Mexican GP 2021
NOVEMBER 7, 2021
Race Notes - Verstappen wins Mexican GP
By Mark Karp
Max Verstappen won the Mexican Grand Prix in his Red Bull-Honda, 16.555 seconds ahead of the Mercedes GP of Lewis Hamilton, and 17.752 seconds ahead of Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez in third place.
The win is Verstappen’s ninth win of the 2021 season, and 19th career win.
Verstappen now leads Hamilton by 19 points in the Drivers’ Championship, and Ferrari has passes McLaren for third in the Constructors’ Championship.
Pierre Gasly (1m03.845s) in the AlphaTauri-Honda finished fourth, followed by Charles Leclerc (1m21.037s) in the Ferrari was fifth, his team Carlos Sainz (1 lap) was sixth, Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin-Mercedes was seventh, Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo-Ferrari was eighth, Fernando Alonso in the Alpine-Renault was ninth and Lando Norris in the McLaren-Mercedes finished with the final point in tenth place.
Before the start of a warm sunny afternoon in Mexico City, the Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton are on the front row, the Red Bull’s of Verstappen and Perez are on row 2, Gasly and Sainz on row 3, Ricciardo and Leclerc on row 4, and Vettel and Raikkonen round out the top ten on the grid.
All drivers starting on medium tyres, except for Tsunoda and Ocon on soft tyres. Most drivers expected to make a one-stopper and switch to hard tyres.
At the appointed time the field came around on the formation lap, the lights went out and the race began with Verstappen coming down the outside outbraking the Mercedes and takes the lead in front of Hamilton and Bottas, Bottas gets tagged by Ricciardo and spins. Tsunoda and Schumacher are out. The Safety Car is out. Ricciardo and Bottas both pit and take on hard tyres, Ricciardo taking a new nose.
Verstappen leads Hamilton, Perez, Gasly, Leclerc, Giovinazzi, Sainz, Vettel, Russell and Raikkonen in tenth - Bottas in 17th, Ricciardo in 18th.
On lap 5 the Safety Car comes in and the race resumes.
Sainz passes Giovinazzi for sixth place.
On lap 5 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m21.615s.
Hamilton reports about Verstappen, “he’s quick”.
On lap 8 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m21.520s, and leads Hamilton b 3.0s.
Raikkonen passes Russell for ninth.
On lap 9 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m21.051s.
Alonso passes Russell for tenth place.
At lap 10 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 3.1 seconds, followed by Perez (6.2s), Gasly (10.0s), Leclerc (13.4s), Sainz (15.5s), Giovinazzi (18.2s), Vettel (19.6s), Raikkonen (24.0s) and Alonso (27.0s) in tenth place.
On lap 11 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m20.958s, and leads Hamilton by 3.6s.
On lap 12 Ocon passes Mazepin for 13th place.
Stroll pits for hard tyres and rejoins in 17th. Latifi pits for hard tyres as well.
Hamilton reports, “tyres dropping off massively”.
On lap 15 Norris passes Russell for 11th, Bottas passes Ocon for 14th.
Perez is closing on Hamilton in second place.
On lap 16 Russell pits for hard tyres and rejoins in 14th.
On lap 17 Giovinazzi pits for hard tyres and rejoins in 13th.
On lap 19 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m20.685s, and leads Hamilton by 6.7s.
At lap 20 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 7.7 seconds, followed by Perez (9.3s), Gasly (19.6s), Leclerc (24.5s), Sainz (27.6s), Vettel (35.6s), Raikkonen (39.5s), Alonso (42.7s) and Norris (49.7s) in tenth place.
Hamilton tells the team, "These guys are obviously too fast for us”, and about Perez, “can’t pull away from him”.
Bottas is chasing Ricciardo for 11th place.
Mercedes tells Hamilton they are looking for “target plus six”, perhaps trying for a longer first stint.
On lap 29 Hamilton pits for hard tyres and rejoins in fifth, Leclerc getting by as he gets back ontrack. Leclerc pits the next lap for hard tyres and rejoins ninth.
On lap 32 Gasly pits from third for hard tyres and rejoins seventh.
On lap 32 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m19.953s.
Leclerc passes Alonso for eighth.
Raikkonen pits for hard tyres and rejoins in tenth place.
On lap 33 Verstappen pits from the lead for hard tyres and rejoins in second place. Mexican Perez takes over the lead.
Vettel pits for hard tyres and rejoins in ninth.
At lap 35 Perez leads Verstappen by 8.3 seconds, followed by Hamilton (15.3s), Sainz (24.5s), yet to pit, Gasly (38.2s), Leclerc (41.4s), Alonso (46.0s), Norris (51.8s), Vettel (58.2s) and Raikkonen (1m02.4s) in tenth.
Perez reports to the team that his tyres “are getting good”, Perez has still yet to pit.
Bottas continues to look for a way to pass Ricciardo in 11th place.
On lap 39 Verstappen trails Perez by 4.0s. Ricciardo pits from 11th for medium tyres and he rejoins in 13th.
Alonso pits for the first time for hard tyres and rejoins in tenth.
Perez pits from the lead for hard tyres and he rejoins in third behind Hamilton.
Bottas pits for hard tyres with a slow stop and he rejoins in 15th place.
Hamilton asks the team were Vertappen is quicker.
On lap 42 Perez sets fast lap at 1m19.659s.
Sainz pits for hard tyres and rejoins in sixth behind Leclerc.
Verstappen tells the team, “can you keep an eye on my front left tyre”.
Norris pits for hard tyres and rejoins in tenth place.
At lap 45 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 10.9 seconds, followed by Perez (18.3s), Gasly (41.1s), Leclerc (46.0s), Sainz (52.9s), Vettel (1m03.7s), Raikkonen (1m08.4s), Alonso (1m17.4s) and Norris (1 lap) in tenth place.
On lap 49 Perez sets another fast lap at 1m19.468s.
On lap 52 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m18.999s, and leads Hamilton by 13.1 seconds.
At lap 55 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 13.9 seconds, followed by Perez (17.3s), Gasly (51.9s), Leclerc (1m01.9s), Sainz (1m03.2s), Vettel (1m15.2s), Raikkonen (1 lap), Alonso and Norris in tenth.
Stroll passes Russell for 15th.
Ferrari asks Leclerc to let Sainz by to see if he can catch Gasly in fourth place.
Sainz makes the swap and takes fifth,
On lap 58 Perez closes to 1.3 seconds behind Hamilton in second. The team tells Perez, “let’s get him”.
Hamilton tells the team, “tyres are giving up”.
Perez is hovering around one second behind Hamilton.
Bottas pits for tyres, looking to take the fast lap.
At lap 65 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 19.2 seconds, followed by Perez (21.2s), Gasly (1m03.5s), Sainz (1m10.5s), Leclerc (1m17.2s), Vettel (1 lap), Raikkonen, Alonso and Norris in tenth.
On lap 69 Bottas unlaps himself from Verstappen.
Bottas pits again, and the will give another go at fast lap.
Sainz lets Leclerc back past, as he wasn’t able to make ground on Gasly.
On lap 71 Perez makes a try by can’t get by Hamilton.
Verstappen wins over Hamilton and Perez. Bottas sets fast lap on the last lap at 1m17.774s, taking away the point from Verstappen.