F1 News – Verstappen wins in Mexico ahead of Hamilton and Leclerc

Mexican Grand Prix: Sergio Perez was eliminated on lap one due to contact, while Max Verstappen emerged victorious after taking the lead at the first corner.

Although qualifying yesterday didn’t go as planned, will Max Verstappen win the Grand Prix today, fulfilling Mexican fans’ goal of seeing Sergio Perez triumph, or will a Ferrari driver—or perhaps Daniel Ricciardo—take first place in the end?

The Stewards had a lot of work to do after qualifying, but in the end, there were no fines for cars stopping in the pit lane because it was thought to be safer to have a backed-up pit exit than to have cars racing at full speed while others were attempting to get a gap.

Race Results: Grand Prix of Mexico in 2023

Logan Sergeant and Williams were penalized. Sergeant received a ten-place grid penalty for passing Yuki Tsunoda while under a yellow flag, and Williams was fined €20,000 (of which half was suspended) for leaving a jack unattended in the pit lane where Tsunoda struck it.

There will be nineteen cars on the grid due to Lance Stroll’s requirement to start from the pits following qualifying. Lando Norris P17 will be the only vehicle to start on a soft tire, while Alex Albon P14 and Esteban Ocon P15 will start on hard tires. Almost all cars will start on medium compound tires.

Red Bull appeared to be in control of the race as the lights went out, with Verstappen and Perez battling it out for the lead. However, they went three-abreast, which resulted in the Ferrari being crushed between the two Bulls and contact between Leclerc and Perez. The Mexican eventually spun away, and the front wing of the Monegasque sustained damage.

After being called into the pits to withdraw owing to damage from the contact, Perez rejoined at the rear of the field.

Once they were back on track, Verstappen grabbed the lead and began to draw away from the two Ferraris occupying the other two podium spots. Leclerc’s front wing endplate, which had been damaged and had fallen off after flapping around for a few circuits, plus the debris from the first turn collision required the Virtual Safety Car to be called for a brief period of time on lap 5.

After the race, the Monegasque will have to go before the Stewards for operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner with the endplate hanging off. He wasn’t shown the black and orange circular flag, indicating that the car is dangerous and needs to be towed in for repairs, prior to the damaged component falling off.

Ricciardo, still in P4, had Lewis Hamilton right on his tail and was trying to push ahead, but the top three cars all had at least a second of free air between them. Due of his competitive advantage, the Mercedes driver claimed that his vehicle was overheating. However, the Brit did manage to demote the AlphaTauri racer on lap 11.

George Russell was putting pressure on Oscar Piastri, who was just behind Mercedes. Despite this, the Australian was able to keep ahead of the British driver and over the next several laps, he was able to move the Mercedes out of the DRS range. It was almost a double overtake for Mercedes.

After reaching P14 on lap 12, Norris stopped in the pits to change his soft tires for hard ones, and he returned to the race in P18, needing to put in even more work.

Verstappen stopped on lap 19 to switch to hard tyres and finish in P7, being the first of the leading drivers to visit the pits. Leclerc assumed the lead as Hamilton was closing in on Carlos Sainz and trying to find a way past him.

Verstappen closed the three-second gap with Russell quickly. By lap 22, he had already eliminated the Mercedes driver, and the next lap saw him move up to P5, ahead of Piastri.

Hamilton gave up the battle with Sainz at the end of lap 24 and went to the pits to get hard tires. Eleven seconds behind his partner, he resumed in P7.

In the meantime, Ferrari had informed Leclerc and Sainz of their decision to make a single stop. As they were doing so, Verstappen had retreated to P3, trailing Sainz by less than four seconds; the current champion was at least a second faster on his hard tires than the Ferraris on their outdated medium tires.

After pitting on lap 28, Ricciardo changed from medium to hard tires and emerged in P6, finishing a few seconds ahead of his compatriot Piastri. Russell, on the other hand, was not pleased with Mercedes for stopping him when he got delayed in traffic upon his return; they claimed to have been concerned about Norris’ speed.

On lap 29, Verstappen easily passed Sainz. The Spaniard stopped for the hard compounds two laps later and emerged in P4, trailing Hamilton. The next lap, Leclerc stopped and came back in third, three seconds ahead of the British driver.

A major incident involving Kevin Magnussen at T9 resulted in the Safety Car being called out on lap 33. There were flames visible at the rear of the Dane’s Haas as he managed to get out of the vehicle and perch on the Tecpro barriers. The incident’s cause appears to have been suspension failure, based on the replays.

Verstappen took his time to pit for new hards, holding onto the lead while Norris and Albon in positions P8 and P9 did the same, emerging in positions P10 and P12. However, their efforts were in vain, as the race was shortly red-flagged due to damaged barriers.

With the race scheduled to resume with a standing start just over twenty minutes after it was delayed, it was a sufficiently brief Red Flag. Leclerc told his engineer that “a standing start with hards is going to be a huge mess,” despite his lack of optimism.

The distribution of hards and mediums was very even; Hamilton P3, Piastri P6, Russell P7, Hulkenberg P9, Norris P10, Albon P12, Ocon P14, and Sergeant P15 were all on hards, while the remaining candidates were all on mediums.

Russell had a perfect start as the lights went out for the restart, dispatching both Australians to move from P7 to P5. For Norris, it was less than ideal as he lost four spaces and moved slowly to escape.

For the first five laps, there was no DRS, but both Ferraris were in danger because a Mercedes was following them closely. Leclerc lost P2 to Hamilton on lap 40 when he went inside, stirring up dust as he put a wheel on the grass.

Russell’s situation wasn’t as straightforward as he continued to follow Sainz, commenting on the Spaniard’s weaving. However, Norris was moving behind them and had made up the lost ground by lap 47.

The most competitive race among the top ten, however, was for position P7, which Piastri was defending against Tsunoda. The McLaren driver nearly spun following touch, but on lap 49, the AlphaTauri driver lost his form due to contact and went into the run-off. The Japanese driver lost his position in the back, and Norris reached P8 after the incident and Albon’s overtake.

McLaren arranged a driver exchange on lap 56 because Norris was outpacing his colleague. The British driver then aimed to get closer to Ricciardo, his former colleague, in P6. On lap sixty, the McLaren driver closed the distance and overtook him when they ran side by side at T4, with Norris eventually taking the lead.

By lap 66, Norris was within Russell’s DRS reach. Nico Hulkenberg had been putting up a great fight against the Alpines for the final point while Norris was making passes. Unfortunately for him, though, he was unable to keep them at bay for long, as in his 200th race, Pierre Gasly and subsequently Ocon passed the German.

On lap 67, Russell crossed himself off Norris’ list of people to overtake, and Stroll retired after he and Bottas made contact, causing the Canadian to spin off while attempting to pass the Alfa Romeo driver in the stadium section.

Leclerc finished the race in the final podium position, while Verstappen crossed the finish line nearly fourteen seconds ahead of Hamilton. In the last few laps, Russell had to fend off Ricciardo to maintain P6, while Sainz was P4 ahead of Norris.

Piastri finished eighth, and the remaining two spots were occupied by Albon and Ocon. With a final lap time of 1:21.334, Hamilton won the fastest lap award. Williams had to retire Sargeant on the final lap due to a fuel pump issue, even though he was running in P12.

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