Max Verstappen dominated the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix to extend his title lead to 19 points over Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen got a superb slipstream from pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas to sweep round the outside of Turn One into the lead ahead of Hamilton as Sergio Perez nudged Bottas mid-corner who was consequently spun by Daniel Ricciardo.
Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher meanwhile both collided with Esteban Ocon at the rear of the field and retired on the spot, which brought out the Safety Car but Verstappen sprinted away to his ninth win of the season and fastest lap of the race.
Hamilton meanwhile fended off Perez for third as Pierre Gasly finished fourth ahead of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, whilst Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris rounded out the top ten.
In the driver standings, Verstappen extended his title lead to 19 points over Hamilton with just 104 points left to play for this season.
Mercedes meanwhile saw their title lead over Red Bull in the constructors’ standings reduced to a single point after finding themselves outscored by 22 points, whilst Ferrari moved above McLaren into third with a 13 point lead over the British constructor.
At lights out, Bottas got a clean start as he raced Hamilton down to Turn One but Verstappen slotted into the slipstream of Bottas’ Mercedes and swept round the outside of Turn One into the lead, just as Bottas got nudged by Perez and spun by Ricciardo mid-corner.
Bottas consequently dropped down the order and finished 16th but stole fastest lap on Lap 69 to limit Verstappen’s points gain on Hamilton to seven points.
Tsunoda and Schumacher retired on the spot after both drivers made heavy contact with Ocon towards the rear of the corner, whilst Ricciardo and George Russell tangled at Turn Six with the Aussie coming off worse as he lost his front wing with the Safety Car deployed soon afterwards.
Once the Safety Car was withdrawn at the end of Lap Four, Verstappen sprinted away unchallenged as he built a solid gap over Hamilton to nine seconds come the end of Lap 29, when the Brit made his stop for hard tyres which caused him to re-join in fifth behind Leclerc.
Verstappen followed suit four laps later which in turn created F1 history as Perez became the first Mexican to lead his home race for seven laps before stopping at the end of Lap 40, which left him 8.376s off Hamilton with 30 laps left.
Perez proceeded to slowly but surely reel Hamilton in at a rate of around 0.5s per lap and found himself within a second of the Brit by the start of Lap 61, but the pair were held up by Norris for a couple of laps which proved costly as Hamilton fended him off for second.
Elsewhere, Ferrari’s Leclerc and Sainz battled each other throughout the race for fifth which culminated in both drivers getting swapped on Lap 58, yet Sainz was unable to catch Gasly so they reversed positions in the closing stages as Leclerc reclaimed fifth.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||71||1h 38m 39.086|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||71||+ 16.555|
|3||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||71||+ 17.752|
|4||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||71||+ 63.845|
|5||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||71||+ 81.037|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||70||+ 1 Lap|
|7||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||70||+ 1 Lap|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||70||+ 1 Lap|
|9||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||70||+ 1 Lap|
|10||Lando Norris||McLaren||70||+ 1 Lap|
|11||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||70||+ 1 Lap|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||70||+ 1 Lap|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||70||+ 1 Lap|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||69||+ 2 Laps|
|15||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||69||+ 2 Laps|
|16||George Russell||Williams||69||+ 2 Laps|
|17||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||69||+ 2 Laps|
|18||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||68||+ 3 Laps|