Max Verstappen was dominant again in F1 Mexico GP after red flag as Lewis Hamilton ended up second from Charles Leclerc.
It was a busy start in F1 Mexico GP as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the lead from third after taking the inside line into Turn 1 from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who collided with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. The Mexican tried the outside line which didn’t work.
He turned right into Turn 1 and their wheels touched which sent Perez onto the run-off as Leclerc damaged his endplate which shed away later on. The Mexican pitted as Red Bull tried to fix the damage but it was too much for him to get back out in his home event.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was third as AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo maintained fourth from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. His teammate George Russell lost to McLaren’s Oscar Piastri at Turn 12 for sixth, with Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg gaining four places to eighth.
He brought Alpine’s Pierre Gasly in ninth with Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu in 10th as teammate Valtteri Bottas dropped to 12th after a wide moment behind Williams’ Alexander Albon. McLaren’s soft gamble with Lando Norris didn’t yield great results at the start.
He was only 15th from 17th and stuck behind AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. It was clean for the next couple of laps but Leclerc’s endplate needed VSC to be cleared off, as the Monegasque still managed to keep his teammate off from second.
Hamilton, meanwhile, tried a couple of times to pass Ricciardo for fourth which he finally managed to. His teammate Russell was hustling Piastri, as Gasly tried to push Hulkenberg. Just behind them, Albon made a move on Guanyu to be 10th in the points.
There was a brief yellow flag for AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda when he went off at Turn 1 after locking-up while trying to pass Haas.Kevin Magnussen outside the Top 10. The Japanese driver pitted early as did Norris after his soft tyre gamble didn’t work.
At the front, Verstappen led well but pitted early on Lap 19 as others around him continued on. Leclerc assumed the lead of F1 Mexico GP as the FIA put him under investigation for driving a car which was running in unsafe condition at the start of the F1 grand prix.
Once both the Ferrari drivers pitted, it was Verstappen in the lead of F1 Mexico GP again with Leclerc in second from Hamilton who managed to pass Sainz. Ricciardo was fifth from Piastri and Russell as Norris climbed up to eighth ahead of Albon.
There was a moment for Haas’ Kevin Magnussen on the straight which seemingly damaged the left-rear suspension. It failed at the exit of Turn 7 as he went straight onto the barrier at high speed. The safety car was out but it converted into a red flag.
Verstappen, Norris and Albon pitted from the Top 10 but the Dutchman retained the F1 Mexico GP lead with the Brit dropping to 10th and the Thai in 12th. Leclerc was second from Hamilton, Sainz, Ricciardo, Piastri, Russell, Tsunoda, Hulkenberg and Norris in the Top 10.
Post red flag –
The re-start worked well for Verstappen who led from Leclerc and Hamilton as Sainz was fourth from Russell. The Brit managed to pass Ricciardo while Piastri was seventh from Tsunoda, Albon and Hulkenberg in the Top 10 where the Thai made up four places.
Norris dropped out in 14th from 10th where the Alpine pair gained places. At the front, Verstappen started to stretch out as Hamilton tried a couple of times before making his move on Leclerc to take second at Turn 1 after electing to use the medium tyre.
Russell tried to pass Sainz but he couldn’t. It was same from Tsunoda who kind of made it stick on Piastri but the Australian was back ahead. Hulkenberg was chasing Albon for ninth, as Norris started to make inroads after clearing couple of cars.
It was getting tasty at the fag end of the Top 10. Tsunoda tried hard to pass Piastri for seventh. The two made small contact at Turn 2 initially but the Australian stayed in front. The Japanese came back on the next lap but turned in early to make contact.
He went off to rejoin in 16th with Piastri continuing in seventh with the collision under investigation. His teammate Norris passed Ocon, Hulkenberg and Albon to move up to eighth. It was a brave move on the Frenchman at Turn 1 with the German just ahead.
Albon was ninth from Hulkenberg, with Ocon, Gasly and Bottas close behind. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, was asked to retire from the race. With Verstappen stretching a big lead to Hamilton, the Brit was comfortably ahead of Leclerc.
His teammate Sainz held off Russell well as Norris passed Ricciardo for sixth after team orders was played around against Piastri. The Australian was well ahead of Albon in eighth, while Hulkenberg in 10th had Ocon and Gasly on him for a good number of laps.
Finally, Ocon and Gasly both cleared Hulkenberg with the former in the points in 10th. There was contact at the back of field when Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll tried to pass Bottas. The Finn left room but there was contact still which has been put under investigation.
Stroll retired eventually as in the points Norris passed Russell smartly at Turn 5 on switch back to get himself in fifth from 14th on re-start. At the front, Verstappen eased in to win F1 Mexico GP by 13.875s from Hamilton who took the fastest lap on the final lap.
Leclerc was third from Sainz with Norris in fifth ahead of Russell who just resisted Ricciardo for sixth, as Piastri was eighth from Albon and Ocon in the Top 10. Teammate Gasly was 11th from Tsunoda, Hulkenberg, Bottas and Guany, with Sargeant classified in 16th despite pitting to retire on final lap due to fuel pump issue.
UPDATE: The FIA cleared both Piastri and Tsunoda of their double contacts at two occasions, while they also cleared Leclerc for driving in unsafe car. The stewards put him under investigation as data suggested a scenario of waving the black and orange flag.
But since the endplate detached, the situation was under control and warranted no penalty. Here: https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/decision-document/2023%20Mexico%20City%20Grand%20Prix%20-%20Decision%20-%20Car%2016%20-%20Alleged%20driving%20a%20car%20in%20an%20unsafe%20condition.pdf
Bottas, meanwhile, has been handed a 5s time penalty and two penalty points for colliding with Stroll. The stewards reckon that while returning to racing line, the Finn made contact with the Canadian who had passed him at Turn 13 and so he is predominantly to be blamed. This drops him behind teammate Guanyu in 16th.