Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

Hamilton hangs on for Mexico win as Mercedes deny Ferrari again

2019 Mexican Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton used a strategic gamble to claim his second Mexican Grand Prix victory.

The Mercedes driver’s race got off to a difficult start as he clashed with 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.

Hamilton’s 10th victory of the year was not quite enough to seal his sixth world championship victory. 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

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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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85 comments on “Hamilton hangs on for Mexico win as Mercedes deny Ferrari again”

  1. Kvyat apparently has already got a penalty as he’s got 11th with Gasly P9 and Hulk P10.

  2. Qualifying performances? Really? This Mercedes has been the class of the field in the races this year. I am a fan of Verstappen, but he has to calm himself down if he wants to win championships in the future. Just like his lap in Singapore in 2018, this was a champions drive.

    1. yeah, Verstappen is always involved in some incidents, and it seems to come from his lack of patience. The move on Bottas was nice, but not smart, as even without the puncture he would have been passed by Bottas with DRS on the straight.

    2. I didn’t really get how Verstappen didn’t get a Penalty.
      As far as i saw he crashed into two people while overtaking and completely left the track to complete the move on Magnussen. Did i overlook something there..?

      1. Ha wasnt to blame for the crashes and Magnussen ran him off track.

        1. @rethla, I don’t think it was so much a case of Magnussen running Verstappen off the track as Magnussen running wide due to Verstappen whacking the rear of his car on the previous corner.

          1. Yeh but that seems like a string of fully acceptable raceincidents, if you ask me that was the most interesting that happened in this race and i bet both the drivers enjoyed it.

          2. I doubt Magnussen enjoys getting used as a brake pad much more than valterri enjoys people driving over his front wing after divebombing him…

  3. It’s easy to look like a great strategist when the car is much better in Race Trim than the others.
    Ferrari try what was possible, even tried two different strategies for both drivers, neither of them was enough to beat an Hamilton that was behind Albon during significant part of the first stint.

    It’s pretty clear that Ferrari is faster than Mercedes in Qualifying, but still slower in race pace.
    Some things make it pretty clear:
    – With much fresher tyres, Vettel was unable to close on Hamilton even when tyre degradation of the mercedes was worse.
    – Bottas, the worst driver of the top-5 was perfectly able to follow Vettel relatively close in the last part of the race.
    – And all this in a circuit that didn’t suit Mercedes.

    Even with the grid reversal I’m pretty sure Hamilton would win most of the races.

    1. Verstappen would have won if he didnt disregard the yellow flags.

      1. Coulda, woulda, shoulda – don’t work in F1. Sorry

        1. @dallein
          It works fantastic, if you can think.

          1. Vertappen would have won – but didn’t.
            Something could have happened (real Safety Car for example) – also didn’t.
            Something should have happened (Hards should have dropped off sooner) – didn’t.


            ?

          2. @dallein
            Hamilton and Verstappen made the difference and not the Mercedes cars superior race pace. Do you have anything to add to this conversation or do you just like trolling?

          3. What??? It works great if you can “think”? Yes…let’s let the F1 season play out in your head. Bet I know who will win 😀

          4. @deanr
            Well im glad you think you do. Im having a hard time seing anyone else than Hamilton winning with The Ferrari on track team being disfunctional and The RB Honda not up to full speed yet. Would be asweome if Magnussen won however ;)

      2. @rethla, then maybe it might teach him that, next time there is a yellow flag on track, he should obey the rules and slow down so he doesn’t earn himself an entirely avoidable penalty.

        1. I doubt he will learn

      3. Mercedes was much faster in relative race trim than qualifying, Verstappen could have beaten them or not.
        But more important than starting P4 was the contact he did with both Mercedes, which in my opinion he was not the one at fault.

        1. @jccjcc

          which in my opinion he was not the one at fault.

          Ha. The lap 1 incident was a racing incident- “just hard racing” as Max likes to call it. So you’re right
          Max wasn’t at fault neither was Hamilton. Hence the stewards not even investigating it (not that they
          are worth their salt these days anyway).

          Contact with Bottas- it was a very optimistic and would have required Bottas to jump out of the way
          which he was not obliged to do. Max and his fans need to understand that if Max makes a reckless lunge other drivers have no obligation to be accommodating. Actually in fairness Bottas tried to give him room but if you must apportion blame it’s squarely at Verstappen for failing to pull a clean move.

          1. Why does we have always to be labeled as a fan of this or that driver?
            I already watched F1 before most of the field was even born, I’m not a fan of any driver. I like good racing and I don’t like boring races or championships.

