell then took the lead until lap 35, when he, too, stopped to change to hards. When he finished, he was in fourth place, and the top scorers were once again together.
Problems with the tires
Hamilton commented over the team radio, “This tyre is not as good as the medium.” In response, Mercedes indicated it would last longer than the medium, which Red Bull mistook for an admission of inferiority.
Perez, in third and under pressure, was just 1.9 seconds behind the winner, while Hamilton, battling for grip and impatient, fell 9.4 seconds behind.
After 40 laps, both Mercedes drivers were complaining about the hard tyre’s lack of grip.
By lap 50, Verstappen had widened his advantage to more than 10 seconds, but Hamilton was still in the race.
Were the improper wheels put on the bus? Hamilton questioned his group. “To the contrary, Lewis; we’re certain that this route will take us where we need to go. It’s no big deal “Pete Bonnington, his racing mechanic, said.
Fernando Alonso, a two-time champion, went out at turn one in his Alpine with six circuits remaining, indicating that Mercedes’ hard tyre gamble had failed.
As the small break passed without any pit stops, Russell became more agitated in his demands for fresh tires.
Mercedes told him to “stay out,” and it wasn’t until lap 70 that she let him go for a best lap.
Constructors’ champion is Red Bull.