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Mexican GP 2019

OCTOBER 27, 2019

Race Notes - Hamilton takes Mexico GP

Lewis Hamilton, Mexican GP 2019
© RV Press

By Mark Karp

Lewis Hamilton won the Mexican Grand Prix in his Mercedes, taking the win 1.787s ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari in second place, and Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas in third, 3.553 seconds behind the winner.

The win is Hamilton’s second in Mexico City. The win is Hamilton’s tenth on the 2019 season, Mercedes’ 13th win of 18 races, and Hamilton’s 83rd career victory. With just a week until the United States GP in Austin, Hamilton needs to finish just four points ahead of Bottas to clinch the world championship.

Charles Leclerc (6.368s), after leading early-on in the Ferrari, finished in fourth place, followed by Alex Albon (21.399s) in the Red Bull-Honda was fifth, his team mate Max Verstappen (1m08.807s) was sixth, Mexican Sergio Perez (1m13.810s) in the Racing Point-Mercedes was seventh, Daniel Ricciardo (1m14.924s) in the Renault was eighth, Pierre Gasly (1 lap) in the Toro Rosso-Honda was ninth and Nico Hulkenberg in the Renault was tenth.

After qualifying on pole, Verstappen was handed a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow for yellow flags and will start fourth. The Ferrari’s of Leclerc and Vettel on the front row, with the Mercedes of Hamilton third alongside Verstappen. Albon and Bottas start on the third row, the McLaren’s of Calos Sainz and Lando Norris on row four, and the Toro Rosso’s of Daniil Kvyat and Gasly rounding out the top ten. The sky is overcast, with a small chance of showers. The first six drivers starting on medium tyres, Sainz, Norris, Kvyat and Gasly starting on soft tyres. Ricciardo starting on hard tyres, and the rest of the field on medium tyres.

At the appointed time the grid came around and the lights went off and the race began with Leclerc on pole getting a quick start with Vettel behind, the two touching in the first corner, but continuing. Hamilton and Verstappen both take to the grass in the first corner - Albon up to third place, with Sainz, Hamilton, Norris, Bottas, Verstappen, Kvyat and Gasly in tenth. At the end of the lap the virtual safety car comes out with debris on the track.

At the end of lap 2 the race resumes with Leclerc and Vettel pulling away from the field.

On lap 4 Hamilton passes Sainz for fourth place. Verstappen passes Bottas into the hairpin for seventh, then latter in the lap Verstappen slows with a punctured tyre, and he pits and changes to hard tyres and rejoins in 20th, one lap down.

On lap 6 Bottas passes Norris for sixth place.

On lap 8 Bottas passes Sainz for fifth place. Mercedes tells Bottas that he needs to cool his brakes.

At lap 10 Leclerc leads Vettel by 1.2 seconds, followed by Albon (2.6s), Hamilton (4.0s), Bottas (10.4s), Sainz (17.5s), Norris (19.8s), Kvyat (22.2s), Perez (24.2s) and Ricciardo (24.6s) in tenth place.

On lap 10 Perez passes Kvyat for eighth. Kvyat pits for medium tyres.

On lap 12 Norris pits for hard tyres - Norris stops at the end of the pitlane with his left front tyre not properly fastened - the mechanics push him back to the pits, and finally gets back on track in last place.

On lap 15 Albon pits from third place and takes on another set of medium tyres, and he rejoins just ahead of Sainz, who passes him into the first corner.

Sainz pits for hard tyres. Leclerc pits from the lead for another set of medium tyres, and rejoins in fourth place.

On lap 18 Leclerc sets fast lap at 1m20.446s.

At lap 20 Vettel leads Hamilton by 1.9 seconds, followed by Bottas (8.8s) - the first three yet to pit, Leclerc (16.3s), Albon (27.0s), Perez (34.0s), Ricciardo (36.6s), Lance Stroll (40.9s), Antonio Giovinazzi (45.0s) and Kvyat (55.9s) in tenth place.

On lap 21 Perez pits for medium tyres and rejoins in tenth place. Giovinazzi pits and has a slow stop, taking medium tyres and rejoins in 16th.

On lap 22 Sainz passes Kevin Magnussen.

On lap 24 Hamilton pits from second place for hard tyres and rejoins in fourth behind Leclerc.

Verstappen makes contact with Magnussen, and tells the team, “he just turned into me.”

Ferrari radios Vettel to pit, and he argues to run long to stay ahead of Hamilton.

