We’re still amped from the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, so join us for a quick recap of the weekends events!
History beckons for Hamilton
Hamilton took his victory tally for the season to 10, and his career total to 83, after he was crowned the surprise winner of Sunday’s race in Mexico. It appears inconceivable that the British driver will now fail to move ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio, and to within one of Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven, in Texas in just six days’ time. Indeed, an eighth-placed finish will be enough for Hamilton at a venue he has triumphed on five of his previous seven visits. Hamilton and his Mercedes team should never have been in the hunt to win in Mexico’s capital city, with both Ferrari and Red Bull boasting superior machinery. But the tactical brilliance of Mercedes’ pit-wall, matched with the superb Hamilton at the wheel, is an almost unbeatable combination – and it is why the Briton is on the brink of securing his fifth title in six magical years.
Vettel jokes Hamilton is lucky
Mercedes stopped Hamilton for tyres eight laps after pole-sitter Charles Leclerc, and 14 laps before Sebastian Vettel. It proved to be a mathematical masterstroke, with Hamilton expertly executing his team’s one-stop strategy. But as Hamilton stood alongside Vettel in the television pen, the Ferrari driver joked that his rival was fortunate to take the spoils. “He got massively lucky by pitting for tyres so early,” said Vettel, putting his arm around Hamilton. “If you are a woman on this planet and you have this guy giving you a massage like the way he treated his tyres, then it is pure magic.” It seems Vettel was enjoying his own recap of the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, but Vettel’s jovial remarks could not hide the fact that his Ferrari team endured another underwhelming afternoon. They started one and two, but finished second and fourth. Ferrari might have the best car, but they are tactically well short of Mercedes. It is an area at which they must improve over the winter or face another season of woe in 2020.
Verstappen made to pay for mistakes
There is a solid argument to say that Max Verstappen should have won for a third consecutive time at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Verstappen put his Red Bull on pole, but then talked himself into a three-place grid penalty. He ran off the road with Hamilton at the second corner, dropping further down the field, before colliding with Valtteri Bottas on lap four and suffering a right-rear puncture. To his credit, Verstappen then completed the remaining 66 laps on only one set of tyres, while navigating his way from last to sixth. But the Dutchman, who last won at the German Grand Prix in July, will head to Austin wondering what might have been.
Steady Albon set to be retained by Red Bull
Alex Albon made the first big mistake of his Red Bull career when he crashed out of second practice here on Friday. But the London-born rookie recovered to split the Mercedes drivers and qualify fifth. He ran as high as third in the race, but a two-stop strategy cost him two positions. Following his mid-season promotion from Toro Rosso, the 23-year-old has finished fifth, sixth, sixth, fifth, fourth and fifth. And it is that sort of consistency which is set to earn him a full season with Red Bull in 2020.
F1 bosses abandon reverse grids
It emerged in Mexico that Formula One chiefs have been forced to abandon plans to stage reverse-grid races next year. The sport’s American owners Liberty Media held talks with the teams about revamping qualifying in a bid to spice up the show. The proposal was to trial a reverse-grid race, determined by championship order, at three rounds next year. The outcome of which would settle the starting positions of Sunday’s grand prix. Hamilton and Vettel were both critical of the plans, and their respective Mercedes and Ferrari teams are understood to have voted down the idea. Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director, said: “The teams initially agreed with it and then two teams put their hand up at the last meeting and said they wouldn’t. It’s frustrating.”
That’s all for our 2019 Mexican Grand Prix recap! We now look forward to the upcoming American Grand Prix at the Circuit Of The Americas!