Max Verstappen sealed a comfortable win at the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix and extended his lead over Lewis Hamilton to eighteen points in the drivers’ championship.
Hamilton had to defend hard to keep second position as Sergio Pérez hunted the Briton down in the final laps. This is the third race in a row that both Red Bull Racing drivers finished in the podium places.
The race at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit in Mexico City took place under hot conditions with air temperatures at 21 degree C and track temperatures at 48 degree C.
Valtteri Bottas started on pole position with team-mate Hamilton on the front row. Verstappen and Pérez started on the second row. Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz were on the third row.
Daniel Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen started in the top ten positions. All the drivers except Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda started on the medium compound tyres.
The two Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers had a good start and went side by side into Turn 1 but left open the racing line to Verstappen.
Verstappen made use of the slipstream and hurtled into the lead even as Bottas was spun around by Ricciardo. At the back of the field, Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher tangled and were out of the race.
The Safety Car (SC) was deployed in the first lap. Bottas and Ricciardo pitted and rejoined at the back of the grid.
The Safety Car came in at the end of lap 4 and the order was Verstappen, Hamilton, Pérez, Gasly, Leclerc, Antonio Giovinazzi, Sainz, Vettel, Russell, Räikkönen.
On the restart, Sainz quickly cleared Giovinazzi to take sixth place. Verstappen was pumping in fastest laps and building a big gap to Hamilton.
Räikkönen and Alonso overtook Russell for ninth and tenth positions. At the end of lap 21, Verstappen was 7.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton.
Stroll and Giovinazzi pitted early. On lap 30, Hamilton pitted and rejoined in fifth position behind Leclerc who pitted on the next lap.
On lap 33, Verstappen pitted and rejoined in second position ahead of Hamilton by 7.6 seconds. Pérez was the race leader with an extended first stint and finally pitted on lap 41.
The order now was Verstappen, Hamilton, Pérez, Sainz, Gasly, Leclerc, Norris, Vettel, Räikkönen and Alonso.
On lap 43, Sainz pitted and rejoined in sixth position behind Leclerc. Verstappen had a comfortable lead of 10 seconds to Hamilton. Pérez was flying on his new tyres and set the fastest lap.
On lap 45, Norris finally made his first pit stop and rejoined in tenth position behind Alonso. Ricciardo and Bottas squabbled for many laps before Ricciardo made his second stop.
After Bottas made a long pit stop, Ricciardo and Bottas were in twelfth and thirteenth positions.
At the end of lap 50, the order was Verstappen, Hamilton, Pérez, Gasly, Leclerc, Sainz, Vettel, Räikkönen, Alonso and Norris.
The gap between Verstappen and Hamilton was over twelve seconds. Pérez was hunting down Hamilton and the gap was down to six seconds.
Verstappen posted the fastest lap with a lap time of 1m18.999s. With 15 laps to go, Pérez had cut the gap down to Hamilton to less than three seconds.
Sainz and Leclerc swapped positions as the Spaniard was on much fresher tyres. At the end of lap 60, Pérez was in DRS-range of Hamilton.
On lap 65, Bottas pitted for the soft compound tyres to set the fastest lap and deny Verstappen the extra point. On lap 66, as Hamilton and Pérez battled their way through the backmarkers, the gap was now two seconds.
With two laps to go, Pérez was again in DRS-range. But Hamilton held off the Mexican to take second position.
Verstappen won comfortably to take the win and extended his lead to eighteen points in the drivers’ championship.
Hamilton barely held on to second position as Pérez became the first Mexican to finish in the podium places at his home race.
Gasly had another great drive to finish in fourth position ahead of the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers Leclerc and Sainz.
Vettel had a great drive to finish in seventh position. Räikkönen, Alonso and Norris completed the top ten positions. Bottas took away the extra point for fastest lap from Verstappen on the final lap.
Verstappen leads the drivers’ championship by eighteen points and the Red Bull Racing team have cut the lead to Mercedes to a solitary point in the constructors’ championship.
2021 Mexico City GP Race Results:
|1||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:38:39.086||25||71|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+16.555s||18||71|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||+17.752s||15||71|
|4||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||+63.845s||12||71|
|5||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||+81.037s||10||71|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||+1 lap||8||70|
|7||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||+1 lap||6||70|
|8||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||+1 lap||4||70|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||2||70|
|10||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+1 lap||1||70|
|11||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||+1 lap||0||70|
|12||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||+1 lap||0||70|
|13||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||0||70|
|14||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||+2 laps||0||69|
|15||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+2 laps||0||69|
|16||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||+2 laps||0||69|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||+2 laps||0||69|
|18||9||Nikita Mazepin||RAF||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||+3 laps||0||68|
|NC||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||DNF||0||0|
|NC||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||DNF||0||0|