Red Bull’s Max Verstappen cruised to a record third career 2021 Formula 1 Mexico City Grand Prix victory ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez – who became the first Mexican driver to take a Formula 1 podium at their home race.
Click here to subscribe to our print edition!
The joy of Valtteri Bottas’s shock pole position was short-lived as Verstappen swept around the outside of the two Mercedes into the first corner on the opening lap. Bottas was then tipped into a spin by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo into Turn 2 to leave Verstappen leading Hamilton then Perez behind the Safety Car, which was called back for a Lap 5 race restart, as Bottas dropped to the back of the field.
Verstappen’s pace on the medium tyres – on which everyone bar Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon started – was superior to Hamilton’s in the opening stint. With the Briton losing time to the Dutchman and his teammate Perez, he pitted for hards on Lap 30 and Verstappen followed on Lap 34, emerging second to make Perez the first Mexican to lead his home race.
Perez would come in for new hard compounds on Lap 41, nine seconds behind Hamilton, and began to take chunks out of that gap to leave it at just one second on Lap 60 of 71. Huge cheers erupted when the crowds saw how close their home hero was to Hamilton and the Briton’s case wasn’t helped when he was told to lift and coast, but Perez couldn’t make the pass and ended up third – just 1.1s behind Hamilton – despite having hard tyres that were 11 laps newer than the Mercedes driver’s.
As for Bottas, he was stopped on Lap 66 for soft tyres, unlapped himself on Lap 68, but could not take the fastest lap away from Verstappen. He pitted again for another new set of softs with a lap remaining, and snatched away the fastest lap from the Red Bull championship leader, before finishing 15th overall.
Pierre Gasly qualified P5 but finished a comfortable fourth after Bottas’s spin, while Carlos Sainz took sixth behind Charles Leclerc (P5) in the race, the Spaniard losing out to his Ferrari teammate at the start.
Sebastian Vettel took seventh for Aston Martin, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in P8.
Fernando Alonso took ninth for Alpine having started 12th but was hampered by a slow Lap 40 pit stop. That left Lando Norris 10th from 18th, the McLaren driver having made it to P7 by Lap 45 when he pitted from mediums to hards.
Norris’s teammate Ricciardo, however, could only take 12th after Lap 1 contact ruined his hopes of scoring points from P7 on the grid and promoted Leclerc, Vettel and Raikkonen a place apiece.
Mario Isola – Head of F1 and car racing at Pirelli commented:
It was a reasonably straightforward one-stop race for the majority of competitors, with the medium and hard delivering great results in these high track temperatures. The medium stood up very well to some long initial stints, showing a strong combination of performance and consistency, with a little help from a four-lap safety car period at the start. The hard tyre showed a good race pace, with low degradation, which made it central to the 2021 Formula 1 Mexico Grand Prix in these conditions. As a result, Max Verstappen was the first driver to beat the fastest race lap from 2019 (the last time that the Mexican Grand Prix was run) on used hard tyres, on a track that was still quite dusty.
2021 Formula 1 Mexico GP Race Results
|1.||33||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||1:38:39.086||25||312.5|
|2.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+16.555s||18||293.5|
|3.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing Honda||+17.752s||15||165|
|4.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+63.845s||12||86|
|5.||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||+81.037s||10||138|
|6.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||+1 lap||8||130.5|
|7.||5||Sebastian Vettel||Germany||Aston Martin F1 Team||+1 lap||6||42|
|8.||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||4||10|
|9.||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||2||60|
|10.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+1 lap||1||150|
|11.||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Italy||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||1|
|12.||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||McLaren Racing||+1 lap||0||105|
|13.||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||0||46|
|14.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||+2 laps||0||26|
|15.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Williams Racing||+2 laps||0||16|
|16.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+2 laps||0||185|
|17.||6||Nicholas Latifi||Canada||Williams Racing||+2 laps||0||7|
|18.||9||Nikita Mazepin||Russia||Haas F1 Team||+3 laps||0||0|
|19.||47||Mick Schumacher||Germany||Haas F1 Team||DNF||0||0|
|20.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||DNF||0||20|
2021 Constructor Standings
|1.||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team||613.5|
|2.||Red Bull Racing||585.5|
|5.||Alpine F1 Team||155|
|7.||Aston Martin F1 Team||77|
|9.||Alfa Romeo Racing||13|
|10.||Haas F1 Team||0|