    2. Leclerc would have won this race had Ferrari not pitted the leading car first again. It made no sense at the time and tbh I still can’t see why they did it. Leclerc was doing absolutely fine laptimes compared to the Mercedes. Sure it’s easy to say Hamilton has the fastest car and all that, but Ferrari had fast enough race pace to win also and they threw it in the bin once again.

      1. Leclerc had higher degradation and this is why he couldn’t keep up with the leaders at the closing stages. One stop wouldn’t have worked for him.

        1. Really? Verstappen did most of the race on one set and I would hardly call some of his driving today as tyre preserving. I don’t buy it.

          1. Not all drivers take care of the tires the same, Charles said few month ago during Hungary that Seb was better taking care of the tires

        2. It was more the lock-up into T4 that cost Leclerc, not degredation in general.
          After that he didn’t make up any time on Bottas.
          But he wouldn’t have passed him anyway, as the speed difference was too little to get him ahead.

      2. Apologies, I forgot about covering Albon, but then why put on a second set of mediums? It still makes no sense. At least stick the hards on then just in case they would last. Anyways.

        1. I thought so too.
          Putting on Hards would have been the best choice, but noone knew how long the tyres would last. So they just covered off Albon.
          Mediums and Hards lasted a whole lot longer than Pirelli predicted, which meant that the 1-stop was coming into play.

          1. Pirelli predicted the hards would do 50 laps. There’s always some leeway there. It was always a one-stop, despite the ridiculous attempt by Sky commentators to drum up some drama.

            Ferrari just got it completely wrong when they pitted Leclerc. Red Bull were gambling with Albon, and it would have been bizarre if Ferrari had covered the move by pitting Vettel, let alone the race leader.

            My guess would be that Leclerc complained about the tyres, and Ferrari brought him in when they needed to tell him to drive through the graining.

      3. I feel Ferrari sacrificed Leclerc in order to get tyre information for their cars degradation at that time and I guess free Vettel? Anyone can see that taking a look when they changed the tyres plus the lap times up until he even got in the pits. he had minimal degradation in that first stint.

        1. *until the pit stop

    3. But at reversed grid format, the blue flag rules should be reevaluated, because what’s the point to stir it up if the blue flag rules are strict? Then anyone would have the right to defend harder, i dont think winning form the last row would be so possible. Actually pulling that off is a very rare feat in F1’s history.

      1. Ok it was a bit silly comment, because blue flags are primarily used to help lapping slow cars.
        But i think it’s very different, if you have to go through slow opponents at first, compared to having comparable opponents ahead at the start.

  4. Super race!

    Podium with the car? Amazing!
    Though they definitely “prepared” this for crowning of Lewis… which is postponed a bit!

    1. 2 negatives:
      1) Lewis’ haircut is getting stranger and stranger
      2) Who was that “secret” driver in black suit on Podium, who was definitely not needed there?

      1. @dallein

        “2 negatives:
        1) Lewis’ haircut is getting stranger and stranger”

        People of a certain ethnicity may favor certain hairstyles not favored by other people.

        The world would be so much better when people can accept this notion rather than seeing it as something ‘negative’ or ‘strange’.

        Plus I really don’t know what discussing Hamilton’s hairstyle or anything else about his personal appearance has to do in an F1 discussion forum. But then I guess sometime down the road you will deny ever making any reference to this.

      2. Black people’s hairstyles are not a ‘negative’! Would you like to rephrase your comment?

        1. @stubbornswiss @blackmamba

          Lewis had a hair transplant years ago. It seems it doesn’t wear well under his helmet and is renewed several times. He had a thick flat top 2 years ago. Now extensions.

    2. @dallein

      That was so funny. The car, Hamilton on it, Vettel batting confetti out of his face. That was just goofy.

      And let’s cut him some slack with is hair. Maybe soon he’ll be ready to give up, shave it, and go bald and proud.

    3. I wonder how that introduction would have looked like with another driver because that totally fits Hamilton’s personality. I was about to not want the car being shown because it had damage from the contact with Max, but just almost invisibly. Imagine this with a car that was damage. Even though you do not expect a damaged car to win a race.

      1. @krichelle Indeed, it would have been wasted on Kimi.

  5. Mercedes is still the better car in the race and that is what counts most of the time. Vettel couldn’t close the gap with much fresher tires. Brilliant race by Albon and Verstappen today as well as from Ricciardo.

