What wasn’t speculated ahead of the race: Will altitude play a role in Mexico City? High temperatures? The resulting load is much higher on the brakes? In the end, it was thin and very hot out of nothing, as the Mexican Grand Prix went almost without any excitement. Only a collision between McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda at Alpha Tauri caused a change of 51 of 71 laps – and prevented the Japanese from finishing. In addition, Fernando Alonso had to stop his car in the Alps six laps before the end due to an engine failure on the side of the track. There was then a short stage with a virtual safety car, where everyone had to slow down and were not allowed to overtake, but that didn’t change anything at the end of the race.
The winner again was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who was already the world champion and who crossed the finish line in some sort of solo run. The Dutchman set a new record: a driver had never won 14 races in one season. Michael Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2013) have 13 wins in the span of one year. “It’s been a great season. We are enjoying it and now we want to achieve more,” Verstappen said in an interview with the winner, and mentioned the start, which he started with on soft tyres unlike the two Mercedes cars right behind him. It was the defining moment. “A good start helped me a lot to stay ahead for the rest of the race. Once again it’s an amazing result.”
In second place behind Verstappen was former world champion Lewis Hamilton ahead of Mexican local champion Sergio Perez. Although Perez was once again unable to fulfill his dream of winning the grand prix at home in front of tens of thousands of frenetic fans, he overtook Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the world championship standings to take second place. Leclerc was only sixth.
Schumacher’s last chance over?
Mick Schumacher had a dark day in Haas. As in the race in the US a week ago, the German clearly missed points. In the end, the 23-year-old was only 16 years old. This means he was unable to declare himself in the last race before his race team wanted to announce who would be allowed to occupy the second cockpit of Haas next to Kevin Magnussen next year. . “It’s a shame! It looked good yesterday,” Schumacher said, suspecting the temperatures in the race, which were about ten degrees Celsius lower than in Saturday’s qualifying, played a role.
He admitted: “I wasn’t able to overheat the tires at first. Even if it was a good start, we would have passed. The race speed wasn’t there.” When asked how he would rate his chances of extending the contract – despite not meeting the team’s requirements and not scoring any points in the US or Mexico – Schumacher only smiled: “We’ll see!”
Vettel: “The road was too slow”
Sebastian Vettel did slightly better than his compatriot. But even for the former four-time world champion, who will be ending his career after the season, the third-to-last weekend race of his career didn’t go according to plan. Having started only 16th after poorly qualifying, he was only able to advance to 14th in the race in his Aston Martin. More was not up front. “It was hard. We didn’t have the speed,” Vettel said, without being able to really explain why. “Overall we were too slow.”
Verstappen, Vettel and Co still have two races before the end of the season: the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 13 at Interlagos in Sao Paulo and the season finale on November 20 at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
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