Mexico City GP: Max Verstappen extends Drivers Championship lead over Lewis Hamilton with a dominant victory

(Motorsport) Despite a Mercedes 1-2 at the end of qualification for the Mexico City GP at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, it was Red Bull who emerged victorious in what is a serious boost for Max Verstappen’s title aspirations as he extended his lead to 19 points over Lewis Hamilton with only four races to go. The Dutchman gained the pole position right from the start, slipstreaming past Bottas and Hamilton and there was no looking back from then on.

Such was the pace displayed by the Red Bull cars that Verstappen went past the chequered flag after being 16.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton who narrowly finished second with Sergio Perez following closely behind. Valtteri Bottas was spun in the first corner by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, resulting in the driver from Finland relegated to the back of the grid and to make matters worse, a slow second pit stop ensured Mercedes’ second car was completely out of the points contention. However, the Finnish driver did get the fastest lap of the race when a late pit stop by Mercedes ensured Bottas was on fresh tyres to take the bonus point away from Verstappen. 

The point was crucial as it ensured Mercedes remained ahead of Red Bull in the Constructors Championship (by 1 point) but the pace displayed by both Verstappen and Perez means the Silver Arrows will be worried heading into the final four races in Brazil, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Red Bull’s celebrations were amplified by Sergio Perez finishing third in his home Grand Prix, becoming the first Mexican to finish on the podium since 1963. Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri finished fourth, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, thereby ensuring that Alpine are now fifth in the Constructors Championship.

McLaren’s Lando Norris, who was penalized to 18th place on the grid did reasonably well to finish 10th but only managed a point which proved to be good news for Ferrari who are now placed third in the Constructors Championship behind Mercedes and Red Bull. Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel finished 7th while Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine) finished 8th and 9th respectively to improve on their grid positions.

Also read: Formula 1 could make the sprint format a standard approach for Grand Prix weekends


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