    1. @panagiotism-papatheodorou Verstappen… brilliant? He ruined his own race through impatience… Again.

      1. …but but, driver of the race as voted by the fans!!!!!

        1. Which goes to show how useless the Driver of the Day award is.

          Personally I’d like to see it dumped.

      2. @losd

        Glad he did though. Verstappen is the best thing in F1 right now. Both his pros and cons are worth tuning in for. The next Schumacher without doubt.

    2. @panagiotism-papatheodorou, how can you say that finishing nearly a lap down on the leaders (he was nearly 69 seconds behind by the end) due to self inflicted damage was a “brilliant race” by Verstappen?

      With the pace advantage that the top three teams have, getting back into the top six hasn’t really been that challenging for most of those drivers now. If anything, I’d say that Verstappen’s race was a bit poor as I feel that he’s probably finished in a lower position than he was capable of.

  6. How can anyone vote Max Driver of the day after performance like that today. So erratic. He wants to win races at the first corner. If he was the best driver of the first half of the season, for the second half of the season he is not even in the Top 5.

    1. They probably just like all the overtaking he did.

    2. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      27th October 2019, 21:47

      Max fans… there are many, and will vote blindly…

    3. GtisBetter (@)
      27th October 2019, 21:56

      I would argue that the first lap incident with Lewis was just a typical first lap incident. Two cars go in and both have equal claim at their respective positions, but only one really fits.

  7. I think the tyres degraded to a point fairly quickly but then stabilised and stayed the same basically until the end. And it just depended on how much they degraded before that point, which could’ve been a huge amount (eg Sainz) or not too much (eg Ricciardo/Verstappen), and therefore by the end of the race, everyone was dealing with the same thing.

  8. Smart strategy from Mercedes given they had the faster race pace. Hamilton pushed out wide by Vettel and out wide by Verstappen at the start but keeping his nerve (and place) was also crucial. Albion looking the reliable RBR driver again. I don’t get the Max celebration for this race. He threw away poll and then was over-aggressive at the start, sending him further down field. Should have been a Red Bull win today.

    1. @david-br

      It’s like he knows something we don’t. Every bad race he has through his own fault and the excellent recovery that often follows, is probably more valuable than leading from the front.

      1. (more valuable when he has no chance of the title. He’s in the 5th/6th best cars)

  9. Great win by Hamilton/Merc good drive by Bottas to get third. Again Ferrari fell short in the tactical department. They had the lead and the pace to keep them there but they just let it go. Albon saved face for RB after Verstappens mistakes killed his chances.
    Ricciardo and Hulk both had good speed but no doubt again looking at what could have been had they not had issues in practice that ruined their qualifying.

  10. I am honestly not sure how Hamilton and Mercedes won that one (great tire preservation by Hamilton) but I know Ferrari did something wrong again somewhere cos they started really well.

  11. In Canada Vettel was penalised for rejoining the track in a dangerous manner, with the backbone of the FIA case being the video of his hands on the steering wheel turning away from the direction the road went in.
    Today Lewis rejoined the track from the grass and forced other cars to avoid him, with the onboard footage showing him steering left when he should have been steering right. Penalty for the same offense …nothing.

    Double standards again …

    1. No it isnt double standards. They dont like dishing out penalties for first lap incidents

    2. Max didnt exactly rejoin safely either.

    3. Yet he did leave a cars width for a car to pass him still unlike Vettel.

      1. Exactly, slowmo!

    4. @dale Seems an appropriate time to quote the Nate Saunders tweet that was only just posted in last night’s RaceFans round-up:

      One thing is certain in F1: Any incident, involving any driver or any car, at any circuit in any year, will prompt a bunch of people to scream WELL WHAT ABOUT LEWIS regardless of the facts surrounding it.

      1. It’s funny ’cause it’s accurate

  12. Great drive …by Kubica!

    Not sure what happened in the last few laps but he had the measure of Russell for the majority of the race and looked really racey.

  13. Incidentally worth noting that Mercedes were smart with the undercut but Vettel decided to stay out when he had a reasonable chance of pitting the next lap, as his team had called, and staying ahead. So when he questioned Ferrari strategy, it was actually his.

    That said, Vettel has reasserted himself as the ‘top’ driver at Ferrari and it seems to have had an effect on Leclerc’s performance, with the latter making a Bottas-style mistake while closing in on the front 3 on fresh tyres. He never recovered. But it’s odd that Vettel’s return has coincided with Ferrari throwing away 3 races they should have won…

    1. @david-br I feel like Leclerc was pushing it to the limit but there just wasnt anything more to give. Yes he overdrove a bit but since the alternative would be to sit idle and finish at the same position anyway i dont fault him for it.

