Perez kept his distance
Verstappen won the day ahead of Hamilton, who struggled to defend second place from local hero Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull. Verstappen celebrated his 19th Grand Prix success in the premier class. Four races before the end of the season he is now 19 points ahead of Hamilton. “Great work from the whole team, let’s keep going”, a relaxed Verstappen radioed to the pits at the finish.
Sebastian Vettel, who started from ninth place, showed a good performance and fought his way up to seventh place in the Aston Martin. The four-time world champion was once again in the points.
Schumacher retired after the crash
Mick Schumacher, on the other hand, had a black day in the defeated Haas. The 22-year-old retired on the first lap after a collision through no fault of his own with Frenchman Esteban Ocon. For Schumacher it was the second failure in his debut season.
Red Bull had been rated stronger than Mercedes in the high air in Mexico City because of a larger turbocharger in the Honda engine and had also confirmed the expectations in training. The shock followed in qualifying: Red Bull made a mistake, while Mercedes found the balance and unexpectedly secured the front row with Valtteri Bottas on pole position.
Perfect start from Verstappen
A “terrible qualifying” said Verstappen, who started the race as third with a disadvantage. In the long sprint to the first corner, the Dutchman ideally had to pass both Mercedes – and delivered spectacularly.
Verstappen got off to a perfect start. In the slipstream of Bottas, the 24-year-old caught up meter by meter, pushed past both Silver Arrows on the outside and turned into the first corner as the leader. The Mercedes strategy was finally obsolete when Bottas was touched by Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) at the rear in turn one.
“It is a pity”
Schumacher also fell victim to the chaos caused by the Finn’s lathe. In the dense crowd on the track, Ocon took both the German and the Japanese Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) out of the race. “It was very cramped there. No three cars fit next to each other,” said Schumacher: “It happened, but it’s a shame.”
After the end of the safety car phase, Verstappen tackled his ninth win of the season at the front. When he was clear, he gradually expanded his lead over Hamilton. “He is fast”, Hamilton pitted in the eighth lap.
No longer caught up decisively
It became clear early on: For the seven-time champion in Mexico, it’s all about damage limitation. Because another problem lurked in the rearview mirror: Sergio Perez. The local hero in the second Red Bull could not be shaken off. The Mercedes strategists responded with a stop on lap 30. Hamilton’s first fast lap on fresh hard tires was slowed down by Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, but Hamilton subsequently pushed the pace. On Verstappen, who came to the pits a little later, Hamilton did not catch up decisively.
Hamilton’s lead over Perez, who had changed tires ten laps later, quickly narrowed. Ten laps before the end, Perez was in the DRS window, and cheers broke out among thousands of Mexicans in the Foro Sol stadium section. However, Perez was no longer able to overtake.
Stand: 07.11.2021, 21:54
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Formula 1 triumph in Mexico – Verstappen demoralizes Hamilton