Vettel and Bottas in the first two places are yet to pit.

Ferrari asks Leclerc to push.

On lap 28 Verstappen passes Hulkenberg for 11th.

Ferrari tells Vettel to take care of his rear tyres, Hamilton tells Mercedes that he thinks they pitted too early, and that they have a long way to run on the hard tyres.

At lap 30 Vettel leads Bottas by 6.1 seconds, followed by Leclerc (12.2s), Hamilton (18.5s), Albon (24.6s), Ricciardo (44.1s), Stroll (51.6s), Perez (59.5s), Kvyat (1m03.3s) and Sainz (1,09.3s).

Verstappen passes Sainz for ninth place. A lap latter Hulkenberg passes Sainz as well for 11th.

Sainz and Gasly battle for 12th place. Gasly gets ahead.

On lap 36 Bottas pits from second place for hard tyres and rejoins in fifth place.

On lap 37 Vettel pits from the lead for hard tyres as well and rejoins in fourth ahead of Bottas. Leclerc leads Hamilton and Albon.

Stroll pits for hard tyres and rejoins in 11th.

On lap 39 Verstappen passes Kvyat for eighth place.

On lap 39 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m19.817s.

At lap 40 Leclerc leads Hamilton by 8.6 seconds, followed by Albon (12.5s), Vettel (14.0s), Bottas (17.6s), Ricciardo (42.3s), Perez (57.1s), Verstappen (58.0s), Kvyat (1m00.6s) and Hulkenberg (1m09.2s) in tenth place.

Ricciardo, who started on hard tyres, is the last driver not yet to pit.

On lap 42 Verstappen passes Perez for seventh place.

Leader Leclerc tells Ferrari that his tyres are dead, and on lap 43 pits for hard tyres and rejoins in fifth place behind Bottas - losing a few seconds in the pit stop.

The next lap Albon pits for hard tyres and rejoins in fifth behind Leclerc. Hamilton leads over Vettel and Bottas.

On lap 45 Leclerc sets fast lap at 1m19.527s.

Ferrari tells Leclerc that Hamilton is leading, and that they will need to battle with him at the end of the race.

On lap 48 Albon sets fast lap at 1m19.325s.

At lap 50, with 21 laps to go, Hamilton leads Vettel by 2.4 seconds, followed by Bottas (3.8s), Leclerc (10.7s), Albon (20.5s), Ricciardo (40.6s), Verstappen (52.7s), Perez (58.1s), Hulkenberg (1m08.4s) and Stroll (1m12.3s).

On lap 51 Ricciardo makes his only stop and switches to medium tyres and rejoins in eighth. Norris is retired in the pits.

Bottas is slowly closing on Vettel in second place, and on lap 52 is only a second behind.

On lap 53 Leclerc sets fast lap at 1m19.232s.

Romain Grosjean runs wide but continues.

Bottas runs half a second behind Vettel. The first four runners are covered by five seconds.

Renault warns Hulkenberg about his brakes.

On lap 60 Kimi Raikkonen retires his Alfa Romeo in the pits.

At lap 60 Hamilton leads Vettel by 2.7 seconds, followed by Bottas (4.3s), Leclerc (7.3s), Albon (16.6s), Verstappen (56.2s), Ricciardo (1m03.5s), Hulkennberg (1m16.1s) and Kvyat (1 lap).

On lap 61 Ricciardo tries to pass Perez for seventh but locks up, and gives the place back.

Mercedes tells Hamilton that he has max power available if he needs it.

On lap 68 Ricciardo is closing again on Perez in seventh.

At lap 70 Hamilton leads Vettel by 1.5 seconds, followed by Bottas (1.9s), Leclerc (6.4s), Albon (19.4s), Verstappen (1m07.5s), Perez (1m12.6s), Ricciardo (1m14.6s), Hulkenberg (1 lap) and Kvyat in tenth place.

Hamilton comes across the finish with the win over Vettel and Bottas. Kvyat and Hulkenberg make contact in the final corner, Hulkenberg is out. After the race Kvyat is penalized, and is classified 11th.

On the podium Hamilton says, "Today is an incredible result. We came here on the back foot, I had quite a bit of damage on my car but I kept my head down. Awww man, I'm so grateful!”

Toto Wolff said about Hamilton running a long second stint on hard tyres to the finish, "It was an experiment, we saw Ricicardo was going strong so we thought he could make it..."