Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

Verstappen out-runs Hamilton in tyre management battle for record 14th win

2022 Mexican Grand Prix summary

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Max Verstappen won the Mexican Grand Prix from pole position after beating Lewis Hamilton with a long second stint on medium tyres to set a new record of 14 wins in a single season.

Mercedes gambled on hard tyres to try chase down Verstappen, but the world champion managed his mediums after his solitary pit stop until the end of the race, winning by 15 seconds over Hamilton. Sergio Perez took another home podium in third.

Verstappen started from pole on soft tyres, with the two Mercedes of George Russell and Hamilton behind on mediums. When the lights went out, Verstappen got a decent start and led on the run to turn one. Russell tucked into the Red Bull’s slipstream and pulled to the outside into turn one, but Verstappen held onto the lead as Hamilton took advantage to take second from his team mate into turn three, before Perez passed Russell for fourth into turn four.

Verstappen led with his soft tyres, with Hamilton maintaining a gap of around 1.5 seconds to the leader in the opening laps. After 20 laps, Verstappen began to report that his tyres were degrading. However, it was his team mate Perez who was the first of the leaders to pit at the end of lap 23. A delay on the left-rear cost him valuable seconds and he rejoined in sixth on medium tyres.

Hamilton began catching the leader until Verstappen pitted at the end of lap 25, receiving new mediums and rejoining 20 seconds behind the two Mercedes. Hamilton pitted on the end of lap 29 for hard tyres and rejoined in third, 5.7 seconds behind Verstappen.

Russell inherited the lead from his team mate and asked his team to extend his first stint. Mercedes obliged him, but only until the end of lap 34, when they also brought him in for hard tyres, handing the lead back to Verstappen. With the advantage of faster tyres, Perez in third got to within two seconds of Hamilton in second, but could not get close enough to attempt a pass.

Daniel Ricciardo collided with Yuki Tsunoda at turn six as the pair battled over 11th place, the McLaren’s front left wheel clipping the rear right of the AlphaTauri and bouncing Tsunoda briefly into the air. Tsunoda’s car was damaged in the impact and he was forced into the pits to retire. After a quick investigation, Ricciardo was handed a ten second time penalty by the stewards.

Out in the lead, Verstappen was keeping his medium tyres in a healthy condition and did not drop off in lap time as Mercedes may have hoped he would. In the closing laps, Fernando Alonso pulled off at turn one reporting a power unit failure, which brought out a brief Virtual Safety Car. None of the leaders pitted, however, and the positions remained the same when the race resumed less than a lap later.

Verstappen ticked off the remaining laps of the race and took the chequered flag to win and set a new record for most wins in a single season. Hamilton finished second, 15 seconds behind, with Perez completing the podium in third place.

Russell finished fourth after pitting on the penultimate lap to chase the fastest lap, which he achieved, finishing ahead of the two Ferraris of Carlos Sainz Jnr and Charles Leclerc. Ricciardo crossed the line in seventh and after pulling a gap of more than ten seconds over Esteban Ocon behind, he kept the position after his ten second penalty was applied. Lando Norris and Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10.

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2022 Mexican 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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64 comments on “Verstappen out-runs Hamilton in tyre management battle for record 14th win”

  1. Terrible race. Totally underwhelming season.

    1. Great race. Just as exiting when MB dominated

      1. Good point but I think I will sit in the middle. Terrible race, just as exciting when MB dominated. Although there was some uncredited driver quality going on. Not just the tyre management but Max’ consistency which makes live for strategists so much easier. Strategy models work best with a predictably consistent driver. And before people start… Lewis can do that too yes

    2. I have zero excitement for next season. 2022 was supposed to be the big shake up which stopped events like this. It hasn’t worked. The gap is now set with RedBull domination for the next 2-3 years. It wouldn’t be as bad if they were able or allowed to race each other like Hamilton,Rosberg and Bottas. But that’ll never be allowed to happen.

      1. It’s not so much that they won’t allow it, but that Pérez usually can’t even finish second in this dominant car.

      2. Did we watch a different race where there wasn’t a significant gap between both Red Bull drivers?

        1. Especially as RB were on the faster tyre compared to Mercedes for the entire race. Mercedes got their strategy wrong before the race had even started. Had they gone for the same strategy as RB I think they would have won.

      3. Never allowed? Sorry, we have seen enough ‘Valtteri, it’s james….’ Please, don’t make things up. If perez tends to be faster, RB will drop Max asap.

