Max Verstappen cruised to his record 14th win of the season at the Grand Prix of Mexico as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton carried the momentum from US GP to finish in second. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez completed the podium on his home soil.
Verstappen has now toppled the joint-record for most wins in a single campaign, which was previously held by Michael Schumacher (2004) and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel (2013).
The Dutchman had dominated a majority of the 71-lap race. Meanwhile, Hamilton, who was about 10 seconds behind the Red Bull driver for the second half of the race, seemed annoyed by his team’s choice of tyre compound.
As the lights went out at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit, the reigning champion comfortably led on pole on a set of soft Pirellis. Chasing him were the Mercedes boys, Hamilton and Russell, both on medium compounds. However, homecomer Perez jumped to third on his softs as Russell lost traction at Turn 3 early in the race.
By lap 10, the leader Verstappen had bolted a 1.5-second lead over Hamilton. He went on to extend the lead further by lap 20 but his set of soft compounds had started to wear by then, thereby, allowing Hamilton to charge and reduce the gap. Meanwhile, Perez boxed in the Lap 22 to switch to mediums, and returned at P6.
Four laps later, Verstappen pitted, also switching to mediums while Hamilton cruised to lead as the 24-year-old returned at P3. However, the Brit pitted in Lap 30 as the Mercedes crew bolted a set of hard compounds on his W13.
Following a collision with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardio, who bumped into the rear-right of his AlphaTauri car, Tsunoda was forced to retire due to damage to his sidepod. Later, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso had to retire following an engine failure in the latter stages of the race.
Russell saw the chequered flag at fourth ahead of the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz Jr and Charles Leclerc. Ricciardo negated the 10-second penalty he received for the Tsunoda collision to put up a stellar performance to finish seventh, ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and teammate Lando Norris.
Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas bagged the last available points, thanks to Alonso’s DNF, which promoted him into the top 10.
With Lewis Hamilton in pursuit of his first win of the season, the upcoming Brazilian GP is expected to be a big show as Verstappen will arrive with all guns blazing to claim another record-extending win in the 2022 campaign.