Lewis Hamilton used a strategic gamble to claim his second Mexican Grand Prix victory.Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen. But he ran a long stint on hard tyres to grab the lead of the race and withstood pressure from Vettel to take his second win at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Vettel, who also ran a single-stop strategy, came home second, unable to get within striking distance of Hamilton in the closing laps despite having tyres that were 14 laps fresher. Ferrari, who initially expected Hamilton to pit again, told Vettel his rival would hit a tyre ‘cliff’ late in the race, but it never came.Valtteri Bottas’s third place finish ensured that.
Charles Leclerc, who led at the start, made an early pit stop for a second set of medium compound tyres. That locked him into a two-stop strategy and that call, plus a slow second stop, doomed him to finish off the podium.
Leclerc came in shortly after Red Bull pitted Alexander Albon from third place, also on a two-stop strategy. But he lost time behind Carlos Sainz Jnr when he rejoined the track, and his hopes of a podium finish vanished. He took fifth.
An unimpressed Max Verstappen was next home, over a minute behind, following clashes with both Mercedes drivers. He tangled with Hamilton on lap one and then lunged down the inside of Bottas at turn 12. It was a superb move, but the Mercedes made the slightest contact with the Red Bull, puncturing Verstappen’s tyre. He fell to the back of the field, and had to fight his way back to sixth place.
Home favourite Sergio Perez rose to finish seventh ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
The other Renault driver was involved in a bizarre incident on the final lap. Nico Hulkenberg was knocked into the turn 16 barrier by Daniil Kvyat on the final lap, and crossed the line with his rear wing missing.
Kvyat and team mate Pierre Gasly crossed the line in ninth and 10th, but a post-race time penalty dropped Kvyat to 11th place. That elevated Gasly to ninth and Hulkenberg to the final points position.
McLaren suffered a disastrous race. A pit stop error ended Lando Norris’s chance of scoring points, while Sainz finished out of the top 10 with a handling imbalance.
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2019 Mexican Grand Prix reaction
- Why Leclerc’s penalty decision took four hours longer than Kvyat’s
- Ferrari must start converting pole positions into wins – Binotto
- Mercedes: Lost ‘wouvre panel’ cost Hamilton seven seconds
- Horner defends Verstappen’s driving after Hamilton’s “torpedo” criticism
- Vettel not envious of Hamilton’s likely sixth title
- “Impossible” to pass Vettel at end of race – Bottas
- Kvyat criticises penalty, Masi says it ‘could not have been clearer’
- Ferrari backed Vettel’s “let him go” call on Hamilton
- Verstappen’s comments did not cause yellow flag penalty investigation – Masi
- Vettel unimpressed by ‘selfie guy and s***** trophies’
- Ricciardo’s tactics inspired Hamilton’s race-winning strategy
- No penalty for McLaren as stewards can’t tell if they performed an ‘unsafe release’
- Albon thought he had chance for first podium
- Hamilton on Verstappen clash: “Some drivers are smarter” than others
- Penalty for Hulkenberg clash costs Kvyat points finish
- Verstappen “annoyed” Hamilton did not get qualifying penalty