        1. Except that won’t happen. Red Bull will make sure their golden-haired boy is always faster.

          1. It doesn’t take too much effort to make sure the fastest driver on the grid is faster than a midfield driver.

      4. Whomever thought 2022 was the big shake up to end that? It is very commonly known and proved many times in the past that every major regulation change always delivers one team to get it more right than the others. Give it a few years and the field will be closer, especially with the cap (and no an 0,37% overspend is not going to deliver you the world despite what some British Media would have you believed) and the cars being able to more closely follow each other. The disappointment on this site comes more form the fact it isn’t Lewis again that benefits but an non UK driver, which also historically has never gone down well.

        1. I agree. I think it was expected that one team would be heads and shoulders above the rest, and the competition would catchup within the next two seasons. The only thing I’m disappointed in is that Red Bull got such a lenient penalty for breaking the cost cap. They could have reduced their budget for 2023 in a similar way that they reduced their CFD and wind tunnel time.

          It would be a fairer penalty, and it would make the 2023 season more interesting, as it would give Mercedes and Ferrari a little room to out develop Red Bull. Could have been a win-win for both, setting a precedent to cheaters, as well as, ensuring the 2023 season is more competitive.

          1. The only thing I’m disappointed in is that Red Bull got such a lenient penalty for breaking the cost cap. They could have reduced their budget for 2023 in a similar way that they reduced their CFD and wind tunnel time.

            The problem with this, is that this would force Red Bull to just lay off more staff, which isn’t really something we should encourage. The fairest penalty in my opinion would have been for Red Bull to get a 10% reduction in wind tunnel and CFD time and be banned for 2023 pre-season testing, or at least 50% of it.

      5. Actually as i predicted Mercedes was the faster car here mean the concept is working ! Untill they can reduce the drag a bit but if they do Mercedes is back. Mercedes will do well also in Brasil only not so good as Mexico but they will there.

        To bad Mercedes selected the wrong tactic (Hard tyre) thinking that Red Bull would do stop twice.

        Race wise it was rather boring only the thing of Max would keep his tyres well as enjoyable. For the rest soso.

        1. @macleod the concept, enormous drag with a double pinch of bounce, was working in Mexico as drag is eliminated due to the altitude. Just a fluke for now.

    3. It was really boring today. It was like watching 2017-2020 again.

      1. And at this track in particular, if you remember, verstappen and red bull have always been strong, in 2017 they had the joint-best car and with vettel and hamilton picking up car damage, verstappen had no competition; in 2018 red bull was by far the best car here, in 2019 again it felt like it was the best car but there was that penalty + puncture, and 2021 again best car, similar result as today, where all hamilton could do was keep perez behind.

    4. The only bad thing about F1 is what a Mickey Mouse sport it has become with no true wet racing, an SC, VSC or RF no matter how far off the firing line a broken down car is or how quickly it could be taken off with a local yellow, meatball flags for the tiniest bit of lose bodywork and so on. The cars are safer than ever yet the race directors (one would assume at the behest of the FIA) basically operate under the premise there can be zero safety risks.

      1. Indeed, it’s a damn shame, I miss the 90s wet racing. And the SC as soon as someone sneezes is also not great in some circumstances.

    5. Big thing is that it turns out following is still not great, perez said that on the interview. Make wings smaller, fia, f1, anyone.

  2. The % record is still doable with 2 more wins

    1. Or not really. 16/22 (0,727) would barely beat Schuey’s 13/18 (0.722) record from 2004. But Alberto Ascari’s 6/8 (0.75) of 1952 remains untouchable

  3. And seriously, what happened with the Scuderia? Early in the season, they clearly seemed to have the best car. Then came the strategy screwups anda few driving mistakes. Now they just they don’t have the pace anymore.

    1. They never had the best car. Pole positions mean squat, points are awarded on Sunday. Only a reliability issue and Verstappen’s inability to choose a different approach allowed LeClerc to win in Bahrain. The only two exceptions were Australia and Austria and that is pretty much it. Silverstone was a fluke. Red Bull was the better car in 80%+ races.

      1. @Fahlen: Max stated on the radio in Bahrain that he was losing too much time through the corners to try and overtake Leclerc in the 2nd DRS zone.

      2. Yeah, you’re not delusional at all.

    2. They had the best all around car for about for a number of races (not all) during the first third of the season. After that, in the hands of Max, they needed some luck and good strategy (which they never have) to be competitive.

      I don’t think this is disputable now that Checo is 2nd in the WDC and no one would rate him a top 10 driver.

      1. I would … Better than Lafiti, Albon, Magnussen, Schumacher, Tsunoda, Gasly, Zhou, Bottas, Sainz, Ocon, Stroll, Vettel (in his current version), Ricciardo. Definitely not better than Verstappen, Hamilton, Alonso, and Leclerc. Russell is potentially better but so far I haven’t seen much of him (and the gap between him and Hamilton is going wider and wider) and Norris is also great but his performances are not less impressive than those of Perez at Sauber/Force India(Racing Point).

