18/05/2024

Max Verstappen celebrates after winning his third Mexican Grand Prix. (Photo:F1/Twitter.)

Max Verstappen has won his third Mexican Grand Prix helping him extend his lead at the top while Daniel Ricciardo has horror start in Mexico.

Max Verstappen has further extended his lead over rival Lewis Hamilton, winning his third Mexican Grand Prix.

Verstappen did not put a foot wrong all day, able to get off to a dream start from third place getting the slipstream from the two Mercedes, taking the wide racing line, and then breaking late to edge past both and take the lead.

From there Verstappen looked in a league of his own, with his race pace unmatched, extending the gap between him and second-placed Hamilton gradually more and more each lap. By lap 20 Verstappen had over a seven second gap between him and Hamilton.

Verstappen cruised to victory from there with no other driver putting up even the slightest challenge, ultimately winning the race by over 16 seconds.

Now with just four races remaining for the season, Verstappen holds a 19-point advantage over Hamilton in the Driver Standings, 312.5 to 293.5.

Hamilton finished the race in second place while Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez rounded off the podium in third.

Sergio Perez makes history in his home race

It will be a day to remember for Mexico’s own Sergio Perez who became the first Mexican driver to finish on the podium at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Perez’s history at the circuit in past years was not favourable with his best finish being seventh place in 2019 and 2017. Entering the race weekend there were high hopes for what Perez could achieve, racing in front of his home fans and finally in a car that would be competitive enough to win the race.

Starting in fourth place Perez was able to remain at the top of the whole race, staying composed. On lap 34 with Verstappen pitting Perez was able to make more history becoming the first Mexican driver to lead a race at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Perez led the race for seven laps before pitting himself on lap 41 and coming out in third place behind Hamilton.

Perez then spent the next 30 laps trying to close the gap between him and Hamilton in the hope of getting a one, two finish for Red Bull. It appeared that Perez may have been able to achieve this with just 10 laps remaining but traffic from other racers and Hamilton’s veteran experience helped him to hold the position.

The celebrations post-race showed how much the third-place finish meant to Perez, celebrating with his father.

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Ricciardo’s horror start proves costly

After a strong showing in qualifying and subsequently starting the race in fifth place, it looked as though Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo could have another strong performance however this was short-lived.

On the first turn of the race, Ricciardo was late to break and subsequently locked up. In the process, he clipped the back of Valtteri Bottas spinning the Finnish driver around but also destroying his front wing.

Ricciardo had to pit following the lap one incident to have his front wing replaced which put him in 18th which was essentially last place since both Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher were forced to retire on the opening lap.

With a safety car out due to Tsunoda crashing out, Ricciardo had to follow behind Bottas for the next four laps but as soon as the race restarted and the safety car ended, Ricciardo was able to quickly get ahead of Bottas.

With multiple other cars starting to pit as the race went on, Ricciardo found himself in 11th place behind teammate Lando Norris after the first 20 laps. During this time, however, Ricciardo had Bottas for close company, constantly making moves to try and overtake him but Ricciardo was able to defend his attempts each time.

From there Ricciardo remained in limbo unable to climb any higher up the grid and ultimately finished in 12th place.

Bottas continues Mexican Grand Prix pole position curse

Valtteri Bottas would have hoped after Saturday’s qualifying that he would be able to break the pattern of drivers who start on pole position being unable to finish the race on the podium, with this having happened the last three-time F1 has raced in Mexico City.

Unfortunately for him, history repeated itself and he was spun out on the first turn by Ricciardo and unable to ever recover, finishing in 15th.

A small consolation prize for Bottas was he was able to get the fastest lap off of Verstappen, saving Mercedes a point in the Constructors Championship which they currently lead by one point over Red Bull after today’s race. However, due to finishing in 15th and out of the top 10 the point was not awarded to Mercedes or Bottas.

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