Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Verstappen repeats Mexico win as Hamilton seals fifth title

2018 Mexican Grand Prix summary

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Max Verstappen won the Mexican Grand Prix for the second year in a row, which ensured Lewis Hamilton clinched the 2018 Formula 1 drivers’ championship title.

The Red Bull driver claimed the lead at the start of the race, passing his pole-sitting team mate Daniel Ricciardo and resisting Hamilton, who made a quick start from third on the grid.

Hamilton faded rapidly during the race which allowed Verstappen to build a healthy lead. Both Mercedes drivers suffered high tyre degradation and fell behind the Red Bulls and Ferraris.

Sebastian Vettel emerged on the tail of Ricciardo’s second-placed car. But with eight laps to go Ricciardo suffered yet another power unit failure, which forced him out and let Vettel by.

Ricciardo’s demise promoted Kimi Raikkonen to the final place on the podium. Hamilton, fourth, was the last driver on the lead lap. Team mate Valtteri Bottas used the Virtual Safety Car period which was triggered by Ricciardo to make a third pit stop, and ended the race on hyper-softs having used one of each type of tyre compound.

Nico Hulkenberg led the midfielders home in sixth place, two laps adrift, followed by Charles Leclerc. Stoffel Vandoorne scored his first points finish since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in eighth, ahead of Marcus Ericsson and Pierre Gasly.

Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz Jnr and Sergio Perez joined Ricciardo in retirement.

2018 Mexican Grand Prix reaction

    Check back shortly for more race reaction

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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83 comments on “Verstappen repeats Mexico win as Hamilton seals fifth title”

  1. Credit where it’s due great race by Verstappen.

    I mean what can we say about Ricciardo, it’s become beyond a joke now. Sure the Renault may be unreliable, but that Red Bull is breaking down way more than any of the other cars.

    Let’s hope for a competitive last couple of races. Congrats to Hamilton, hopefully can win a race after winning the championship now!

    1. When Max has all these failures last year many people said he was overdriving the car. Now with RIC no one seems to think that.

      Not that I believe they actually did this but I do think it’s pretty weird to see the difference

      1. +1 Sainz had also his display switch off so it’s not only Red Bull it’s the engine. Something with his hydrolic which is very often the problem.

      2. @anunaki I definitely agree it’s not the way Verstappen and Ricciardo are driving thats causing problems. I just wonder whether Red Bull prioritise so much on performance that it makes the car unreliable. Looking at the stats this year:

        Red Bull – 11 Retirements (8 Mechanical – 3 Collisions)
        McLaren – 8 Retirements (6 Mechanical – 2 Collisions) – At least 3 of these have been gearbox issues
        Renault – 7 Retirements (3 Mechanical – 4 Collisions)

        This is only race retirements and not any problems in practice/qualifying but wouldn’t be surprised if the trend continues that way (as well as last year with Verstappen when he was having loads of problems). Going to be interesting how they get on with Honda next year.

      3. @anunaki
        Stop comparing VERs, your idol, mishaps in 2017 with RICs 2018 mishaps. You look like a complete tool while at it. You’re trying to implant false memories inside our brains with your orange biased propaganda.

        1) “When Max has all these failures last year..” – Max did not have all of Dans 2018 failures.. at all. Here are the true figures: VER had 3 issues with quali which forced him to the (almost) back of the grid: 2 bc of grid penalties and 1 bc of a similar problem RIC experienced this year in HUN-quali, albeit the reason was different (crash of Stroll and weather versus crash of Giovinazzi and mechanical). RIC has had 5 (4 mechanical and aforementioned Hungary) in 2018.
        In his 2017 races VER had at most 4 DNFs bc of the car. I say at most bc prior to two of those DNF he did make contact with cars/kerbs or other weird looking stuff. But let’s just say 4. RIC has had 8 DNFs by no fault of his own in 2018. 6 car failures, 1 bc of a starting accident in which he had no blame and 1 bc of VER, who took him out in an unallowed manner.
        So how are those the same kind of (amount of) failures: 3 versus 5 in quali and 4 (tops) versus 8 in the race? They’re not.
        2) The reason why those remarks about overdriving the car were made, is bc of their respective driving (history). Whenever RICs had his DNFs, it was immediately clear it was something with the car. Max is a much more aggressive driver which frequenly resulted in contact with others (like I briefly mentioned by example at 1)).
        3) Besides the fact that VERs 2017 is incomparable with RICs 2018, RICs 2017 is already smeared with more bad luck than VERs. Those figures are: 5 grid penalties, (one of which coincided with VERs, but RICs was harsher), all due to tech-stuff. And 6 DNFs, all beyond his control. 5 car failures, 1 time bc of Max took him out, for which VER pleaded guilty, but took no penalty bc they’re from the same team. Now I should say that 2 of those DNFs came in the same weekend as in which RIC took grid penalties.
        So then the comparison in 2017 would be: 3 versus 3 in quali and 4 (VER) to 6 (RIC).
        4) On top of all this, RIC also had to deal (but still finished) with damage sustained, not through his fault, at the start in Italy’17, France’18 and no DRS in quali in Britain.

