Verstappen sets new record with 16th win of season in Mexico

Ahead of Hamilton and Leclerc


By Franck Drui

29 October 2023 - 23:21
Verstappen sets new record with (...)

Max Verstappen scored a dominant 16th victory of the season at the Mexico City Grand Prix to set a new record for most wins in a season. The Red Bull Racing driver, finished ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in a race that saw local hero Sergio Pérez crash out on the first lap.

Verstappen’s victory was sealed at the start, when, from P3 on the grid he reacted to the lights going out. The Dutchman slipped between the slower-starting Ferraris of the polesitter Leclerc and Carlos Sainz and as they went into Turn 1 he was ahead.

Behind them Pérez had also made a good start and on the approach to the first corner the Mexican drew alongside Leclerc on the outside. However, the Red Bull driver turned in too sharply and with Leclerc boxed in by Verstappen on the right there was no space for the Ferrari driver to react into. Pérez ran over the right front tyre of the Ferrari and was launched off track. Leclerc managed to carry on but Pérez limped back to the pits where he eventually retired from the race.

At the front, Verstappen began to pull away from Leclerc and by lap 10 the three-time champion was just over 2.5s clear of the Ferrari driver, with Sainz a further two seconds back in third. Hamilton then claimed P4 on lap 11.

On lap 19, Verstappen pitted for Hard tyres, rejoining in seventh place behind Russell. Leclerc took the lead, 5.6s ahead of Sainz who was busy defending from Hamilton.

Verstappen began to rapidly make his way back up the order breezing past Russell into Turn 1 on lap 22 and on the following lap, aided by DRS, cruising past Piastri on the long run to the same corner to take P5. As the world champion eased his way past Ricciardo, Hamilton pitted at the end of lap 25, moving to Hard tyres, a move which boosted Verstappen to P3, just 3.8 behind Sainz who had not stopped. Verstappen then dismissed the Spanish driver on lap 28 to rise to P2, 7.4s behind Leclerc who had yet to pit.

Sainz pitted at the end of lap 30 and he rejoined in P4 behind Hamilton. Leclerc then made his stop at the end of the next lap, allowing Verstappen to retake the lead, with a 16-second advantage.

That lead was wiped out on lap 33. Kevin Magnussen suffered a suspension failure on the rear left of his Haas and the Dane veered off track in Turn 8, slamming hard into the barrier on the left side of the track. The Safety Car was deployed and Verstappen pitted for a new set of Hard tyres. However, with the barriers damaged and with debris on the track, the race was then red-flagged.

After a 22-minute delay for the damaged barriers to be replaced, the cars formed on the grid for a standing start. And when the lights went out for the second time Verstappen held his lead once more ahead of Leclerc, also on Hards, with Hamilton on new Medium tyres, in third.

Leclerc was soon under pressure and on lap 40 Hamilton dived inside the Ferrari on the run to Turn 1, to power through to second place.

At the front, Verstappen again began pulling away and after 50 laps the Dutchman was eight seconds clear of Hamilton who was five seconds ahead of Leclerc. Sainz was a further four seconds back in fourth place with Russell in fifth ahead of the impressive Ricciardo.

Behind them, it was Norris who was making the most headway. The McLaren driver scythed his way through the field from P14 at the restart and on lap 56 he eased past slower team-mate Piastri to move up to P7. On lap 60, he powered his way past Ricciardo through Turns 4 and 5 and then with four laps to the finish he muscled past Russell to take P5.

Ahead, after 71 laps, Verstappen took his fifth win in Mexico with 15 seconds in hand over Hamilton and a further nine seconds behind Leclerc took the final podium place.

Sainz took fourth for Ferrari ahead of Norris, while Russell managed to hold on to sixth just ahead of the hard-charging Riccirado who took an excellent seventh place for AlphaTauri. Piastri finished in P8 ahead of Albon and the final point went to Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 71 laps - 2h02m30.814s 3
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 +13.875 2
03 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 +23.124 2
04 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 +27.154 2
05 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 +33.266 3
06 George Russell Mercedes W14 +41.020 2
07 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 +41.570 2
08 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 +43.104 2
09 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 +48.573 2
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 +62.879 1
11 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 +66.208 2
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 +78.982 3
13 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 +80.309 2
14 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 +80.597 2
15 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 +81.676 2
16 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 DNF 2
17 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 DNF 2
18 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 DNF 3
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 DNF 1
20 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 DNF 0

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