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RECAP: Verstappen dominates to win Mexico City GP

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – NOVEMBER 07: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda during the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on November 07, 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool.

Max Verstappen leads the Mexico City Grand Prix from the opening lap and takes the crucial victory for the championship fight.

After the dramatic qualifying on Saturday everyone was waiting to see how the race would unfold on Sunday and the race surely delivered a lot of excitement.

The drivers were lined up at the long start-finish straight and the race went underway. Max Verstappen had an impressive start thanks to the slipstream and took over the race lead in turn 1. Behind him, however, things became hectic. Valtteri Bottas had a contact with Daniel Ricciardo and spun.

At the same time, Esteban Ocon found himself between Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher. They collided, which resulted in terminal damage for the rookie drivers. Safety Car was deployed.

The race was restarted on lap 5. Verstappen started making a gap from Hamilton – he was almost 3 seconds ahead by lap 8. More than that, the Dutchman was setting fastest laps. Kimi Raikkonen was chasing George Russell for 9th and eventually made a move in turn 1. Russell dropped down to 11th eventually after Fernando Alonso overtook him.

Sergio Perez had great pace in the opening stages of the race and he was getting closer to Hamilton for 2nd. Bottas got to Ricciardo for their first on-track encounter since the race start. The Finn was close to his opponent, but not able to pass him.

Hamilton struggled with his pace and reported on the team radio that the Red Bull drivers were too quick. After 29 laps, the Briton had his pit stop. He rejoined the track behind Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque, however, came to the pits one lap later. The race leader Verstappen pitted on lap 34 – the stop was very quick, so he came back to the track comfortably ahead of Hamilton.

Perez had a long stint on medium tires and Verstappen together with Hamilton were closing the gap to the local hero. Perez switched to hards after 40 laps and was third after his pit stop. The day went from bad to worse for Bottas – his pit stop was almost 12 seconds long due to overheated brakes.

Perez had a pace advantage over Hamilton thanks to fresher tires, so he was catching the Briton quite quickly. Only 5 seconds separated them with 19 laps to go. Tensions were rising at Ferrari as Leclerc was asked to swap positions with Sainz. Several laps later, the swap happened.

With 11 laps to go in the race, Perez got within the attacking distance to Hamilton. Upfront, Verstappen cruised to the victory at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Hamilton managed to hold off Perez for 2nd.

The results of the Mexico City GP:

1Max VerstappenRed Bull RacingWinner
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes+16.555
3Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing+17.752
4Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri+1:03.845
5Charles LeclercFerrari+1:21.037
6Carlos SainzFerrari+1 lap
7Sebastian VettelAston Martin+1 lap
8Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo Racing+1 lap
9Fernando AlonsoAlpine+1 lap
10Lando NorrisMcLaren+1 lap
11Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing+1 lap
12Daniel RicciardoMcLaren+1 lap
13Esteban OconAlpine+1 lap
14Lance StrollAston Martin+2 laps
15Valtteri BottasMercedes+2 laps
16George RussellWilliams+2 laps
17Nicholas LatifiWilliams+2 laps
18Nikita MazepinHaas+3 laps
19Mick SchumacherHaasDNF
20Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauriDNF
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