        In other words, both RICs 2017 and 2018 were a lot worse, they’re not even remotely close, than VERs 2017 in terms of ‘bad luck’, who’s had an almost clean ride through 2018 with only 1 or 2 (Silverstone) DNFs and 1 quali issue in Russia.

        Stop this orange biased rewriting of racing history. Just say ziggoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, hahhahaahahahaha.


        @macleod -33

      4. (@anunaki)

        When Max has all these failures last year many people said he was overdriving the car.

        In an interview with Will Buxton Verstappen himself admitted he was “over driving” at the beginning of this yr causing most of his problems. It’s not much of a stretch to include 2017 in that. Verstappen has since adjusted his driving and improved.

        1. The overdriving I was talking about is causing your car to fail.

          What Max means with overdriving is he was trying too hard what resulted in driver errors

  2. Now, maybe it is just me, but the conversation that Verstappen had with his pit wall seemed a bit odd – why was he asking his mechanics to turn down the engines, and why did they tell him that they had turned the engine down, if two way telemetry was abolished more than a decade ago? OK, it may be that the pit wall were searching for a particular engine mode to tell Verstappen to use, but the way that he phrased it made it sound as if he was expecting them to do something.

    1. He expected the pit wall to give him the order to turn it down because that is the agreed procedure. The pit wall knows more about the engine. The pit wall eventually gave the order and max changed mode.

      1. racefan, it’s just that, as others have noted, the way that it was phrased did come across as a bit strange – by saying “can you turn down the engine”, it made it sound as if he was expecting the pit wall to be actively involved in altering the engine setting.

        If it was just a case of confirming an order, I would have expected it to be “can I turn down the engine” – in other words, that Max already had a particular engine mode that he wanted to switch to and was requesting permission from the pit lane to use it – or making a request for information from the pit wall (such as asking what engine mode to use).

        In that case, I would have expected the response of the pit wall to be more passive too, such as confirming the request or instructing him what engine mode to use. The way that response was phrased – “we’ve turned the engine down” – made it sound as if they had actively done something to change the engine setting for Max, rather than what you might have expected if they were just confirming that Max could use a particular engine mode (like “you can turn it down” or instructing him what engine mode to use).

        Now, I accept this may well just be a grammatical issue that is causing confusion, but the way it was phrased made it sound as if Max expected the pit wall to be doing something more than just give an instruction, and the way that the pit wall phrased their response made it sound as if they had also done something more than just confirming a request.

        1. I understand the confusion. I just think the grammar sounds odd because the ‘we’ is meant to imply the team (1 driver+engineers) instead of ‘we’ the pitwall alone.

    2. The wall have to give the right code of Max to enter but i was a bit surprised when they said it fixed or it was a reaction on the information they gave earlier.

      1. its the confirmation the settings are accepted by the system.

        1. Right. So the system + 1 driver + the engineers is ‘we’ have made a successful change.

          1. Hi ‘racefan’ – I think you’re being too adamant, for your opinion to be automatically accepted. Anon’s comment above is a far more logical and intelligent appraisal – whatever the actual truth. You might be right, but you won’t prove it by just repeating yourself…
            TBH you sound more like an RB staff member trying to fend off any possible accusations… In fact you sound almost like Horner… lol.

