Race Report: Verstappen wins Mexican GP, Hamilton wins F1 Championship

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Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

Perhaps it was a forgone conclusion that Lewis Hamilton would win his fifth world championship as the teams entered Mexico for the Mexican Grand Prix but what may not have had a sure thing was the dominant win of the race by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

The high altitude is known to starve engines and this meant there was a very good chance that the terrific chassis of the Red Bull cars would be competitive. Max and his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, proved just that by locking out the front row and Saturday and going on to win the race on Sunday.

Another DNF from Ricciardo meant Max was left to lead home the Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen respectively to complete the podium.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

Lewis Hamilton finished 4th but that was certainly enough to secure his 5th world championship moving him into very rare air matching Fangio’s record. A brilliant record and season for Lewis who has driven a sublime year in an amazing car produced by a brilliant team.

Win

A win for Max Verstappen who was untouchable out front as he and Lewis Hamilton had a good start and moved ahead of Ricciardo. Max managed his tires and pace and with the Ferrari and Mercedes team tussling with each other and Ricciardo’s Red Bull, Verstappen was able to build a lead and secure the win.

A win for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton who did enough to secure his 5th world championship and while there is no doubt he would rather have done so by winning the race, the tires were a huge challenge for both he and his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, and this meant they had to manage their tires, brakes and hot engines while doing nothing silly in order to claim the title.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

A good run to populate the remaining steps of the podium from Ferrari with both drivers managing to secure 2nd and 3rd and keep their constructor’s championship title fight alive for another race ahead of Mercedes.

A win for Nico Hulkenberg who managed to convert his 7th place start into a 6th place finish and all but secure the team’s 4th place in the constructor’s championship. Renault had a slow start to the season and were just 8 points ahead of Haas F1 but in Austin and Mexico, they extended their lead by a hefty 30 points.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

A big win for Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson for bringing both Sauber cars home in the points with terrific defensive driving from both. Charles claimed a brilliant 7th with Marcus in 9th.

A win for McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne who secured points in 8th place ending a 14-race streak of pointless results. Also a slight win for Toro Rosso taking 10th and 11th in their Honda-powered car and with the benefit of some attrition.

Fail

From a race-only perspective, you’d have to say that both Ferrari and Mercedes were off the mark by being bested by the Red Bulls. Both teams struggled with tire wear and regardless
of strategies deployed, they couldn’t manage to take the win.

A fail for Red Bull/Renault for once again handing pole-sitter Daniel Ricciardo a DNF. it is his 7th DNF of the season.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

A fail for Force India who finished outside the points even though Sergio Perez wanted to have a great home race for all his fans. Perez suffered a DNF and Esteban Ocon finished in 11th.

Equally difficult is the result from Haas F1 finishing dead last of the runners in 15th and 16th. Also a fail for Renault and Carlos Sainz with a DNF after the Spaniard had the measure of his teammate during the race.

WTH

It’s just me and my own personal issues that are trite and uncool but this race lapped all but the top four drivers and the tire impact on this race seemed way to onerous. Granted, it’s a short track, but the graining, blistering and coasting to manage tires is just not an element of F1 that I enjoy. The argument that tire management has always been a part of racing is very true but I would argue not at these levels.

A WTH moment for Fernando Alonso who somehow ended up with a piece of Ocon’s front wing tactically lodged under his car and in front of the radiator intake. This overheated the car and ended his race. What a freak ordeal.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

I’m elated for Lewis Hamilton and his title and I’ve said for quite a while that I think he is driving the best he ever has but I lost count of the number of times the Sky Sports feed posted the “As they run now, Lewis is the champion” graphics during the race. With Vettel not in the lead and Lewis running well into the points and only 5 points needed, that graphic was really not necessary a dozen times was it? I think we got it after the first graphic or four.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

Just when you thought they’d dust off Tiesto, Armin shows up this open a whole can of worms about which Dutch DJ Max would have preferred at the end of his race. Something tells me maybe Martin Garrix might have been Max’s jam but maybe he wanted Hardwell? If Lewis won, would Calvin Harris suffice?

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

Mexican GP result

Pos Driver Car Laps Gap
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 71 1h38m28.851s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 71 17.316s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 71 49.914s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 1m18.738s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 70 1 Lap
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 69 2 Laps
7 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 69 2 Laps
8 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 69 2 Laps
9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 69 2 Laps
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 69 2 Laps
11 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 69 2 Laps
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 69 2 Laps
13 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 69 2 Laps
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 69 2 Laps
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 69 2 Laps
16 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 68 3 Laps
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 61 Retirement
Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 38 Retirement
Carlos Sainz Renault 28 Retirement
Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 3 Retirement

Driver Championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 358
2 Sebastian Vettel 294
3 Kimi Raikkonen 236
4 Valtteri Bottas 227
5 Max Verstappen 216
6 Daniel Ricciardo 146
7 Nico Hulkenberg 69
8 Sergio Perez 57
9 Kevin Magnussen 53
10 Fernando Alonso 50
11 Esteban Ocon 49
12 Carlos Sainz 45
13 Romain Grosjean 31
14 Pierre Gasly 29
15 Charles Leclerc 27
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 12
17 Marcus Ericsson 9
18 Lance Stroll 6
19 Brendon Hartley 4
20 Sergey Sirotkin 1

Constructor Championship

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 585
2 Ferrari 530
3 Red Bull/Renault 362
4 Renault 114
5 Haas/Ferrari 84
6 McLaren/Renault 62
7 Force India/Mercedes 47
8 Sauber/Ferrari 36
9 Toro Rosso/Honda 33
10 Williams/Mercedes 7

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Tom Firth
Editor

I thought was an alright race, not as good as the weekend before at COTA but decent enough. I was really gutted for Ricciardo as I really like him and thought after yesterday things were finally looking up and for a while, it was and then the car failed on him again. I’m hoping things will be better in the Renault when its not as tightly packaged as the Red Bull? I’m happy for Lewis to claim his 5th world drivers title. Throughout the season I’ve been in the Ferrari and Vettel camp more but its a huge achievement by… Read more »

Tom Firth
Editor

O also how have Red Bull become so light on the tyre usage? Managed to be in Austin and in Mexico?

Nige
Guest

Serious Question (not trying to be funny here): Does anyone think that F1 really believes that the fans enjoy watching drivers go off throttle to the point where 1/2 of the field is being lapped twice to save tyres, fuel, and engines? Are there REALLY people out there who watch this sport and say “Yeah, Verstappen is fast, but nobody can lift n’ coast like Lewis Hamilton!!!”? I just really want to meet this person that enjoys “sustainable” F1……

jtr
Member
jtr

A serious WTH for Mercedes leaving both drivers out there on tires that were so cooked that they literally could not keep the car on the track anymore. Mercedes were very lucky that both drivers lost control at turn 1 where there’s loads of runoff space. That could very easily have led to one or both drivers crashing into another car or going into a wall. On a weekend where Mercedes just needed to play things safe and get the cars across the line, it’s pretty baffling that they would take a risk like that. If the FIA is going… Read more »