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Max Verstappen cruises to victory in Mexico

08/11/21

The Dutchman extends his lead.

Max Verstappen extended his lead at the summit of the Formula 1® drivers' championship to 19 points after roaring to victory in the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 24-year-old had already moved from third to first by the first corner, which saw Valtteri Bottas – who had started in pole position – drop down to last after being hit from behind.


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Verstappen was rarely troubled after that, claiming a 19th career win and ninth of the season by more than 16 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second and Red Bull team-mate and home favourite Sergio Perez in third.

The race started in dramatic circumstances, Verstappen blitzing past Bottas and Hamilton before the first turn to take an immediate lead.

Things quickly deteriorated for Bottas, who dropped to 18th after Daniel Ricciardo clipped him as he navigated the first turn – an incident that took Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher out of the running.

Verstappen wasted little time stamping his authority on the race after the safety car departed on lap four, opening up a 3.3-second advantage by the 10th lap.

That lead had reached 8.5 seconds by lap 27, before a pit stop gave the home fans reason to celebrate when Perez briefly became the first Mexican to lead a lap at his country's grand prix.

Verstappen soon resumed his position at the front of the pack and, with a comfortable win looking likely, attention turned elsewhere for drama.

That came in the shape of the battle for second, with Perez's team confidently telling the 31-year-old he would catch Hamilton inside the remaining 24 laps.

Despite falling just short, he could at least celebrate becoming the first Mexican driver to finish on the podium in this Grand Prix.

Verstappen overtakes trio

Verstappen has now overtaken Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Jim Clark as the driver to win most races in the Mexican Grand Prix, with this victory added to triumphs in 2017 and 2018.

He had also been level with Hamilton, who won in Mexico in 2016 and 2019, but has now edged ahead of his British rival.

Hamilton waits for record Americas win

That was not the only slice of history Hamilton was denied, with the 36-year-old aiming to surpass Michael Schumacher as the driver to have won the most races in the Americas (currently 17).

He will at least get another go next week in Brazil.

IN THE POINTS
  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +16:555s
  3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +17:752s
  4. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +63:845s
  5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +81:037s
  6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +1 LAP
  7. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +1 LAP
  8. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) +1 LAP
  9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +1 LAP
  10. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1 LAP
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Drivers
  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 312.5
  2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 293.5
  3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 185
  4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 165
  5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 150
Constructors
  1. Mercedes 478.5
  2. Red Bull 477.5
  3. Ferrari 268.5
  4. McLaren 255
  5. Alpine 106
WHAT'S NEXT?

Brazil awaits the drivers next Sunday in the second of November's triple-header, before a trip to Qatar. After that, there are only two races left to go in this tense title tussle.