          2. Hi BlackJackFan,

            i did not repeat myself. I just observed that Erikje made a curcial addition to what i said.

            “In fact you sound almost like Horner”

            In fact, that fact only exists as your presumption which we are discussing here, and even itf it were true, it would not constitute an argument.

            You try to create something out of nothing.

          3. What I was trying to do was to demonstrate your initial comment was ‘something of nothing’… which you now seem to be (inadvertently…?) admitting, by suggesting I am trying “…to create something out of nothing.”… lol.

            “In fact you sound almost like Horner”
            It is only my presumption if I had stated it as a fact. Indeed, the only ‘fact’ (if you wish to call it that) is that, to me, you ‘sound‘… ‘almost‘… like Horner. It was intended more as a joke… and never intended as an argument… lol.

    3. Anon, indeed, many have observed this. Those ‘explanations’ of the oranges to your, and others, raised questions don’t make sense. It’s like they’re thinking we’re babies who would accept a crappy explanation like those. He did ask it in a way he was expecting them to actively change something themselves.

      More things that were odd: The start of RIC. Can’t remember such a start of him on pure getaway. And what was that dutch dj doing there, at the Heineken Mex GP, with his Philips equipment and logo getting zoomed in explicitly, talking about dutch pride??

      I haven’t played this card yet, but there’s no point keeping up appearances when it’s THIS obvious. F1 is a business foremost, a circus second and maybe a sport at last and RB is a massive player in it.
      Make no mistake: RBR has been a one driver – team ever since RICs announcement at the beginning of last August.

  3. It did seem strange. The Sky commentators were a bit confused by that as well, when his engineer said “we’ve turned the engine down”, must just be the radio procedure they have there

    1. The Sky commentators were a bit confused by that as well

      @burden93 – Crofty? Must’ve been a day that ended in ‘Y’.

  4. Congrats to Lewis, well deserved. He scholnged Sebastian in the second half of the year and discomfited him in a car that at least on half the races was not the fastest on track.

    Brilliant drive by Verstappen, although it was a snoozefest. I was massively underwhelmed by the race after all the build up. I expect some action at the front. In the end it was a really boring race. Kudos to Mexico for organizing a fantastic event though, I’d say by far the best crowd of the year. Just happy to have F1 in town. No bad vibes.

    Finally, Daniel… what the hell is going on? Seriously. If I were a bit more unhinged I would start throwing some tinfoil hat conspiracy theories, but really, it’s been so bad.

    1. It’s no coincidence Dan’s car is breaking.
      Sabotage, pure and simple.
      Marko at his worst.

      1. If so why would they let him take pole off Verstappen?
        Alternative theory: Ricciardo had a poor start and spent most of his race stuck behind Hamilton and then racing Vettel and stressed an already stressed engine far more than Verstappen.

        1. (@david-br)

          If so why would they let him take pole off Verstappen?

          Going by Horners expression and Verstappens reaction at not getting pole, I’d say they where caught out. In fact it may be fair to say they where of the belief that Ricciardo could not take pole.
          He was only 1 1/10 behind in final practice, I’m surprised they where so surprised.

          1. “I’m surprised they where so surprised.”

            brilliant, backing a second wild accusation by the initial wild accusation and present the whole construct as established fact.

          2. Everyone was surprised.. RIC experiences a serious beating by VER at quali this season. I guess no one expected him to counter this beating after his subpar times during FP and Q1/2
            The fact VER was unable to improve his last attempt as a result of the engine “actions” ( he was 0.3s slower!)
            presented RIC the opportunity

          3. @johnrkh
            erikje, what serious beating? The 8-6 it is at this moment, all circumstances being equal.
            Now what have I taught you just the other day with my reply to your comment involving the US GP – quali? I see you resorted to your usual lying ways, you didn’t do anything with the teachings I gave you.

            Oh and btw, RIC was the same 0.3s off in Q3 due to not making it stick, but he did that in his first try.
            VER came in on the radio saying everything was fine with the engine before his final run. So what exactly did they change in between? Hahaahahahah, orange tool.

