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Max Verstappen set yet another record in 2023. The three-time champion won the Mexico GP for his 16th victory of the year, setting new records for the most wins in a season, and also for the highest winning percentage.
F1 Mexico Grand Prix results: Who won the race?
Max Verstappen won the Mexico Grand Prix. Starting from third, the Dutchman passed the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. into turn 1, never to look back. Despite a red flag mid-race, triggered by a Kevin Magnussen crash, Verstappen had little trouble during the second start. Lewis Hamilton finished second ahead of Leclerc, who survived a Hail Mary move from Sergio Perez on lap 1 to round out the podium.
Verstappen takes the lead into turn 1, Perez’s hero move ends in tears
Verstappen took advantage of the longest drive to turn 1 in the calendar. With a faster reaction than the Ferrari pair ahead of him, the 2023 champion went down the inside of Leclerc to claim the lead.
Teammate Sergio Perez got off to a lightning-fast start, forcing a three-wide into turn 1 with Verstappen and Leclerc. But the home hero didn’t clear the Ferrari’s front wing before turning into the apex. Leclerc was sandwiched between the two Red Bulls, and made contact with Perez. Despite losing the left endplate of his front wing, the Monegasque somehow managed to continue without having to pit.
Perez wasn’t as fortunate. With serious damage to his right sidepod, the home driver had no option but to retire his car at the end of the lap.
On lap 8, Lewis Hamilton managed to get the move down the inside of Daniel Ricciardo for fourth place into turn 1.
Verstappen was the first driver to jump into the pits, doing so at the end of lap 19, switching to hards.
The rest of the field waited longer to make the switch. Hamilton was the first of the other front-runners to follow suit, diving in at the end of lap 25.
Ferrari decided to go even longer, calling Carlos Sainz Jr. in on lap 31. The late pit stop cost the Spaniard a lot of time, making him lose third to Hamilton. Leclerc pitted a lap later, returning to the track in second place, but over 16 seconds down on Verstappen.
Magnussen triggers a red flag
The race settled into a comfortable pace, with little action happening on track. Then, on lap 34, Kevin Magnussen crashed hard at turn 9. Replays from the crash showed that the Danish driver suffered a scary rear left suspension failure through the esses, turning him into a passenger on the fastest part of the track. Despite looking visibly winded from the impact, Magnussen was able to walk away on his own power.
Verstappen took the chance to go for a free pit stop – which was for nothing in the end, as race control immediately deployed a red flag to clear the debris and repair the barrier.
After a long interruption, the action resumed with a standing start. Verstappen and Leclerc opted for hards, while Hamilton decided to run on a used set of mediums.
Verstappen drives off, Hamilton passes Leclerc for second
The second start went a lot smoother. The top 3 slotted into place, while George Russell passed Ricciardo for fifth after the Australian got bottled down by Sainz into turn 1.
Verstappen quickly got out of DRS range. Leclerc and Hamilton got into a duel for second place, with the Mercedes driver getting by on lap 40 by pulling off an aggressive move into 1.
On lap 49, Oscar Piastri and Yuki Tsunoda made contact while going side by side into turn 1 while fighting over seventh position. A lap later, the AlphaTauri driver went for a move around the outside, but cut across the McLaren’s nose. The move led to contact once again, which sent the Japanese driver spinning and out of the top 10.
Lando Norris, who had started down in 17th place, slowly made his way up the order. After restarting in 10th place, the McLaren driver dropped a few spots, but again picked up his pace and began to climb the order again. On lap 68, the McLaren driver pulled off an oportunistic overtake down the inside of turn 6 on Russell to move into fifth place.
In the end, Verstappen crossed the line 14.5s ahead of Hamilton, while Leclerc completed the podium. Rounding out the points-paying positions were Sainz, Norris, Russell, Ricciardo, Piastri, Albon, and Esteban Ocon.
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