HAMILTON WINS IN MEXICO AHEAD OF VETTEL AND BOTTAS
Lewis has scored his 10th victory of the season at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, maximising a pitch perfect strategy to recover from a first lap collision with Max Verstappen to claim Mexican Grand Prix victory ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas...
Hamilton’s race got off to difficult start. When the start lights went out pole sitter Charles Leclerc of Ferrari got away well, as did Hamilton, starting from third on the grid. The Briton’s good start resulted in P2 starter Sebastian Vettel moving across to defend and the Mercedes driver was forced well wide. Their battle allowed Red Bull driver Verstappen, starting from fourth, to draw alongside Hamilton in the first corner. There was contact as they went into Turn 2, with both going off onto the grass. Hamilton rejoined in fifth place but Verstappen dropped to eighth place.
The chief beneficiary of their battle was Alex Albon in the second Red Bull. After making a good start from P5 on the grid the Thai racer capitalised when Verstappen clashed with Hamilton and he slipped past to claim third place behind the Ferrari's.
Verstappen race then took another hit. After his first lap woes he was soon fighting back and on lap four he challenged Bottas for P7in the Foro Sol stadium section. In the process his rear right tyre connected with the endplate of Bottas’ front wing and the Red Bull man sustained a puncture. Having passed the pit entrance Verstappen was forced to limp around the entire circuit before he could pit for repairs, and after taking on hard tyres he emerged in P20.
At the front, Albon was the first of the leaders to pit, with the Red Bull driver heading for the pit lane at the end of lap 14. He took on another set of medium tyres and after McLaren’s Carlos Sainz made his sole stop of the race on the following lap, Albon to fourth place behind Leclerc who pitted on lap 15 for medium tyres.
Vettel now led the race from Hamilton and Bottas and as the laps counted appeared that the trio were aiming for single-stop races. Hamilton then pitted on lap 23 for hard tyres, but Ferrari opted not to cover the Briton and kept Vettel on track.
Verstappen, meanwhile, was again climbing through the pack and by lap 30 he was back into the points, dismissing Sainz to take 10thplace.
Ahead, Vettel continued to eke out laps on his fading starting mediums. Bottas pitted on lap 36 for hard tyres and then at the end of the next lap Vettel finally dived into the pit lane to take a set of hard tyres. He emerged in fourth behind race leader Leclerc, Hamilton and Albon.
Leclerc made his second stop on lap 43 and Albon then made his second stop at the end of the following lap.
Further back Verstappen was continuing to make progress. On lap 50 Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo finally pitted to shed his starting hard tyres and the Australian’s stop boosted the Red Bull man to sixth place.
In the closing stages Vettel pushed hard to reel in Hamilton, but with the hard compound tyres seemingly delivering unwavering lap times no matter their age, there was little benefit in the Ferrari driver possessing 13-lap newer tyres than the Mercedes man.
And after 71 laps Hamilton crossed the line 1.7 seconds ahead of the German to take his 83rdcareer win and his 10thof the season. Behind Vettel, Bottas took third place for Mercedes, while Charles Leclerc was fourth in the second Mercedes ahead of Albon and Verstappen.
Sergio Pérez took a well-worked seventh place on him soil after starting from P11, while Ricciardo also enjoyed a successful afternoon finishing in P8 after starting 13thon the grid. Pierre Gasly was ninth for Toro Rosso and the final point went to Nico Hulkenberg. The Renault driver was forced to limp to the line though after being hit by Daniil Kvyat on the final lap but though Kvyat finished 10thhe was quickly handed a 10s time penalty and Hulkenberg earned the final point on offer.