          4. Wild accusation? Daniel shocked everyone.

  5. That’s it. My former tinfoiled Horner ‘Kill Switch’ theory for Danny Ric’s car confirmed.

    The question is… will Daniel be allowed to finish in either of the two remaining races or will Horner’s parting FU to Renault be more DNFs just for emphasis?

    In future will DNF be thought of as “Daniel Not Finishing”? Or will the term DNF be replaced completely when a car fails, with the phrase: “Sadly, he was Ricciardo’d”.

    Horrible luck – if it is just luck – hoping for better luck (and team) at Renault for Danny Ric.

    1. Yeah, seems logical to throw away a 1-2 podium because of some petty fight with Ricciardo/Renault.

      1. @mosquito: No, not logical at all – but spiteful, yes.

        So many ‘coincidental’ retirements for Danny Ric since announcing his $60M move to Renault. The results speak louder than logic. Either Daniel’s car has received all the bad parts since the summer break or ?

        1. You are 100% correct. Hopefully, a good dose of Karma is coming their way next year.
          I hope Renault stays ahead of RBR/Honda.

        2. nothing speaks louder than logic

        3. Like he didn’t DNF before Monaco this season…wich he did
          Like he didn’t DNF in 2017… 6 times
          Like he didn’t DNF in 2015 when Kvyat beat him on points

          Renault is the issue here, not the driver, not the team

          1. As always, real strong argument from Matn over here people. Having to go as far as having to include DNFs of three years, and cars, earlier. LOL

            And why do you now suddenly emphasize, or even mention, the DNFs of RIC in 2017. When speaking about 2017 you oranges only talk about the bad luck VER had, while in non-dutch reality RIC had 50% more DNFs (I’m talking about DNFs out of your own blame here) than VER.
            Wait for it.. can you say ziggooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo?? Hahahahahahhahahahhahah

  6. The blue smoke device unseen by fia.

    Theory: in attempting a podium Daniel was running an agressive engine mode. That’s why they soothed verstappen when he got nervous. Verstappen already was in a safer mode but he did not know that. But ric’s luck ran out. At that time he was 26s behind the race leader, off the podium on the same tire strategy with the equally fastest car. Pretty bad result before the dnf due to an overrun engine. May be that missing pole yesterday actually motivated ver and made ricciardo grab the tequila which explains the unglasses, sliding off in the installation lap, and his poor start.

    1. Or maybe politics and favouritism does actually exist in side of RBR.

      1. Or maybe the bitter Ricci fanbase don’t want to acknowledge Verstappen simply is the better and faster and more talented driver

        1. Maybe you didn’t notice, again… but the comments here are about the possibility of a ‘situation’ between RIC and RBR – and has nothing to do with VER…

    2. So max went faster with the safe mode almost the whole race. Max is even more impressing then i thought.

  7. Two laps to the midfield! Jesus!

    1. You called?

    2. But good for those who try to save fuel… ;-)

      1. DR has definitely made the wrong decision here.
        Just seeing the way Hulkenberg was speaking during his post race interview was very disheartening for the sport,
        and the way the sky team acknowledged if Renault had a 50 % improvement, then they would only be 1 lap / minute behind,……and their currently 4th……:-(

        1. And: They only are 4th as a result of Force India being stripped of their points!

          1. erikje, don’t let facts bother you. The other day nase had already schooled you in this REN/FI-topic. Makes you wonder, is stubbornness beyond comprehension a dutch trait, seeing you (all), Jos and Max?

  8. Absolutely blistering start from Hamilton, shame it was kind of useless in terms of the race outcome. On any normal Sunday he’d probably have fought Verstappen for the first corner but wise to brake early. I know it’s the done thing to feel sorry for Ricciardo, but where was he before that? As predicted, nowhere near his team mate’s pace. Excellent race from Vettel. Drove exceptionally well and salvaged a lot of pride. Also kudos for going to congratulate Hamilton immediately after the end of the race.

    1. @david-br

      Give Ricciardo a break, man. He deserves it.

      He could have finished 2nd and that would’ve been his first podium since Monaco. He has lost so many points because of his numerous retirements in the second half and hasn’t had a clean weekend since Great Britain (with the exception of Singapore, probably). He may not be as fast as Verstappen but that’s not the reason to question the sympathy being shown towards him.

