Mercedes trio of Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff and Valtteri Bottas along with Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Christian Horner reflect on how F1 Mexico GP start panned out.
He came, he saw and conquered once more. Bit by bit, race by race, Verstappen in his Red Bull is getting closer to his first world title after a scintillating win in F1 Mexico GP. He pipped defending champion Hamilton in his Mercedes to the win with Perez in third.
It was a great result for Red Bull, but not so Mercedes despite locking out the front row. A wild start at the front with three and sometimes four abreast going into turn one saw pole man Bottas tagged by Daniel Ricciardo which brought out a safety car.
In the midst of this, Verstappen took the lead going around the outside of Bottas and went on to dominate proceedings. So, with four to go, it’s an uphill fight for Mercedes and Hamilton. Red Bull on the other hand are getting stronger.
Post-race, one of the key topics of discussions was Bottas leaving space for Verstappen on the left as he tried to cover his position with Hamilton on his right. The Finn was more about saving his place – whether first or second – which allowed the Dutchman to get by.
Both of the Mercedes duo – Wolff and Hamilton – did not seem too happy with how Bottas tackled Verstappen, which even surprised the Red Bull camp. But the Finn reckoned that the Dutchman came out of nowhere on the left and there was nothing he could have done.
Race start: “I mean I was… I’d envisaged it differently, naturally, in the sense that if Valtteri had maybe got a better start then I would have tried to get into his tow. But obviously I was alongside him, which was good, and then I was just covering my side of the track, making sure no-one could come up the inside, so I was trying to keep whichever Red Bull I could see in my mirror behind. And I thought Valtteri would be doing the same – but obviously he left the door open for Max and Max was on the racing line, so did a mega job braking into Turn 1. Because I’m on the inside and on the dirt, there was no hope for me.”
Bottas’ Turn 1 lack of defence: “Yeah that should not happen. I think we had two cars in front and Valtteri seemed to open up the sea for Max to come around the outside and that is, it even saw the spin afterwards and the complete loss of points with the Valtteri’s car when that could have been a third or fourth place. It is annoying to say the least. These cars are very difficult to judge from the mirrors, what is actually happening behind you. But I think if they would have been more to the left he wouldn’t have passed, he would have been blocked.”
Valtteri Bottas: “The start was ok but Max had a good tow and braked very late.”
Fair from Bottas even if surprising: “Fantastic drive by Max, the most important part was the start and he nailed the start. He found himself a bit of space which I was surprised that they [Mercedes] gave him the room, but I have to say Valtteri was very fair and I thought Max have missed his braking because he was so late on the brakes on turn one, but he made his stick and from there really controlled the race it was a very straightforward race for him.”
On race start and braking markers: “They’ve covered the inside but then obviously there was a knot with the Mclaren, it was Daniel that tipped Valtteri and then Checo had to cut the grass there but Max timed it perfectly, he got the tow, he made it work and then was able to control the race beautifully. And you know on the reconnaissance lap, he went out and he braked right there [in Turn 1], so he’d almost rehearsed it in his mind I think what he was going to do.”
Start move: “I mean, you can’t really practice how a start is going to go, right, because you end up left, middle, right, depends on what happens, but once I was on the outside and basically on the racing line, I knew exactly where I was going to brake and… It’s always a tricky one, especially the car, of course, on the inside, is fully into the dirt because nobody is really driving there, so they can never brake as late as the car on the outside, also because of the angle going into the corner, and I knew where I was braking that was really on the edge because you could see I was also getting closer to the white line on the exit, so I knew if somebody would brake later on the inside he would have definitely gone off the track, so yeah, I just went for it and it worked.”
Here’s how Mercedes and Red Bull started: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-mexico-city-grand-prix-vertsappen-leads-after-frantic-race-start.1715797598634096527.html
The story was written by Neil Farrell
Here’s how F1 Mexico GP panned out