        Hard to argue against that …

    3. I know they had the best car on occasion, but I’d say they got outdevelopped like often happens to ferrari, this is an area where merc and red bull have been superior since years.

    4. Cooling problem they had to reduce the engine mode which brings them behind the top but still way ahead.

    5. I don’t pretend to understand how the budget cap works, but could part of it be that once Ferrari realised they couldn’t win the WDC or WCC, they’ve shifted all focus onto next year’s car? If they got overtaken by Mercedes in the WCC, would that mean more wind tunnel time for them next year? In which case, even more reason just to go through the motions.

  4. It was hardly a battle. Many of the teams seemed clueless how the different compounds would fare, and consequently opted for silly strategies that did more to help their direct competitors than their own drivers. And as the F1TV commentary pointed out, some of these teams just straight up didn’t bother to try the compounds in the practise sessions.

    1. They did have to run the pirelli test tire in fp2.

  5. I gave up the last hour of daylight on a beautiful fall day for that.

    Mercedes borrowed some wigs and face paint from Ferrari today. Hamilton had the pace to keep with Verstappen one tire down. Why not let him try to race verstappen for the win on the mirroring offset instead of wishing for him to run out of tires on the tire that they just comfortably extended. Russell was calling for this I guess but he was too slow to make it work for the win.

    1. I still don’t understand why Russel did not get the strategy he asked for. He could have won the race although it was not likely but at least finish higher than 4th. Somehow I have the feeling that after what happened at the Dutch GP they did not want to give Russel an alternative startegy

      1. Thats what I thought. Or he would have at least held up Verstappen for a bit. RB do this trick time and again but its something that Mercedes don’t want to do for some reason.

  6. Did the mediums drop of yet?

    Mercedes was on the slower tyre all race, in the end lewis was about 0,2x sec x 71 laps behind Max so missed opportunity for Mercedes’.

  7. Falling stars today in Mexico

  8. 15 seconds is plenty, even disguised as 0.2 x 71. And Max was coasting most of the time. Would the mediums have fallen of the cliff if pushed harder? maybe, just maybe, but we’ll never know.

    1. was intended as a reply to @anunaki)

    2. Perez tyres went off in the last 5 laps but he was behind Lewis a long time.

      1. Should have been ahead but a bad pitstop ruined his chances

  9. Terrible race. What’s the point of hard tyres if the mediums seem to be just as hard?
    Top 6 from lap 1 until the end was exactly the same without a single clash, no matter the strategy used.

    Or they drop this rule of using 2 compounds or they widen the gaps between compounds. Every single race there’s a tyre that’s a no-no, this time it was the softs, so what’s the point? Use 2 vastly different tyres for the weekend. It may improve things a bit.

    1. What’s the point of hard tyres if the mediums seem to be just as hard?

      There is no point to these silly gimmicky tyre compounds. Especially when Pirelli has now proven for 10+ years that they can’t get it to work. It’s partly to their credit in a weird way, as making three different tyres that perform well for 40, 80, and 120 kilometers but not a millimeter more has to be the biggest possible waste of their engineers’ time and talent.

      At least back in the day the teams could pick whichever compound best suited their car and chosen strategy, and just run with that all the time. I think it was chosen and locked in after FP3, but I could be misremembering that. Either way it’s much better than Pirelli’s now decade long failed experiment to make three different compounds work.

  10. Why did MB not allow Russel to go for a long stint and then the softs? If RB can do a one stop with soft medium why not a gamble for the one stop medium soft for Russel? If it failed he would have finished 4th anyway.

    1. I think part of the reason is they would have no pressure on Perez who could then have gone full attack with the fallback option of a “free” 2nd stop. Although I thought they should have rolled the dice on the VSC as they’d get a free undercut on Perez so he couldn’t stop for the fastest lap attempt without giving up his place and Russell could have a faster tyre to try and chase a bit.

    2. Yep. Or start one of the Mercs on the same strategy as the RB’s. If you’re going to put both of your drivers on the same strategy it better be the right one and Mercedes wasn’t

  11. Mercedes was making Ferrari level strategy calls today. Hamilton was still putting in fast laps yet they decide to pull him. It’s like they weren’t looking at what was in front of their faces and were instead operating on a pre-determined plan with no allowance for conditions on the ground. It’d be easy to say oh it’s all hindsight, but most people in the moment were saying “this makes no sense.” So, that’s not hindsight.