      1. that would’ve been [Ricciardo’s] first podium since Monaco

        @neutronstar – my God, that really puts his situation in better context, when you phrase it like that.

      2. “He could have finished 2nd”

        This depends on what time the verb ‘could’ starts. Just before the start, Ricciardo could have won the race. At the time of the enige failure, a podium was already gone.

        Ricciardo had a very, very bad race that finished with him missing out on P4. In fact, the DNF is a more genereous result than “started P1 with the fastest car and finished P4”.

        1. There’s no way in hell he would have finished 4th if he could’ve had a clean finish. Many drivers easily managed a one-stop race. Either way, it baffles me that you guys have to twist the perspective into “Ricciardo had a less than ideal race”, where it actually is more important that he retired, yet again and didn’t have a clean weekend because of factors out of his control.

          And I dare you to say that “DNF is a more generous result” to Ricciardo’s face. The way he looked and sounded in his post race interviews, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d laugh at you and tell you to go home.

        2. Absolutely wrong, ricciardo was holding off vettel, and would’ve done so even for the last 10 laps, I thought he’d have been overtaken due to older and slower tyres, but no, vettel had enough time and was unsuccessful till ricciardo’s car stopped.

          Red bull 1-2 without the failure.

      3. @neutronstar I like Ricciardo a lot and think he’s a great driver. I don’t think he made the right decision to move from Red Bull but that’s another matter. I’m actually sad about that as I think we’ll see less of him fighting at the front. This year clearly has been diabolically bad in terms of mechanical failures, and I’m not unsympathetic. But there are a lot of conspiracy theories and a lot of hostility to Verstappen for what, to me, looks like refusal to accept he’s been the faster and better driver this year, no conspiracy theories needed. I was hoping for a Red Bull 1-2 and was actually rooting for Ricciardo before the race.

    2. As always, david-br his comments as a HAM-VER-hugger don’t make sense. Above he give’s an explanation to why RIC was that much behind his teammate (stuck behind HAM), yet here he claims RIC was nowhere in terms of race pace. And it took him only 24 minutes to change his narrative, LOL. When you start off one of your hate speeches, at least try to be consistent, hhahahahahaa.

      And btw, nice hedging, being both a HAM and VER adept. I guess he’s always in a safe place? Also favouring bot ManC and ManU, both Barca and Real, CA River Plate and Boca? Hahhahahahahahhahahahha

  9. Congrats to Lewis, his best season in F1 so far, well deserved. But he kinda sux at doing donuts. I mean Vettel does better donuts in the race.

    1. Wicked… :-)

    2. Comment of the day!

    3. Bottas is also great at racedonuts. Almost like he wanna go rallying instead.

  10. We need clarity from red bull and fia if pit wall engine control is happening or mot at red bull.or if itnis allowed or not by the fia. We did not hear the mode that ver was supposed to use. Only that his engine was turned down but by whom?

    1. Regardless of personal feelings, which will constitute most of the replies you will receive, this is a perfectly valid question.

    2. Yeah, the phrasing of that conversation is definitely peculiar, as anon also mentioned above.

    3. I heard a mode told to Max but when viewing the race a second time on Sky i didn’t hear this not anymore. (I watch Ziggo first) But still i was confused on the comments from both sides maybe it’s a communication thing.

      1. @macleod – agreed, it’s most likely that. I can’t recall specific examples off the top of my head, but I do recall a few instances in previous races where the race engineer adapted his answer’s wording to the question being asked, even if the question wasn’t grammatically/contextually correct. I think this is done intentionally to make the reply easier to parse for the driver (i.e. the answer is framed for the specific question asked).

        IIRC, this was around charging the battery, where the pit said something like “we’ve charged the battery for you”, which is technically even less likely (or it is technology Tesla would kill for!), where the implication was – “we’ve been monitoring your regen and your battery is now topped up”.

  11. I mean, there’s something seriously wrong with the tone of this website if over half the comments on a race report are trying to see how Red Bull cheated with Verstappen and engine modes and the other half are convinced Ricciardo was being sabotaged. Both totally absurd and unprecedented ideas being thrown around like facts. Maybe it’s good that Ricciardo is moving teams, so the insane tribalism can stop.
    Not that it will. There will be so many sightings of Horner and Marko in parc ferme, sneaking around with hammers and spanners next season.

