Start, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021

Verstappen beats Hamilton to Mexico City Grand Prix win after storming start

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix summary

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Max Verstappen won the Mexico City Grand Prix to extend his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton after storming past his rival at the start.

Verstappen’s victory never looked in doubt as he was able to pull comfortably clear of Hamilton over the 71 laps of the race. Sergio Perez finished third after he was unable to pass Hamilton despite a late charge.

At the start, the two Mercedes ran side-by-side down the long main straight, before Verstappen pulled alongside the pair of them to make it three-abreast on the run to the first corner. Verstappen swept around the outside of both to take the lead, but Valtteri Bottas was sent spinning after he was clipped by Daniel Ricciardo, costing him his front wing.

As the field behind tried to avoid the stricken Bottas, Esteban Ocon was caught in the middle between Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher, clipping the pair of them and causing terminal damage to both cars. The Safety Car was deployed in order for Tsunoda and Schumacher’s cars to be recovered, the AlphaTauri stranded at the apex of turn two.

At the restart, Verstappen was able to sprint out of the stadium section in the final sector and pull clear of Hamilton down the long main straight. The Red Bull driver began to steadily pull away from Hamilton, who struggled with overheating on his medium tyres.

As Perez began to slowly close on the Mercedes, Hamilton was called into the pits at the end of lap 29 to protect him from Red Bull attempting an early pit stop to jump his pursuer ahead. Verstappen was brought in shortly after, rejoining comfortably ahead of his rival, as Perez inherited the lead until his stop on lap 40, handing first place back to Verstappen.

Perez began to push to close the 10-second gap to Hamilton in second using the advantage of tyres that were 12 laps younger than the Mercedes. With 10 laps remaining, Perez was within a second of Hamilton, but unable to get close enough to attempt a move.

Verstappen comfortably checked off the remaining laps and took the chequered flag to extend his championship lead to 19 points. Despite Perez’s best efforts, Hamilton was able to successfully keep the Red Bull at bay over the final laps and hold onto second place.

Valtteri Bottas pitted late to move onto soft tyres and ensure that the bonus point for fastest lap would not be awarded to Red Bull.

Pierre Gasly finished a distant fourth for AlphaTauri, ahead of the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr. Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris rounded out the points paying positions.

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix reaction

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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11 comments on “Verstappen beats Hamilton to Mexico City Grand Prix win after storming start”

  1. The championship has been over since the last race at Austin. This is what was feared, that Redbull will take a big step as Mercedes stopped development way too early and will run away with the championship in the last quarter of the season. Redbull had few setup glitches and been unlucky in some races in the middle part of the season but as soon as they got on top of their issues they are showing that they definitely have the fastest and most adaptable car this season.
    Good Job Redbull and Max.

    1. @amg44 Admittedly, I share your view. In a way, the gap at 19 pts is good, given how much more it would be if not for certain considerable points losses earlier in the season.

    2. Almost… the championship could be over if Max wins again in Brazil (sprint & race) – he would be 26-28 pts ahead of HAM and could do a Rosberg 2016 and finish 2nd in the last 3 races.

      But 19 pts with 4 races to go? 1 DNF from Max (remember Baku) and HAM can retake the championship lead with 3 races to go…

      1. I think the sweet spot for Max would be 33-point lead ahead of the three Middle East races (third in each race would suffice, incl. FL). If that were to happen, I would say Max has one hand on the trophy. But as it stands, I don’t think so. On the whole, the Mercedes has looked like the better car since the summer break and I expect them to do well in the final three races. And Lewis is certainly not going to give up before it’s over. Brazil could favor RB but it could also be quite unpredictable, especially if the weather plays up. Plus, it features a sprint race which means that we are statistically guaranteed to have a collision between the title rivals in the main race, right? ;) Let’s hope not.

  2. I think the drivers championship is definitely over. Constructors can still go either way. I think it’s congratulations to Verstappen for the 2021 world championship and a new driver to win the world championship. Hamilton I think, has already started to decline and is no longer performing at his best. I am sure the Mercedes car is actually faster than it is at the moment, but Hamilton is not extracting the maximum of it. Neither is Bottas I would say. I guess good things always come to an end.

    1. Uhm, I think Lewis (at least) extracts more than Bottas but let’s see next season
      Personally I think it ain’t over until the fat lady sings (for both championships)

  3. Even though Max had a significant pace advantage, clearing both Mercedes at the start was very important today. And he got lucky with Bottas being spun out, too. This could have turned out differently if the Mercs had stayed infront initially and retained strategic options.

    1. Nah Max didn’t get lucky with Bottas spinning, he was getting ahead either way. Bottas is too timid

      1. And Max was too fast at AHR (his fav track), so no one was getting anywhere near him.

      2. Bottas was always going to be a sitting duck starting P1, but it could have been Hamilton leading into turn one. I’m not so sure, Max would have been able to overtake Lewis on track, as Perez never even came close yet having a clear tire advantage. So Red Bull would have been forced to risk the undercut, and thats where Bottas would have been valuable.

        But whatever. Today was a strong display of Red Bulls pace, and it seems like we need a DNF to ignite the championship fight again.

  4. Perfect start for Max and perfect late out braking Bottas.This was key for a dominant race by RB. Lewis keeps 2nd place proves they both are at a different level compared to their teammates. WDC still anything can happen. Bottas takes away the fastest lap from Max I gues the engine strategy works out pretty well for MB.

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