    1. Agree, kinda disappointing by merc.

    2. The only chance they had once they had started with the mediums, when it was clear that one-stop was going to work for RBR, was to keep the medium for as long as possible and then go heck-for-leather with the softs. But seriously, I doubt that would have worked.

      1. Looking at the other teams who went from medium to soft they would made it working easy.

    3. I bet Red Bull wasn’t even going for a one stopper. But they did, and they do that all the time, adapt strategies on the fly, something Mercedes is completely uncapable of doing.

      With Max ahead with an 8 sec stable buffer, he could nurse the tyres as much as he needed. Something that would be more a bit more tricky with Mercedes holding on ahead with the mediums for 45-50 laps and charging back with the softs for the final laps.

      Probably would no work anyway, RBR is just a more mature and better package, but it could make for a less dull race.

    4. Mercedes decided to bring in Lewis because the gap to keep 2nd position was shrinking fast, and they didn’t believe in the soft tire, which was odd, since they’ve got a ca that works well with soft tires this year. They made an unforced error in doing the same for George.

  12. What happened to the new generation of F1 cars being closer and racing hard. Give me a break, this is as exciting as when Lewis was dominating. Nothing changes

    1. What happened to the new generation of F1 cars being closer and racing hard.

      The second they kept DRS it was pretty obvious that the real problems weren’t solved.

      Sure, they can follow a bit closer but that’s about it. The pace advantage required to overtake is still huge, and can only really come about in either of three situations: mixed conditions, big tyre compound/wear difference, and DRS.

    2. Tommy Scragend
      30th October 2022, 23:08

      What happened to it? That wasn’t the brief. The brief was that the cars should be able to follow each other more closely, which they can. That’s not to say that one team isn’t allowed to design a car that is faster than the others.

      If you want them all to have equal performance, choose a spec series.

    3. As always with rule changes, the first year is generally dominated by one, or at most two if we’re lucky, teams. Because they just get it right and find something the other teams did not. We’ve seen this many times in the past. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that next year will be the same or that when Mercedes can finally ditch their failed “zero pods” concept for Red Bull’s, that they won’t be right up there with them fighting for wins again.

      Ferrari is a question mark, their concept works but obviously not as well as Red Bull’s and their engine deficit seems to still be there, but if they can get a bit closer, they can definitely be in the mix as well.

      Yes, we had a dominant year of Max Verstappen, but that’s not really a given like it was when Mercedes had an engine advantage that nobody could overcome in a single year. Aero disadvantages are much easier to overcome than that was.

  13. Maybe Mclaren should find a new aerodynamicist rather than a new driver…

  14. MB should sack Bonnington or whomever is their strategist.
    Just doesn’t hack it.

    twice the same mistake in a row. They seem to believe the same actions in the same circumstances will yield different results?

  15. Probably bears consideration that Pérez made a two stop or a M/S one stop more difficult because it meant having to pass him on track in a car that is slow on straights. Also Russell had a pretty weak race. He was too slow to pressure verstappen or even Perez with either overcut or undercut.

  16. I definitely wouldn’t have picked this to be a record breaking season after the first 5 races. I’ve been very impressed by Max. Definitely a season to savour. I can’t remember a driver dominating so comprehensively in a car that hasn’t had a major advantage like Max this season. Very impressive stuff!

  17. I’m very curious to see if Mercedes can be this close in the coming races as well. Mexico has been the only circuit RBR could challenge Mercedes in the past when in the other races they’d run away with it. I expect Ferrari to be closer again in the final two races, but who knows Mercedes as well.

  18. Embarrassing to listen to F1 TV’s commentators kept on rambling about Verstappen and Perez would loose 22 sec at their 2. pitstop loong after viewers had realized that RBR wouldn’t be stopping twice. The first signal of this strategy came as Max ran a few laps more on the worn softs, loosing half a sec to Lewis instead of pitting as soon as Lewis started to catch up – off course this could also be to avoid traffic. Very shortly into Max 2. stint on the mediums he was driving very consistent lap-times, which also told us that he was on a tire-cautious strategy, aka saving the tyres to try to run to the end. The 2 commentators didn’t really realize this before there were less than 10 laps to go. They talked about the chances of problems for RBR in the 2. pitstop they expected…(for RBR it would be a Risk, so using the word Chance indicates that they hope for Lewis to win). Why can’t they be professional and comment more neutrally – instead they could’ve conjured about what a possible SC and bunch-up of the field could’ve have created of excitement late in the race, where Max seemed to have it in the bag? If Your commentators are biased, they focus too much on what happens to the driver or team they want to succeed and they miss what actually happens.

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