2018: Round 19/21, Mexican GP, Mexico City

DÉJÀ VU IN MEXICO CITY

Same as last year, Max’s race and Lewis’s title

1st    MAX VERSTAPPEN       Red Bull

2nd   SEBASTIAN VETTEL     Ferrari

3rd    KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN          Ferrari

While Max Verstappen romped to victory ahead of the Ferrari pair, Lewis Hamilton trailed in P4 almost a lap behind, but it was enough to seal title number five. The Red Bulls, Verstappen especially, dominated practice but in qualifying Ricciardo shocked the youngster by denying him ‘youngest ever pole’, an accolade Max visibly coveted. But Ricciardo bogged down at the start leaving Verstappen to sprint into the lead chased by Hamilton and Vettel. It took only seven laps for Hamilton’s tyres to begin to wilt, a 2s gap quickly becoming 5s, and forcing him to pit on lap 11. To cover the undercut Max soon followed, but he needn’t have worried, No. 44 was no better on the new set, steadily falling behind. Vettel’s tyres faired far better, leading for a while with a longer first stint and then passing Ricciardo for P3 on lap 33 and Hamilton six later for P2. But the pole-sitter had other ideas. Driving a strong one-stop race, Danny Ric retook Vettel when Seb made his second stop and kept him behind despite the Ferrari’s fresher rubber. It looked like a Red Bull 1-2 until Ricciardo’s hydraulics packed up with ten to go. Räikkönen’s one-stop brought him P3 and the equally anonymous Bottas was P5 with similar Mercedes tyre woes. Hulkenberg finished P6, helping his and Renault’s claim for ‘best of the rest’ in the final standings. Local boy Perez looked good for a popular P7 until braking issues gave it to the impressive Leclerc.

Incidentally…
For the second year running, the 2,285m altitude of Mexico City ‘gave Red Bull wings’! For the second race running Mercedes had serious problems getting their tyres to work, creating controversy about the drilled wheel-rims so successful prior to COTA but not used since for fear of a Ferrari protest. But none of this changed a thing. Lewis Hamilton was a five-time champion, beating Vettel on merit in his best season to date.

The Championship Chase
Hamilton 358, Vettel 294, Räikkönen 236, Bottas 227, Verstappen 216

Mercedes 585, Ferrari 530, Red Bull 362, Renault 114, Haas 84

RS
Formula 1 All the Races