      1. @rethla I don’t really fault him either. It was bad strategy maybe to pit him early, but there’s a deeper line going on at Ferrari in this battle for supremacy between the two drivers. I’m not sure what’s happened, I’m just pointing out that Leclerc’s dominance since Spa coincided with Ferrari winning (the exception being Singapore where Vettel basically got given the race with the undercut) while Vettel’s return to being ahead in qualifying and the races has seen Ferrari actually mess 3 races up. It’s all a bit strange but fascinating in terms of next year.

    2. @david-br, I wouldn’t totally agree with the assertion that it has “coincided with Ferrari throwing away 3 races”. I’d agree that Russia was strategically poor, but Japan wasn’t really – that was a case of both drivers failing to deliver, rather than the team itself.

      In Mexico, though, I would say that Ferrari were kind of boxed in on their options and, to my mind, didn’t actually do too much wrong there. Before the race, everybody was talking about needing at least a two stop strategy, maybe even three stops, and most expected the higher track temperatures to make it more challenging to keep the tyres in shape.

      Now, you had Red Bull go for an aggressive early stop with Albon to put them under pressure with a two stop strategy aimed at undercutting Albon ahead of them. Ferrari have tended to struggle a bit more with tyre wear in race trim than Red Bull, so pitting earlier would be a bigger risk, and with the expected hit in tyre performance, normally the instinct is to pull the drivers in to react to that given Albon was only a few seconds behind.

      In that sense, it feels as if Ferrari felt they had to try and cover off Albon, whilst at the same time leaving another driver out to try and cover off Mercedes. When Hamilton pitted, whilst his first lap out of the pits was quick, he soon backed right off that pace to a pace that was only marginally faster than Vettel’s pace.

      I can see why Ferrari did what they did there – given they were less confident they could pit early, their best bet was to run the opposite strategy and to run longer with Vettel to offset the tyre life, which was one of their few options to tip things back their way. Maybe, in retrospect, they were overly conservative there, but they went for a split strategy option to cover both options and worked them OK – in the end, it seems that quite a few drivers were caught out by how competitive the hard tyres were.

      1. “Before the race, everybody was talking about needing at least a two stop strategy, maybe even three stops”

        Why, it’s almost like the pundits will say anything to drum up some interest, isn’t it?

        Pirelli told us the hard tyre would do 50 laps – and that’s always an estimate which can be exceeded with careful driving. There was no chance the race winner would pit twice. Red Bull had a reason to gamble, but Ferrari didn’t.

        In cricket, there’s usually a moderate advantage in batting first. There’s a saying along the lines of “win the coin toss, choose to bat – unless the conditions are incredibly favourable for bowling, in which case think about bowling… And then bat first anyway.”

        It seems something similar applies to F1. Plan on a one-stop strategy, unless conditions are incredibly favourable for a two-stop, in which case think about stopping twice… And then stop once.

  14. Ferrari throwing away races will never get old.

    Well, for Leclec it might. But he’s young, he’ll find his way to a championship winning team eventually.

    1. @casjo

      Even so, their car still isn’t as good as the BBC and Hamilton fans want you to believe. They’re not a team you’d bet more than 10 bucks on.

  15. Once again Ferrari strategists fell into Hamilton’s mind game.

    1. As Vettel said ‘If you are a woman and you have this guy give you a massage like he’s treating his tyres; it’s pure magic.’ :)

      1. Haha I loved that moment with seb and ham. That was pure magic. More of the drivers being real, respectful and complinentary please.

  16. Does anyone know what the virtual safety car was for? I never saw any replay showing why.

  17. I have an opinion
    28th October 2019, 7:48

    Roses are cheap,
    Violets are free.
    Ferrari is fastest,
    Mercedes one-three.

    1. Ahah, good one, and exactly true, and I hate mercedes!

  18. It’s simply Ferrari trying to assert Vettel as their lead driver. And they in the process they have throw away three race victories. I simply can’t see it any other way.

    Also, it’s the only reason why Vettel didn’t even try to overtake Lewis in much much fresher tyres. He preferred more to stay at 2nd than the small possibility of degrading his tyre enough for Leclerc to overtake him.

    Ferrari drivers are not fighting for the win more than they fight for the supremacy within the team. And in this fight, Ferrari always favours one driver, the slower one.

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