Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

2019 Mexican Grand Prix Star Performers

2019 Mexican Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Mexican Grand Prix weekend. Here’s why.

Stars

Sergio Perez

At his home race, Perez left his team mate behind in qualifying as usual, and benefited from free choice of tyres to start the race after qualifying 11th. He cracked into the top ten thanks to Verstappen’s puncture on lap three and an overtake on Gasly on lap five. He squeezed 51 laps out of the hard tyres to make them last to the end of the race and even managed to hold off Ricciardo’s divebomb on lap 61. The Racing Point driver finished best of the rest.

Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo was frustrated after qualifying 13th on Saturday, but he turned this frustration into speed on Sunday as he picked his way through the field. His impressive first stint of 50 laps on the hard tyre allowed him to jump several drivers, and he came out of the pits in eighth position. He finished there after trying everything to get by Perez, including a late-braking move into turn one where he locked up and ran wide through the grass of the first chicane.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton was unable to wrap up the driver’s title in Mexico, but he did everything he could by making his set of hard tyres last to the end of the race. Hamilton was fifth by the end of lap one, following contact with Verstappen that caused him to run wide at the exit of turn two. Undercutting Sebastian Vettel and holding him off towards the end of the race on 14 lap older tyres was the key to Hamilton’s victory.

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Strugglers

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019
It was a weekend to forget for Grosjean
Grosjean was out-qualified by nearly two tenths in qualifying and struggled to get to grips with the car after spinning in Q1 and making two big balance changes. In the race, his pace was dreadful. He fell behind both Williams at one point, and he would have stayed there if Kubica hadn’t picked up a puncture. Haas’ car was uncompetitive this weekend, but Grosjean didn’t extract nearly as much out of the car as Magnussen who finished 50.3 seconds in front.

Lance Stroll

Stroll was significantly off the pace of his teammate on Saturday, qualifying six-tenths slower than Perez in Q1, and he failed to advance to Q2. He gained two positions on the first lap, but struggled to make on-track overtakes, and he wasn’t able to use strategy to get ahead of those in front. He finished in 12th, 38.6 seconds adrift of Perez.

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And the rest

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019
Verstappen: Careless on Saturday, unlucky on Sunday
Max Verstappen and Red Bull were the favourites heading into the weekend until Verstappen received a three-place grid penalty for not seeing the yellow flags in Q3 that stripped his pole from him. His luck didn’t improve as made contact with Hamilton through turns one and two, and suffered a puncture as he overtook Bottas. He showed great pace for the rest of the race, but was unable to come back and beat his teammate, Alex Albon, who finished fifth after an early pit stop from third place took him out of the race on the two-stop strategy.

Ferrari inherited a front row lockout thanks to Verstappen’s penalty, and they were able to maintain their lead through the first stint of the race. Strategy proved to be the Scuderia’s downfall once again as Leclerc pitted early, dropping him from first to fourth in order to cover off Albon’s early stop. With Vettel they failed to estimate how long the hard tyres would last and they lacked the pace to fight for the lead.

Bottas was quicker than Hamilton in practice two and three, but suffered a scary crash during his final run in Q3. He evaded any part replacement related grid drop and started sixth. He lost a position on the opening lap, but later he tried to pass Vettel for second at the end of the race but failed to do so.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019
More problems in the pits at McLaren
Kvyat was the better of the two Toro Rosso drivers until he made a clumsy overtaking attempt on Hulkenberg on the final lap of the race and subsequently received a deserved ten-second time penalty. This promoted Gasly to ninth and Hulkenberg back into the points.

Both McLarens made great starts, as has become typical for the Woking based outfit, but the first pit stops ruined both driver’s races. Lando Norris’ front left tyre was cross threaded and he had to be wheeled back to the McLaren pit box. He later retired from the race. Sainz couldn’t get his set of hard tyres to work and plummeted down the order, eventually finishing 13th.

The Williams drivers battled throughout the race and on lap 24 Kubica took advantage of Russell locking up and running wide on fresh cold tyres. Later a puncture forced Kubica into the pits and out of his fight with Russell. Magnussen and Giovinazzi were not too far ahead, but both cars were fairly uncompetitive at this one-off track

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

2019 Mexican Grand Prix

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Author information

Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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22 comments on “2019 Mexican Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Stars: HAM, PER, RIC.
    Strugglers: VET, BOT, LEC, ALB, SAI, HUL.

    1. @jerejj How is Hulk a struggler? He couldn’t manage his hards as well as Ricciardo, but still drove a composed race before being punted out by Kvyat. He outqualified Daniel as well.

      1. @neutronstar Precisely because he couldn’t manage the hard as well as his teammate, and maximize opportunities to the same extent as him. As for Albon and Vettel: The former because after a strong-start, his pace faded a bit, albeit the two-stop strategy didn’t help matters and the other ones also for not maximizing chances to as great of an extent as they could have.

        1. @jerejj but by that logic, there should be 10 strugglers in your list because every team will have one driver who performs worse than the other. Only the drivers that had a bad weekend should be considered as strugglers imo.

          1. @neutronstar I only tend to choose a selected number of drivers, and the ones whose struggling might’ve been less obvious as well as to keep the list short, but I also see your point and agree with it.

    2. @jerejj Also, Mexico was one of Albon’s most convincing performances (race performance, at least) after joining Red Bull, imo…

    3. @jerejjn Nevermind…you have Vettel in your list as well…Just out of curiosity, how do you define “struggler”?

    4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th October 2019, 9:25

      The list of strugglers is a bit puzzling. Vettel was pretty good all weekend. Bottas had the speed in qualifying but made a mistake, but his pace on race day was excellent. He recovered well and was not far off Hamilton at all – look how close he finished to him and a faster Ferrari. He beat Leclerc and Albon too. Both Hamilton and Bottas were very strong that race, but yes, Hamilton more so.

