Max Verstappen left Lewis Hamilton sucking his exhaust to win the 2023 Mexico City GP, going away for his 51st F1 win and record 16th of the season.
–by Mark Cipolloni–
Starting 3rd, Verstappen took the lead in turn 1 from both Ferraris ahead of him and drove a perfect race to school Lewis Hamilton once again by 13.875s. The gap would have been a lot more had the race not been red-flagged at half distance for a big wreck by Nico Hulkenberg.
Verstappen got the job done within seconds of the lights going out: with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc starting from his second Mexico pole position and teammate Carlos Sainz alongside him, the World Champion aimed his Red Bull between the two scarlet cars and passed both on the 811-meter run to the first corner – the longest of the F1 season.
Before a packed house crowd of 152,668 ticket-paying fans. Verstappen tied Alain Prost’s 51 F1 wins to move into a tie for 4th place on the all-time list, and his 16th win of the year is a record, breaking the record of 15 he also held.
Today’s attendance is a new milestone for the Mexico City Grand Prix, which drew a total of 400,639 spectators over the course of the weekend.
“The crowd have been amazing, it’s been incredible” said a happy Verstappen, who has now won this race a record 5 times.
“We are experiencing an incredible season, the pace of the car was very, very good. We tried to do a different strategy to everyone else but thanks to the red flag we couldn’t show it.”
“A big thank you to this incredible crowd, I love coming to this city,” said Hamilton, who was happy to get 2nd place points and fastest lap point.
“This is a great result considering we started sixth, it’s been a difficult couple of weeks and to bounce back from last week – well done to the team. I thought [the medium] wouldn’t last!”
Polesitter Charles Leclerc was a distant third in his Ferrari, 23.124s behind the Dutchman.
“I had nowhere to go, I was between the two Red Bulls and unfortunately I touched Checo, but I had nowhere to go,” said Leclerc about the start Turn 1 incident.
“It’s life, of course I’m disappointed but I didn’t do it on purpose and I had nowhere to go. We struggled a bit with the hard at the restart, [Mercedes] were just better today, that’s life.”
Carlos Sainz Jr. was 4th in the 2nd Ferrari and Lando Norris drove from the back to round out the top-5 for McLaren.
Daniel Ricciardo’s first points since his return lifted AlphaTauri from P10 to eighth in the constructors’ for starters – and he was there on merit too, looking quick throughout the race on all compounds.
The big Mexican crowd was gutted early as Mexican Sergio Perez tried to win the race on lap 1 in Turn 1, made contact with Leclerc, and suffered terminal damage to his Red Bull Honda.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 29, 2023
“I had a tremendous start,’ said the 33-year-old Mexican, ‘the gap was there, I was fully on it – I just went for it. I wasn’t expecting Charles to brake as late as Max and I did. There was no room for three cars, it was a total racing accident. I gave it my all, after probably the best start of the year.”
Looking further ahead, Checo added: “The pace is good, I’m not concerned about that – the results will come.”
Next up is Brazil – and a race where Mercedes won against the odds last year. The track should suit their car, and that could be the thing that stops the Max Verstappen Red Bull juggernaut.
But you discount Verstappen at your peril, as he has proven time and time again this year. It doesn’t matter where he starts, it only matters where he finishes.
2023 Mexico City GP Results – 71 Laps
|1||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+0.000s|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||+13.875s|
|3||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||+23.124s|
|4||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||+27.154s|
|5||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+33.266s|
|6||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||+41.020s|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+41.570s|
|8||Oscar Piastri||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||+43.104s|
|9||Alex Albon||THA||Williams Racing||+48.573s|
|10||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+62.879s|
|11||Pierre Gasly||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+66.208s|
|13||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+78.982s|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||+80.309s|
|14||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||+80.597s|
|15||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||+81.676s|
|16||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||+ 1 lap|
|17||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||+ 5 Laps|
|Fernando Alonso||ESP||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||DNF|
|Kevin Magnussen||DEN||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||DNF|
|Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Red Bull Racing||DNF|