Mexico GP: Verstappen claims record win as Perez suffers Lap 1 exit

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Max Verstappen secured a record-breaking 16th win in a season after an action-packed Mexico City Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion capitalised on drama at the start with Sergio Perez knocked out after a bold move at Turn 1 didn't pay off.

Lewis Hamilton delivered a stellar drive to claim second for Mercedes as pole-sitter Charles Leclerc completed the podium for Ferrari.

Race Review

An eventful start saw the Red Bulls swarm the Ferraris on the run to Turn 1, with Verstappen taking the lead from third on the grid.

Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez made big contact at the first corner, plucking the Red Bull airborne and forcing the local hero to retire at the end of the opening lap due to damage.

Carlos Sainz slipped to third, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in fourth and Lewis Hamilton in fifth.

A brief Virtual Safety Car was called to clear debris in the form of Leclerc's front wing endplate that fell off a few laps after it was damaged against Perez.

After starting 17th, Lando Norris had a cautious first 10 laps, gaining just two places despite being the only driver to start on soft tyres.

Ricciardo and Hamilton enjoyed an immense fight for fourth, with the seven-time world champion finally getting ahead of the AlphaTauri.

Behind, Oscar Piastri was leading McLaren's charge in sixth, holding George Russell back in the second Mercedes.

Drivers were not just battling each other but also the temperatures as they tried to keep the cars cool in the high altitude.

As a result, Yuki Tsunoda and Norris made early pit stops to get that clear air and make some progress.

Once clear of Ricciardo, Hamilton set off after Sainz for third place, which became second after Verstappen became the first leading car to pit on Lap 20.

The rest opted to stay out, targeting a one-stop strategy, while Max made quick progress back through the field on his fresh hard tyres.

Unable to pass Sainz, Hamilton decided to pit for hard tyres, leading Ferrari to extend their first stint with both drivers.

A slow stop for Piastri looked to have given Russell a chance to jump the Australian, but a fast out lap kept Oscar ahead when George pitted a lap later.

The two Ferraris finally stopped around Lap 30 to give the lead back to Verstappen, as Leclerc slotted in P2 and Hamilton jumped Sainz upto third.

A left-rear suspension failure for Kevin Magnussen triggered a heavy crash at Turn 8 causing a Safety Car followed by a red flag.

The Haas driver was seen running off-track at the final corner just before the failure entering the Esses section.

The race resumed with a standing start with Verstappen holding the lead ahead of Leclerc and Hamilton in third despite Lewis switching to medium tyres.

Russell was the big gainer picking up two places to run fifth, while Yuki Tsunoda also used his new tyres to move upto eighth.

Hamilton used his extra grip to pass Leclerc for P2 on the main straight despite almost being pushed onto the grass by the Monegasque.

Tsunoda was growing frustrated behind Piastri in the battle for seventh, resulting in contact at Turn 1 dropping the Japanese driver outside the points.

Norris' rollercoaster race continued after climbing upto 10th before the red flag, only to lose four places at the standing restart.

Lando though produced another recovery to move up into the points and was eased ahead of teammate Piastri to chase after Ricciardo for sixth.

The Australian was unable to put up much of a fight to the Briton who made a nice move into Turn 4 to pass the AlphaTauri.

Next up was Russell in the Mercedes with Norris producing another sweet pass on the inside of the Turn 6 hairpin for fifth.

Drama behind, as Stroll spun in the stadium after contact with Bottas, leading to a double retirement for Aston Martin.

At the front, Verstappen was unchallenged as he cruised to victory by almost 14 seconds as Hamilton claimed P2 and the fastest lap.

Leclerc completed the podium in third ahead of Sainz in the second Ferrari in fourth. Norris took fifth with Russell just holding off Ricciardo on the final lap in sixth and seventh.

Piastri was eighth with Alex Albon ninth and Esteban Ocon completing the top 10 for Alpine.