An unstoppable Max Verstappen (Red Bull) has continued to make history this weekend at the Mexico F1 GP 2022 in what has been a memorable season for the Dutchman so far. This Sunday, at the Hermanos Rodríguez racetrack in Mexico City, he has become the driver with the most wins in a single season (fourteen), in the history of F1.
The two-time champion from Hasselt, determined to break all records, dominated the race from start to finish. Almost fifteen seconds behind him came a resigned Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes). The seven-time champion was rendered unable to put up a fight because of wrong strategic decisions by his team.
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In a repeat of last year’s performance, Checo Pérez (Red Bull) completed the podium in third. As hard as he tried, the local hero was unable to get any closer to the Briton. The stands, however, almost come down in excitement after their idol performed an undercut on the seven-time champion. Unfortunately, it was a bad pit stop and things didn’t work out as everyone was hoping.
RACE CLASSIFICATION (LAP 71/71)
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George Russell finished in a disappointing fourth place. The young Briton, who started the race in second, lost two places at the start and got stuck in fourth place right until the end preceding the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, which completed the top six.
Verstappen holds on to the pole at the start
Verstappen has defended his pole position comfortably on soft tyres at the start of the Mexico F1 GP 2022. Following the Dutchman, Hamilton, on mediums, overtook teammate Russell to take second place. That small civil war in the second corner destabilised the young Englishman, who lost yet another place to Pérez after a great braking manoeuvre from the latter.
Thanks to his soft tyres and aggressive style, the driver from Guadalajara had climbed from fourth to third place. Behind the leading trio, Sainz retained his fifth place on soft tires despite the attacks of teammate Leclerc.
Also aided by his softs, the Dutchman opened a 1.6s gap with Hamilton after the first ten laps, not so impressive considering the latter was on mediums. In fact, Hamilton sat the fastest lap, while holding Pérez two seconds away. What’s more, on lap 23, Max’s lead on Lewis had fallen below two seconds for the first time.
Battle on the pits: Change of compounds
Things seemed to have settled at the top of the race, but in the next lap (24th) the war of the pits started. The first one to go down was Pérez but an awful five-second stop to replace his softs for mediums ruined the undercut he had planned on Hamilton. Two laps later (26th) and it was Max’s turn, who emulated his partner by mounting medium compounds in a great 2.5s manoeuvre.
Leclerc also made his pit stop on lap 29, one before his teammate Sainz. Both Ferraris and Hamilton were now riding medium tires. Surprisingly, Mercedes would then decide to give Hamilton hard compounds, which had not been tested during the weekend and seemed ruled out.
That decision would cost their lead driver any chance to fight for victory. The German engineers thought that Verstappen’s mediums would degrade fast and fail at the end of the Mexico F1 GP 2022 but that is not what happened.
Verstappen takes back the lead and escapes away
Halfway through the Mexican GP 2022, on lap 35, Max regained the lead after Russell’s stop, followed by Hamilton seven seconds behind. Meanwhile, Pérez was encroaching on Lewis by less than a second. Slowly, Verstappen’s advantage grew to 14 seconds before a desperate Hamilton, who could only complain to his team for following the wrong strategy.
Meanwhile, in third place, Pérez, encouraged by the adoring crowd, attempted to get closer to the Briton, but to no avail. From then on, the top positions remained unchanged with champion Max fully enjoying his feat amidst the great atmosphere of the Hermanos Rodríguez racetrack.
Images of Mexico F1 GP 2022: Red Bull Racing.