F1 – Mexican GP – Race
Mexico City hosts the 18th round of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship; a race where Lewis Hamilton could claim his 6th World title. Did you know the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez first held a Grand Prix in 1962, albeit the track layout was slightly different and the circuit was known as the Magdalena Mixhuca circuit.
After immaturity struck Max Verstappen in qualifying and he threw away a pole position, Charles Leclerc will start at the front today ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
The opening lap was chaotic, with multiple cars running wide, and several instances of minor contact – but without any major incident. Max Verstappen did have contact on that opening lap, which felt inevitable given how frustrated he was after his penalty yesterday. He was driving FAR too aggressively today, and eventually ended up with a puncture after clipping Valtteri Bottas while overtaking. It was an impressive move from very far back, but again, just too aggressive. He needs to learn that in a race situation, you can not be pushing 100%. It sounds counter-intuitive, but drivers actually race at 98% during a race, otherwise you will have too many incidents. You have to play the percentages to be successful in this game. Max is supremely fast, but until he works on attitude, calmness and racecraft, he will not be a title contender. The Dutchman also had contact with Kevin Magnussen later on in the race as he tried to recover through the field.
The race ended up being a fascinating battle of strategy, with confusion about whether or not one or two stops was the fastest way to proceed. Having started 3rd, Hamilton came through to take victory in Mexico after a tense final quarter of the race with the top four all catching each other. Vettel finished 2nd ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Leclerc in 4th. Bottas finishing 3rd means that Hamilton does not win the title this weekend, although it would take a very unusual set of results for Bottas to take it now.
Alexander Albon was 5th after a very competitive showing, ahead of Verstappen. Sergio Perez was 7th, which is lovely to see at his home race, just beating Daniel Ricciardo to the line. Daniil Kvyat originally classified 9th, but received a 10-second time penalty for a last lap collision with Nico Hulkenberg. That penalty means Pierre Gasly is promoted into 9th with Hulkenberg classifying 10th.
There were two retirements in the race. Lando Norris was running solidly in the top ten, but a botched pit stop cost him a heap of time. As he was running so far back, McLaren decided to retire the car and save the engine. Alfa Romeo did the same with Kimi Raikkonen too.
That was a great race with the top five drivers all having a chance at the win today. More of the same at the next race in the United States please!