Max Verstappen dominated 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix for his 16th main race victory of the season.
Verstappen seized the lead into Turn 1 on the inside line but squeezed pole-sitter, Charles Leclerc into Sergio Perez, which ended the Mexican’s home race prematurely whilst the two-time champion sprinted away to win despite a red flag after Kevin Magnussen’s Lap 33 crash.
The Dutchman’s victory also saw him set a new record for most race wins in a single season excluding Sprint victories, having set the previous record himself last season.
Lewis Hamilton meanwhile benefitted from the red flag as he switched from hard to medium tyres and passed Leclerc on Lap 40 to finish second, ahead of the Monegasque and Carlos Sainz.
McLaren’s Lando Norris meanwhile drove a stunning race from 17th on the grid to finish fifth ahead fellow Brit, George Russell who ended up sixth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Oscar Piastri, Alex Albon and Esteban Ocon.
In the drivers’ standings, Verstappen is already champion but Hamilton reduced his deficit to second-placed Perez down to 20 points, whilst Sainz moved above Fernando Alonso into fourth by virtue of his win in Singapore on countback as both drivers have 183 points apiece.
Across in the constructor standings, Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin, Alpine and Williams stayed in their respective positions, whilst AlphaTauri benefitted from Ricciardo’s seventh-placed finish to move above Alfa Romeo and Haas into eighth position.
In the hours preceding the race start, Aston Martin decided to make setup changes on Lance Stroll’s car which necessitated a pit-lane start for the Canadian.
At lights out, Leclerc and Sainz got solid starts but Verstappen made a lightning start to split the pair and take the lead into Turn 1 on the inside, unaware that his teammate, Perez was round the outside as he squeezed Leclerc into the Mexican.
Leclerc consequently was forced into unavoidable contact with Perez’s sidepod which ended the home hero’s race early much to the disappointment of fans trackside, whilst Leclerc suffered front wing damage with debris eventually falling off on Lap 5.
Up front, Verstappen built a gap ahead of Leclerc, Sainz, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Piastri and Russell as Hulkenberg improved to eighth, ahead of Pierre Gasly and Guanyu Zhou.
Norris meanwhile recovered from 17th to 15th on the start as he gambled on the soft tyre which saw him pit early on Lap 12, and in-turn put him up to eighth once everyone had made their stops.
Hamilton meanwhile cleared Ricciardon on the inside of Turn 1 on Lap 11 for fourth which became third when Verstappen surpringly pitted at the end of Lap 19 to switch from medium to hard tyres which droppd him from the lead to seventh.
Ferrari however weren’t fazed by Verstappen’s early pit stop and kept Leclerc plus Sainz out in the lead ahead of Hamilton, who pitted on Lap 25 to try and undercut Sainz which worked once the Spaniard pitted on Lap 31 with Leclerc following suit a lap later as Verstappen retook the lead.
The race however was red flagged on Lap 34 after Magnussen had suffered a heavy-impact crash into the barriers at Turn 9, due to a right-rear suspension failure on his Haas car which led to the car briefly catching alight and serious techpro barrier damage.
In the intervertal between the incident and red flag, the Safety Car had been deployed which gifted Norris a cheap second pit stop as he slipped two positions to tenth, rather than fall down the order if he had pitted under green flag conditions.
Racing resumed on Lap 36 with a standing start after a lap behind the Safety Car following a 21 minute red flag period and at lights out, Verstappen retained his lead from Leclerc and Hamilton who were on hard and medium tyres respectively, ahead of Sainz in fourth.
Russell leapfrogged Piastri and Ricciardo into fifth but couldn’t pass Sainz whilst Hamilton further ahead passed Leclerc for second into Turn 1 on Lap 40.
Further back, Norris got wheelspin from tenth on his second standing start and slipped to 14th but he steadily recovered to ninth by Lap 49, when his McLaren teammate, Piastri made unavoidable contact with Tsunoda into Turn 1 on the inside in their scrap over seventh.
The subsequent contact caused Tsunoda to spin down to 16th and ended his hopes of another points finish, whilst promoting Norris to eighth and the Brit eventually took seventh on Lap 56 following team orders to switch drivers around in an attempt to catch Ricciardo.
That gamble paid off as Norris found further pace and managed to clear Ricciardo into Turn 4 on Lap 60 with an outside move for sixth, although he wasn’t done with that move as he caught and cleared Russell for fifth on inside of Turn 6 on Lap 67.
Up front, Verstappen cruised to his 16th Grand Prix victory of the season unchallenged but lost the fastest lap point to Hamilton on the final lap.
F1 now heads to Sao Paulo, Brazil for the 2023 Sao Paulo GP next weekend from 3-5 November, which features the final sprint weekend format of the season.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||71||2h ..m …|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||71||+ 13.875|
|3||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||71||+ 23.124|
|4||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||71||+ 27.154|
|5||Lando Norris||McLaren||71||+ 33.266|
|6||George Russell||Mercedes||71||+ 41.020|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri||71||+ 41.570|
|8||Oscar Piastri||McLaren||71||+ 43.104|
|9||Alex Albon||Williams||71||+ 48.573|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||71||+ 62.879|
|11||Pierre Gasly||Alpine||71||+ 66.208|
|12||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||71||+ 78.982|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||71||+ 80.309|
|14||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||71||+ 80.597|
|15||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||71||+ 81.676|
|17||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||66||Collision|
|18||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||47||Debris|
|RET||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1||Collision|