F1 Mexican GP: Verstappen cruises to record 14th victory of 2022

Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton in a lifeless 2022 Mexican Formula 1 Grand Prix, after Mercedes’ alternative tyre strategy against Red Bull did not pay off.

F1 Mexican GP: Verstappen cruises to record 14th victory of 2022

After acing the start from pole and once it became clear well ahead of the final laps that his medium tyres would hold on, Verstappen dominated to take a 14th victory of 2022 and in doing so set a new record for single season wins.

Home hero Sergio Perez finished third ahead of George Russell, with the Ferrari drivers a minute behind by the finish in fifth and sixth.

At the start, Verstappen launched well in front of Russell and swung right in front of the Mercedes on the very long run down to the first corner – with Russell gaining from the Red Bull’s slipstream to run ahead of Hamilton and Perez.

Just before they braked for Turn 1, Russell moved left to the outside line but ended up just following Verstappen through the right hander and deep towards the grass runoff on the outside.

As Verstappen scampered through unopposed, Russell bounced over the kerbs at Turn 2, with Hamilton by this time alongside his team-mate and getting ahead with better drive out of Turn 3.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

There, Russell came along Hamilton but ran out of room and had to climb over the kerbs, therefore losing momentum and being jumped the quickly arriving Perez into Turn 4 at the end of the second straight.

Verstappen immediately moved out of DRS threat at the end of lap one of 71, with Hamilton giving chase having started on the medium tyres, as did Russell, compared to the used softs fitted to the two Red Bulls.

Over the next phase of the race, the gap between the leaders fluctuated slightly, but generally held around 1.5s as Perez and Russell ran a few seconds further adrift and falling further behind over the course of the first stint.

Approaching the end of the race’s first quarter, Verstappen upped his pace in a bid to break the tow to the Mercedes, but Hamilton was able to hang on just over two seconds behind before the leader’s softs began to give up.

From a maximum of 2.4s, Verstappen’s advantage was down to 1.6s by the time he came in at the end of lap 25 – one tour after Perez had pitted and suffered a slow left-rear change that left him stationary for 5.0s.

Running the more durable tyre, Mercedes left Hamilton out – his mediums showing none of the dark wear patches that had been evident on Verstappnen’s left-front soft before he stopped.

But Hamilton only remained out for another four laps before he was brought in to switch to the hard tyres, with Mercedes instead leaving Russell out to complete a much longer first stint.

He therefore led until the end of lap 34, Verstappen cycling back into the lead at half-distance with a near seven second lead and Hamilton under more pressure from Perez running closely behind – the Mexican driver having cleared the off-the-pace Ferrari pair after his slow stop.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Hamilton suggested the hards were not performing as well as the mediums he had given up, with Mercedes in turn implying performance drop off logged at the end of his first stint might give him a chance to catch Verstappen late on.

That looked a mighty ask 15 laps into Hamilton’s second as he faced a near 10s gap to the dominant leader, but at least able to keep Perez at arm’s length just a few seconds behind.

Indeed, the status quo continued to hold, with Hamilton questioning whether his hard tyre set was the right compound to be on and Mercedes insisting it was due to its added durability on a one-stopper.

But with Verstappen continuing to edge away by a few tenths each lap as the leaders made their way through traffic, with 15 laps left he had a lead of 12.1s.

As it turned out, Mercedes’ hoped for dramatic pace drop off for Red Bull never happened and Verstappen romped home to win by 15.1s having completed a mammoth 46-lap final stint on the mediums.

A late race stoppage for Fernando Alonso, who had been running comfortably in seventh before an engine issue caused him to lose pace and eventually stop in the Turn 1 runoff, did not cause much of a disruption other than a short virtual safety car activation on laps 65-66.

Perez ended up 2.9s behind Hamilton having fallen further behind shortly before the VSC, with Russell fourth and also vocally frustrated about having to run the hards in his second stint.

That ended up only being his middle stint as Mercedes pitted Russell to take the softs for a final lap shot at the fastest lap bonus point, which the Briton duly secured with a 1m20.153s.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Carlos Sainz led Charles Leclerc home in an anonymous race for Ferrari – the Spaniard ending up 58.8s adrift of Verstappen, and the only action for the pair involving Perez’s post-stop passing and Sainz doing likewise to Alonso after his own service to go from softs to mediums.

Leclerc the last car on the lead lap and 10s behind his team-mate, the drama to the finish concerned McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.

He had produced the second longest opening stint on the mediums in staying out until lap 45, after which he was rapid on the softs but made a bad error hitting Yuki Tsunoda at Turn 6 a few laps after his pitstop.

With the AlphaTauri retiring in the pits, Ricciardo was handed a 10s-time addition penalty, which he overcame with a sterling drive up the field after being waved by team-mate Lando Norris, who was completing the medium-hard strategy.

Ricciardo produced pass after pass – including being part of a double move on Alonso into Turn 1 shortly before the Spaniard retired, with his team-mate Esteban Ocon going by ahead of Ricciardo into Turn 1 before in turn being caught and passed by the Australian.

In clear air, from there, Ricciardo charged and eventually finished 12.1s ahead of Ocon to negate his penalty.

Norris and Valtteri Bottas, who had dropped back on lap one after his fine qualifying and then battled the Alpines in the first and middle phases of the race before falling back, completing the top 10.

Tsunoda was the race’s only other retirement.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 71 -
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 15.186
3 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 71 18.097
4 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes 71 49.431
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari 71 58.123
6 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 71 1'08.774
7 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 70 1 lap
8 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 70 1 lap
9 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 70 1 lap
10 Finland Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 70 1 lap
11 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 70 1 lap
12 Thailand Alex Albon Williams 70 1 lap
13 China Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 70 1 lap
14 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 70 1 lap
15 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 70 1 lap
16 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 70 1 lap
17 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 70 1 lap
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 69 2 laps
  Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 63  
  Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 50  
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F1 race results: Max Verstappen wins Mexican GP to set new record
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Hamilton: Red Bull "too fast" for Mercedes to beat in F1 Mexican GP

Hamilton: Red Bull "too fast" for Mercedes to beat in F1 Mexican GP
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