December 7, 2022

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Formula 1, Mexico: Big win with record for Verstappen

Max Verstappen is unstoppable this year and continues to win, with 14 wins this season.

The Mexican Grand Prix He had a great winner – who else – is Max Verstappen, who won for the 14th time this year, the record for most wins in a season. her guide Red Bull Racing He played the perfect match, implementing his team’s strategy with metronomic precision so as not to allow his opponents to threaten him. The Lewis Hamilton with the mercedes He had no answers and eventually finished in second place, while the local champ Sergio Perez She completed the podium in third place.

beginning

The cars took their positions at the start of the Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit in Mexico City, with 800m of the straight to the first turn in front of them. Tire choices were of particular interest, with Red Bull and Ferrari drivers on Pirelli, while Mercedes, McLaren and Bottas drivers chose the medium.

As soon as the red lights went out, Max Verstappen made a perfect start and managed to turn first, as the two Mercedes cars behind him failed to take advantage of the slipstream and threatened it. However, Lewis Hamilton overtook George Russell and climbed to second. Sergio Perez also got off to a good start and attacked Russell for a pass and finished third.

A little further back, the two Ferraris faced the steering wheel in the opening corners, as Charles Leclerc attempted to overtake Carlos Sainz. But the Spaniard did not back down and retained first place, leaving Monaco in sixth place. Valtteri Bottas did not start well and at the end of the first lap fell back to eighth, after being passed by Fernando Alonso. But Bottas seemed too fast at the start of the race and was putting pressure on Alonso, behind whom a train formed, in addition to Alfa Romeo Fin, which included Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris.

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Battle Crest

Verstappen in pole position couldn’t get away from Hamilton, who was following him at a distance of about 1.5 seconds. But Perez was close behind them, also trailing Hamilton by 1.5sec. The differences weren’t much in the early part of the race, as not even Russell was far from Perez. However, the Ferraris seemed unable to keep up with the pace of the leader, with Sainz slowly falling behind Russell.

As the laps continued, the battles on the track calmed down somewhat and most drivers became more committed to their strategy for the rest of the race. Overtaking was few and far between, with “Specialist” Daniel Ricciardo getting a spot, and Cho overtaking. But McLaren did not start the race well because both drivers were behind their starting positions, with Norris 10th and Ricciardo 12th.

pit stop

The soft tires selected by the Red Bull drivers started to wear out and so on lap 23 Sergio Perez was the first to go into the pits to turn into a moderator. It was a very slow pit stop for the Mexican, who lost 2-3 seconds before changing his tires and could get back on track.

On the next lap Max Verstappen also came in to change the soft tires to the medium ones. This time all went well and the Dutchman was back on the track in third place, ahead of Ferrari’s St. Thus, Mercedes was leading the race, who had the medium tires from the start, with Hamilton ahead of Russell.

In the back, Perez was trying to make up for time lost at the stopping point and quickly passed Charles Leclerc, who passed relatively easily to move up to fifth and set his sights on Carlos Sainz. But the big question was whether Red Bull would need to stop again until the end of the race.

A few laps later Lewis Hamilton also moved him. The Briton got into the pits and removed the middle tires to put a new set of hard rubber into a clear pit stop strategy. However, Russell, now in pole position, remained on the right track, with Mercedes showing that they are following a slightly different strategy for their drivers. But Russell stopped his star 4 laps later and fell to fourth, behind Perez.

Mexican Airlines

Sergio Perez, buoyed by the cheers of 400,000 citizens in the stands, was fourth and fastest driver on the track. Little by little he was getting closer to Hamilton, who had stiffer rubber on his car.

Verstappen, now back in pole position, wasn’t ‘lit the fire’ on the track and didn’t get away from Hamilton at a pace that would have allowed him to stop again. The Dutchman was either “guarding” his tires to the finish or continued to have minor issues with the gear changes he reported earlier on the radio.

Perez continued his attack and backed away from Hamilton. The Red Bull driver was on the outskirts of the British DRS. However, he didn’t get close enough to threaten while it was almost certain that he would have to stop again before the end of the race.

The Ferraris were now almost half a minute behind the top four, with Saint staying well ahead of Leclerc. The Alps combined good speed with smart strategy, with Alonso in seventh and Ocon in eighth, although the Frenchman was under heavy pressure from Bottas behind him. Lando Norris rounded out the top ten, which is also not far behind the Finn.

Champion to the end

Verstappen was giving a lesson in consistent driving, while maintaining the speed he needed to keep his tires out all the way. At the same time, he was increasing a gap with Lewis Hamilton, who had to look in his mirrors as Sergio Perez continued to follow him closely, while Jack Russell slammed back a bit.

Daniel Ricciardo put the soft tires on McLaren and was winning places one after another, passing everyone in front of him, and working his way up to seventh. But the Australian was given a 10-second penalty added to his total time for a collision with Yuki Tsunoda earlier.

The final episode of the race was the appearance of the virtual safety car with six laps remaining when Fernando Alonso retired due to a mechanical problem and the Alps stopped at the edge of the track.

Undeterred Max Verstappen continued his impeccable run to take the square flag first for the 14th time this year, breaking the record of 13 wins in a season held by Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher. Lewis Hamilton finished second while Sergio Perez finished third, ahead of George Russell who was fourth, and also had the fastest lap at the finish. They were followed by Sainz, Leclerc, Ricardo, Ocon, Norris and Bottas.

The next, and penultimate race of the season, in two weeks (November 11-13) is the Brazilian winner.

» Formula 1 standings after the Mexican Grand Prix

consequences