Words by Fiona Mansell
This Grand Prix was the home race of Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez, currently second in the constructor’s championship. For many Mexican fans, he is the man they have come to see.
The Mexico Grand Prix will truly test the Formula One teams. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez lies at more than 2,200 meters above sea level.
The high altitude means the cars challenge the aerodynamics of the cars and importantly the cooling, resulting in the cars struggling with overheating breaks. As a result, teams have had to consider that in their upgrades ahead of the weekend. However, it also means some of the fastest speeds of any Formula One track.
This was also a special race for Nico Hulkenberg as he celebrated his 200th grand prix race.
Practice Sessions – Live Report
Max Verstappen holds the record for the most wins here at the Mexico Grand Prix with four. So, it is no surprise he is dominating the track setting the fastest lap times. On the second practice was once again Verstappen led with a time of 1:18:686.
The first practice also saw five rookie drivers take to the track. Including, Oliver Bearman replacing Kevin Magnussen Haas. He impressed as he outperformed two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.
Alex Albon also surprised in his Williams, setting the second-fastest lap time in practices one and three.
Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton, and Charles Leclerc appeared to be doing well in these practice sessions and were some favourites to do well.
Perez appeared to be growing into these practice sessions as he set the third fastest lap of the final session.
Daniel Riccardo is also growing in confidence after his return securing P6 on this practice.
Norris and Perez started to challenge each other at turn four in the first practice. Eventually, Perez went too deep into the corner giving way to Norris who is looking strong.
Carlos Sainz felt under the weather entering this weekend as he was unable to perform media duties leading up to the weekend. However, it appears that it was not just his struggle but his car too.
Alonso had quite a scare during this practice session as he lost the rear of the car. Eventually spinning out but recovering it and carrying on with smoking tires.
However, he was not the only one struggling for control of their car Hulkenberg drifted at turn seven and Logan Sergeant took out a bollard after too tight a line at turn two.
Turn 12 appeared to be an issue for drivers including Pierre Gasly. His late-breaking caused him to spin out. Yuki Tsunoda, Oscar Piastri, and Sainz all misjudged the corner going wide.
Qualifying – Live Report
Ferrari shocked with a front row lockout.
A lot of people counted Ferrari out of qualifying after setting some slower laps. However, they were shocked and secured a front-row lockout with Leclerc on pole. Despite Verstappen dominating practices and the rest of qualifying he only starts P3. Leclerc himself expressed shock at the Ferraris’s surprising pace.
“I did not expect to be on pole position today. We thought we were lacking quite a bit after FP3. But for some reason, once we put everything together, it went well, with the new tyres we gained a lot.”
Norris has a devastating qualifying session after four podiums in a row and appears strong as he finishes qualifying P19. On his initial lap, his wheels locked up meaning slow lap time. Then Alonso spins out causing a yellow flag and Norris ends his session early unable to improve his time.
Albon again was looking strong in his Williams securing his way into Q1. However, he then had his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits meaning he starts from P14.
It was a great qualifying for Daniel Riccardo too who starts P4 outperforming Perez at his home race.
The Mexico GP: Race – Live Report
A shocking start to the Mexico Grand Prix as Perez is forced to retire after contact with Leclerc.
s the race started, Verstappen squeezed between the two Ferraris with Sainz eventually fell behind. Perez comes along the outside as of Leclerc forcing him to be trapped between the two Red Bulls. Perez and Leclerc make contact and the Ferrari in sandwiched between two Red Bulls.
Leclerc receives front wing damage and Perez must retire as Verstappen leads the race.
Yuki Tsundoa in Alpha Tauri must start at the back of the grid due to a penalty. The team and his car received new parts some of which are restricted. Meaning these parts fall outside of this season allocation.
This meant Norris started in P17 unfortunately he was not able to make an initial difference to his position, but he began slowly climbing up through the pack.
Verstappen pits earlier appearing to be aiming for a two-stop race leaving Leclerc leading the Mexican Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton also has an impressive overtake on Riccardo and then on Sainz. Leclerc pits aiming for a one-stop strategy coming out ahead of Hamilton.
Haas driver, Kevin Magnussen crashed into the barriers after something with his left rear tire broke. The driver was okay and red flags were waved meaning a stop in the race as they fixed the barriers.
Norris was able to work his way up the pack but during the restart, he dropped 4 places. This meant having to repeat and take over drivers again. Eventually, he does and ends up 12 places ahead of where he started demonstrating some impressive overtakes while he does it.
Hamilton once again has an impressive overtake getting past Leclerc and working his way into second place.
Tsunoda and Piastri also are battling it out in the seventh and eighth unfortunately ending in contact with Tsunoda spinning off the track and losing several places.
Aston Martin again had trouble as both drivers did not finish the race.
Overall, the Mexico Grand Prix was eventful, surprising, and disappointing for many drivers. Despite some disappointment for Norris in qualifying and after the restart, he showed great strength to keep driving and overtaking securing P5.
Ferrari surprised with a front-row lockout, but Verstappen dominated again. Demonstrating some incredible pace. Another surprise was Riccardo securing P7 and towards the end battling George Russel’s Mercedes.
Verstappen once again dominated this weekend demonstrating great pace and why he has broken his record of 16 wins in a season.