Max Verstappen continues to collect Formula 1 records. In Mexico he achieved his 16th victory in the 19th race of the season. Even a forced break after a crash doesn’t slow down the world champion.
In his relentless Formula 1 record hunt, Max Verstappen has now caught up with the legend Alain Prost. The triple champion set another record on Sunday in Mexico with his 16th win of the season and drew level with four-time world champion Prost with his 51st career win. “It’s an incredible season,” said Verstappen.
Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton took second place in the spectacle in Mexico City, which was temporarily interrupted due to an accident, ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. “This is a great result for us,” said Hamilton, who significantly improved his prospects in the fight for runner-up in the world championship.
Thanks to a fantastic maneuver, Verstappen, who started from third place, took the lead from Leclerc in the first corner and was then unstoppable on the way to his third Mexican victory in a row. There has only been a different winner in three of the 19 races so far this season. In the remaining three Grand Prix, the Dutchman can also surpass Sebastian Vettel’s 53 victories and would then only have Michael Schumacher (91) and record man Hamilton (103) ahead of him.
Nico Hülkenberg once again remained pointless in his 200th race start in 13th place. The Rhinelander became the 22nd driver and the fourth German in Formula 1 history to reach the 200 mark. “I look back on a good time, on a good career,” the 36-year-old had previously said. In Mexico he was in tenth place until shortly before the end before slipping out of the points.
Pérez crashes in his home country
As always, the tens of thousands of fans at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez had eyes primarily for their local hero Sergio Pérez. After an extended dip in form, there has been speculation for weeks about the 33-year-old’s future at Red Bull. It didn’t help that the Mexican was slower in qualifying than the Australian Daniel Ricciardo in the Alpha Tauri, who is considered a possible successor.
At the start, Pérez tried the crowbar from fifth place – and overdid it. At high speed he sat next to Leclerc before turn one, turned aggressively and crashed into the Ferrari. The Red Bull was briefly lifted and slid off the track damaged. Pérez made it back to the pits, but had to give up.
He climbed out of the car in shock, his fans were shocked. “I’m sad, of course. There was no room for three cars in the first corner, something like that happens,” said Pérez.
Verstappen pulverizes the competition
Teammate Verstappen, on the other hand, showed how it’s done. In Leclerc’s slipstream, he pulled up and passed Monegasque and his Ferrari colleague Carlos Sainz in turn one. The surprise from qualifying, when the three-time world champion had to admit defeat to the Scuderia drivers, was quickly corrected.
In the thin air at 2200 meters above sea level, Verstappen was initially able to control the race. He soon had his 800th lead lap of the year – another record for his statistics.
Further back, celebratory Hülkenberg defended with all his might his eighth place, which he had cleverly captured at the start. After the first round of pit stops, he was back in ninth place and the small chance of points continued to exist.
Verstappen himself opened the first phase of tire changes. With fresh rubber rollers, the Red Bull star set an enormous pace. The two Ferrari pursuers and Hamilton therefore tried a tactical trick and wanted to save themselves a pit stop.
Race interruption after Magnussen crash
But this strategy was no longer valid on lap 35. Kevin Magnussen hit the barrier next to the track with his Haas. The reason was a break in the suspension at the rear of the racing car. The Dane’s car was badly damaged and even caught fire. The race management interrupted the race to carry out clean-up work. The 31-year-old remained uninjured.
After a break of around 20 minutes, we started again with a standing start. Verstappen easily defended first place. After an intense duel with Leclerc, Hamilton, who started on the faster soft tires, soon took second place.
So we went towards the goal. Verstappen continued to expand his lead. There were only close duels for the lower points positions. Hülkenberg also had a worse ending.
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