Max Verstappen’s end of season form continues to go from strength to strength as he took a dominant F1 win in Mexico City for Red Bull Racing.
The Dutchman led from the third corner after a dramatic collision involving title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
Mercedes driver Hamilton suffered a puncture in the smash but recovered from last place to finish ninth and claim his fourth world title ahead of Ferrari’s Vettel, who crossed the line in fourth.
With all the drama behind him, Verstappen cruised to the chequered flag in front of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen thereby adding to his wins in Spain last year and Malaysia earlier in October.
It was a disappointing afternoon for team-mate Daniel Ricciardo though with the Australian retiring on Lap 5. Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley joined him in retirement on Lap 30, but Pierre Gasly ended 13th.
Finish Position: WINNER, Start Position: 2nd
“A great win and a fun podium, a Dutch DJ and Dutch driver, what a combination. The start of the race itself was not great but this allowed me to tuck in and get a tow from Sebastian, I had to be a bit aggressive but managed to get around the outside at turn one and from then on I was just doing my own race. I would go as far to say this was one of the easiest races of my career. I felt I missed out on pole yesterday so I had a lot of motivation to get the result I wanted today. To get not just a podium but the win is awesome. We calmed the pace and turned down the engine to make sure we brought the car home so I was just cruising towards the end. I was confident the car was going to be good today after studying the long run pace we have shown this weekend. This track with low speed and low grip suits our car, but even in Austin we had the balance and pace, I just had to come from way down the grid. Once we had got the balance of the car right it was easy for us to do quick lap times and sustain them. I think if we keep working this way and have a better start to the season next year we can look forward to achieving great things. The podium here in Mexico is special to be on as the fans are so passionate and being in the stadium section means the atmosphere is like nowhere else, it definitely made up for missing it last year. Like I said in the car on lap 1, it was simply, simply lovely.”
Finish Position: DNF, Start Position: 16th
“At the start I did what I could, it was pretty close and there was a lot going on, but I thought I made quick progress. I told Helmut this morning that I would get up to seventh by the end of the first lap, I was a couple of laps off, but I got there and it was all looking pretty good. I think it was lap six when the turbo started to sound strange and then I had no power. I was able to limp back to the pits but that was obviously race over. Friday looked good, things went bad yesterday afternoon and then got worse today. We put the new power unit in last night and now we have a suspected MGU-H failure. There seems to be something fundamental going on with the engines, we’ve been coming here for the last couple of years so there shouldn’t have been any surprises. I guess the altitude and temperatures have been really hard to stay on top of and it’s been a pretty grim weekend for some of us. It’s a shame to be out so early again, I guess this is a little bit of what Max experienced at the start of the year and it’s not so fun. I just hope now that we won’t have to take more penalties in Brazil. I don’t know how I’m smiling and I’m definitely hurting inside but what can I do, I can’t change the situation.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“Firstly huge congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team, four times world champion; we know how difficult that is to achieve. He’s now the most successful British driver of all time; but today belonged to Max. After a good start he braved it out at the first couple of turns and after some good, close racing he emerged in the lead and from there onwards he was totally dominant and controlled the race to score his third grand prix victory quite comfortably. Conversely it was very disappointing for Daniel today, we took the penalty to avoid just that scenario and unfortunately he had what looks like an MGU-H failure. He had managed to get up to P7 before having to retire and for sure would have been on the podium. So that’s our only frustration, but we will certainly savour the moment with Max’s victory here in Mexico City.