    1. That tone is the tone of ‘mankind’ – experts in hate supported by fact-invention. It is by no means limited to F1 – if only it would.

    2. @hahostolze – the language used is definitely unusual, so I’m puzzled to the context behind it. Speaking for myself, I’m surely not alluding to any foul play. If there were any foul play, Renault would know – or have an idea of how to investigate – given its their PU, and given the benefit they stand to gain, so we’d have heard of a protest by now. And the consequences of being caught out would be significant and severe.

      1. @phylyp whole discussions here dissescting the usage of the word ‘we’. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in F1 almost always the people on the pitwall use ‘we’ to discuss the car – in combination with the pit-team, the tires, the engine, the entire package – is always we. It’s only ‘you’ when they do a nice move, are doing well, etc. ‘Our tires look good’. ‘Our pace is good’. Maybe not constantly – but enough to not warrant any kind of ridiculous speculation implying that Red Bull have managed to circumvent decade old rules without the FIA, the scrutineers and Renault noticing. It’s patently absurd.

        1. @hahostolze – To me, the question of “can you turn down the engine?” is the odd one, since a better question would be either “can/should we turn down the engine?” or “tell me how to turn down the engine?” both of which ask the pitwall for a decision (“I’m in a good place, can we save this engine even more?”) or information (“I’m in a good place, tell me which knobs to turn”), not action.

          “we’ve turned the engine down” – agree that your explanation makes sense.

          Also, yes, the flavour of this article is oriented towards Verstappen/Ricciardo, but bear in mind that a single race day generates 10+ articles on this site alone, and these comments are not dominating (or aren’t present on) those other articles.

      2. “the language used is definitely unusual”

        i still fail to see why. the driver does not change the engine mode without permisssion, and after it has been changed by the driver, the engies confirm that it has been changed. So the team changed it, and the team members call the team ‘we’. Peculiarity zero.

        1. Good and true explanation

    3. hahostolze
      You’re the last one who should be commenting on the “totally absurd and unprecedented ideas being thrown around like facts” thing.

      Really, hahhahhahaah, the audacity to make this remark with your comment history, in which ‘history’ refers to up and until just yesterday.

  12. It is an interesting oddity that Verstappen twice said “ Do you want to turn the engine down. I don’t mind”. Then later told by his engineer, “ We’ve turned the engine down”.

    Perhaps the radio transcripts will clarify as we don’t get all transmissions during the race.

    But it is just a radio oddity, nothing more.

  13. Red Bull have more power unit failures than other Renault runners and it seems their packaging and placing of parts has something to do with it. Too tight and heat build up can do immense damage. Red Bull were also using older parts such as turbos (that Renault warned were unreliable despite Renault offering newer more reliable units) for packaging reasons. Red Bull also used the “c” engine while Renault did not as they were openly unsure of the reliability.

    So I think we have both sides in this farrago of failures must carry some responsibility.

    1. Rubbish… check the used engine components statistics.
      Both Ricciardo and Hulkenberg used a similar amount of parts, the other 4 drivers are near better off and near equal to each other. Car’s do not stop in races alone… they also fail in Fp…people seem to forget that quite easily.

    2. And they used the B spec engine the c spec wouldn’t survive on high altitudes.

  14. Great job by Max. Interesting tyre strategies there. Ricciardo’s and Alonso’s luck, though.

  15. Congratulations to Lewis, great job this year. I have said before I am not his biggest fan and can find his comments fake sometimes, but his driving this year was excellent. To equal Fangio is amazing.

    Nice drive for Max, finding great form.

    For Daniel this is getting a bit stupid- is he driving Martin Brundle’s mid 1980’s Zakspeed? I have no doubt Dr Darth Marko wants Max to win, but Red Bull dont spend that money to sabbortage a car, if they want Max to win they will mess up strategy like Ferrari do with Kimi.

    I didn’t like Dan saying he will give Gaslly the car, it is unprofessional and not like him. He needs to drive it like he stole it these last races👊🏎🏋️‍♂️

    1. Dan has acted unprofessional for 6months now. Hes really sour.

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