Max Verstappen was happy to put a frustrating Saturday behind him by securing a win at the Mexican Grand Prix.
The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver secured victory at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, having lost pole position to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo on Saturday despite being fastest in all practice sessions leading up to the race.
But the Dutch driver was able to start the race off strong, passing Ricciardo in the run down towards Turn 1 and controlled the race, pulling away from Lewis Hamilton to his fifth victory in F1.
Red Bull saved a set of tyres for Verstappen to switch on a two-stop strategy and worked into their favour thanks to the big gap the twenty-one year old created.
Verstappen, who didn’t sleep much the night before the race on Sunday, was really happy to take victory on Sunday in Mexico.
“Yesterday I was very frustrated and disappointed but today I am really happy, and Sunday is the best day to be happy,” said Verstappen.
“I didn’t sleep much last night and found today’s race build up a long one, but after the lights went out my feelings soon changed. Once ahead I could just settle in and concentrate on my own race, especially as Lewis looked to be struggling with grip. I made sure I matched his lap times to maintain the lead.
“We got the strategy spot on again, having another set of Supersofts meant I was able to manage the wear knowing I had a fresh set to go onto towards the end of the race. So when Seb pitted we did the same and were able to keep the gap.”
Red Bull were in a position to capture a one-two in Mexico with Ricciardo following behind Verstappen in the latter stage of the race, but a hydraulics failure saw the Australian driver retire from the race.
Verstappen was ordered by Red Bull to turn the engine down to prevent losing victory from the same failure as his team-mate, but nothing stopped the Dutch driver from claiming the win around the 2.6 mile circuit ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen.
“When I saw Daniel pull over I asked the Team if they should turn my engine down as I already had such an advantage, I wanted to be sure we made it to the chequered flag,” commented Verstappen.
“It was such a shame as we were definitely on for at least a double podium, if not a one, two. The podium, like last year is amazing.
“To have the DJ and the crowd coming down from the stands is really cool, two years in a row makes it even better. Mexico always has so many passionate fans which makes me love coming back here every year.
“Also congratulations to Lewis on his fifth title, he has been the most consistently strong driver all year and deserves the championship, I’m sure it feels very special. Hopefully I can challenge him for it soon.”