      Verstappen should be one of the strugglers really.

  2. I struggle with weekend Stars who cannot even best their teammate on Saturday.
    Just give them a mention for a good Sunday outing.

  3. isn’t Max a bit of a Struggler? should probably have won the race but screwed it up completely by himself on several occaisons..?
    but thanks, the Less said about Alfa, the better

    1. Maybe there should be a third group here called ‘Curious Cases’ with Max in it, @mrboerns.
      He was worse than a Struggler as he sped through a yellow zone on Saturday.
      But at the same time he set the best time (twice) and record on Saturday, and was better than each of the Stars if you read the above accolade descriptions:
      better than ‘He squeezed 51 laps out of the hard tyres to make them last to the end of the race’,
      better than ‘His impressive () stint of 50 laps on the hard tyre allowed him to jump several drivers’,
      and better than ‘he did everything he could by making his set of hard tyres last to the end of the race.’.

    2. @mrboerns, @neutronstar

      I had to eventually conclude Verstappen and Albon were both strugglers. Verstappen proved the RB was good enough for pole, and his race pace proved the RB was good enough to win.

      Yet he and Albon finished 5th and 6th, worst of the best. So it would appear the Red Bull drivers were both beaten by 4 drivers, in equivalent cars, on merit.

      It feels harsh to Albon because RB gave him a lousy strategy. But the car was good enough for pole and he was on the 3rd row. Plus his promotion to 3rd was allowed by Verstappen and Hamilton’s collision, not by his start.

  4. @coldfly I’d say that the star/struggler status comes greatly from the end result achieved. So, while Hamilton had a less than average saturday, he got the most of sunday afternoon. Max had a good saturday… until he shot himself in the foot by, not only speeding under yellow flags, but boasting about it on the interviews. On race day he tangled with Hamilton on the start (race incident IMHO), he got himself a puncture with an excessively optimist move on Bottas and hit (and subsequently went offtrack to overtake) Magnussen. I’d say he was closer to a struggler.

    @mrboerns
    the Less said about Alfa, the better

    Was that a The Walking Dead reference? :)

  5. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    30th October 2019, 9:39

    I agree with the star performers here and wouldn’t add any more.

    Strugglers, i really think Verstappen should be added. I don’t know how Verstappen can be considered unlucky. The decision to overtake bottas where he did rather than wait and do it somewhere easier would have been a sensible thing to do. He constantly seems to want to get back up there and he just ruined his race. Including what happened in qualifying, I would certainly consider him a struggler. Maybe replace Grosjean with him.

    I think Hass were terrible this weekend. Enough for Williams to actually have some hope for beating them from what they said. This to me explains why i don’t think it was that surprising that he comfortably got beaten by one, if not both if not for Kubica’s problem. I think Magnussen was very solid this weekend for the cars ability. It seems that grosjean’s bad performances get criticized more so than Magnussen. Even whan Hass were pretty competitive in austria (compared to here anyway) Grosjean finished an unimpressive 16th. Magnussen had a false start and finished over a minute behind plus a long way behind one of the Williams. And this was not considered a bad enough drive for him to be a struggler.

    As I said, williams seemed partly hopeful at the start of the weekend that they may be able to beat one or both of the Hass drivers this weekend, and they were right. I don’t think it was down to Grosjean being that poor this weekend. Magnussen actually did pretty well to finish that far ahead of the williams. I thought Grosjean picked up damage at the start as well. I heard sky mention they thought something must be wrong. But I may be incorrect there.

    Anyhow, I just think Grosjean wasn’t all that bad given how awful hass was this weekend, for the ability of his car, Verstappen performed worse i’d say.

    1. about Verstappen I disagree with you.
      During quali… stupid mistake… punishment at it’s place
      I think the touching between VER and HAM is 50-50, VER most unlucky
      I think the overtake on BOT was nice, but unlucky with the puncture. I check the replay a few times, I think he really didn’t do such a stupid move there. You could argue that the move was stupid because BOT would have DRS on the next straight, and really close behind him.
      What I din’t like about VER was the move on Magnussen, how big the advantage was for the RBR over the Haas, he 1st touched the Haas and overtook him outside of the track, should’ve been a penalty.
      Summarizing, silly on Saturday, but on Sunday I would call it unlucky as well, though lucky escaping a penalty with Magnussen

      1. Nah sorry but crashing into three competitors with only one collision being race-ruining just isn’t ‘unlucky’

  6. Perez was the only star this weekend
    Ricciardo and Hamilton had mediocre qualifying but stellar races… Perez was stunning in both

    Strugglers: kinda agree with the article plus Ferrari strategists

    1. Hamilton qualified fourth, beating a faster Red Bull on a track where Mercedes was the 3rd fastest car. This means he qualified at least one place ahead of where he realistically should have been (before Verstappen@s penalty was applied).

      So how on earth was his qualifying “mediocre”?

      1. @kbdavies Excellent question. In my opinion he could have gotten Vettel.
        Mediocre might be a strong word… not up to his usual standards is better

        And when compared to Perez (as should when looking for best of the weekend) its not fair to put Hamilton (or anybody else) as a star.

      2. Hamilton was set to improve. Although some don’t think he did, i think he did lift off slightly. Both him and Bottas were on very fast laps and i think hamilton could have maybe beaten one of the ferraris . Even Bottas may have had a slim chance of this had he not messed up the last corner as his sector time was so close to hamiltons. Hamilton’s qualifying and race were both excellent.

  7. “It was a weekend to forget for Grosjean” What a shocker!!

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