Mexican GP Report: Mercedes’ Supremacy Over Red Bull Ends at the 1st Turn as Verstappen Takes F1 Win

Published 11/07/2021, 3:42 PM EST
Formula One F1 – Mexico City Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 7, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads the Mexico City Gran Prix in the first lap REUTERS/Henry Romero


Max Verstappen managed to overturn Red Bull Racing’s poor qualifying outing with a spectacular race win at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Hence, the Dutchman now steers 19 points clear of Lewis Hamilton in the championship table with the Mexican GP victory.

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The 7-time world champion had to work hard to secure P2 in Mexico, as Sergio Perez was a persistent threat throughout the afternoon. Meanwhile, for the pole-sitter, Valtteri Bottas, the race was all about pain and agony, as the Finn came home in P15.

Pierre Gasly drove an exceptional race to claim P4 ahead of the Ferrari duo, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, who also regain P3 from McLaren in the constructor’s championship.

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Sebastian Vettel secured P7 for Aston Martin – his first top-7 finish since the Belgian GP while Kimi Raikkonen came home in P8. Behind the two world champions arrived another world champion in Fernando Alonso, with Lando Norris closing out the top 10.

How the Mexican GP unfolded

Race start at the Mexican GP

Both Hamilton and Bottas enjoyed a brilliant getaway at lights out, but so did Verstappen. The Dutchman embraced the full advantage of slipstream, pulled off a late-braking maneuver to steal the lead from the Mercedes duo.

Formula One F1 – Mexico City Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 7, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads the Mexico City Gran Prix in the first lap REUTERS/Henry Romero

However, Bottas failed to escape the wrath of turn 1, as Ricciardo ended up tagging the Finn from the back, causing him to spin. But, with the Mercedes stranded in the middle of the track facing the opposite direction, the oncoming cars hardly had room to make their way past Bottas.

This eventually led to a tangle between Ocon, Tsunoda, and Schumacher. While the Frenchman escaped the incident without suffering any damages, the other two drivers had to retire from the race. Ricciardo, too, suffered significant wing damages.

Formula One F1 – Mexico City Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 7, 2021 AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda crashes during the first lap REUTERS/Andres Stapff

This eventually led to the arrival of the safety car, as the period lasted for around 5 laps.

Perez vs Hamilton

The lead was out of reach for the 7-time world champion, as Verstappen continued to pull away since the safety car returned to the pits. Hence, the battle was on for P2 between Hamilton and Perez, with the latter keeping himself threateningly close to the Mercedes driver.

Formula One F1 – Mexico City Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 7, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race REUTERS/Andres Stapff

However, as the gap fell within 1.3s, Mercedes had to bring in Hamilton for a change of tires on lap 31. While many anticipated a response from Perez the very next lap, there was nothing; the Mexican looked quite happy with the medium tires, hinting at a much longer stint.

By lap 34, Perez snatched the lead from his teammate, as the latter pitted for a set of hard tires. As Perez completed the lap, leading from the front, he became the first Mexican driver to lead a race at the Mexican GP. But, his brief fun at the front ended on lap 41, as he pitted for a set of hard tires.

Nail-biting end to the Mexican GP

While drivers like Verstappen and Gasly were on their own with hardly any threats around them, there was Hamilton, who was still feeling the heat from Perez. The home hero, with 11-lap fresher tires, set out to hunt down the defending champion.

Formula One F1 – Mexico City Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 7, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in action during the race REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Similarly, a battle was cooking between Alonso and Norris for P9, but of course, the one that constantly caught our attention was the Hamilton-Perez duel. The difference in pace was very much evident, with the Mexican lapping over a second quicker than Hamilton.

By lap 58, only 1.5s separated the two drivers. However, the turbulent air just wasn’t helping Perez in his pursuit of the Mercedes driver. Hence, in the end, Perez had to settle for P3, which also makes him the first Mexican driver to claim a podium in Mexico.

Updated F1 drivers’ standings

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  1. Max Verstappen – 312.5
  2. Lewis Hamilton – 293.5
  3. Valtteri Bottas – 185
  4. Sergio Perez – 165
  5. Lando Norris – 150
  6. Charles Leclerc – 138
  7. Carlos Sainz – 130.5
  8. Daniel Ricciardo – 105
  9. Pierre Gasly – 86
  10. Fernando Alonso – 60
  11. Esteban Ocon – 46
  12. Sebastian Vettel – 42
  13. Lance Stroll – 26
  14. Yuki Tsunoda – 20
  15. George Russell – 16
  16. Kimi Raikkonen – 10
  17. Nicholas Latifi – 7
  18. Antonio Giovinazzi – 1
  19. Mick Schumacher – 0
  20. Nikita Mazepin – 0

Updated F1 constructors’ standings

  1. Mercedes AMG (Mercedes) – 478.5
  2. Red Bull Racing (Honda) – 477.5
  3. Scuderia Ferrari (Ferrari) – 265.5
  4. McLaren (Mercedes) – 255
  5. Alpine (Renault) – 104
  6. Scuderia AlphaTauri (Honda) – 106
  7. Aston Martin Racing (Mercedes) – 68
  8. Williams (Mercedes) – 23
  9. Alfa Romeo Racing (Ferrari) – 11
  10. Haas (Ferrari) – 0

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Overall, an incredible race weekend comes to an end at the Mexican Grand Prix, and the focus now shifts to the final American round at the Interlagos circuit in Brazil in a week’s time.

Watch Story: Top 5 wins of Max Verstappen’s F1 career

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Rohit Kumar

1410 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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