High altitude key to Red Bull Formula 1 team's Mexican GP dominance

The Red Bull Formula 1 team thinks the high altitude creating a level engine power playing field was key to its dominant Mexico Grand Prix victory with Max Verstappen

High altitude key to Red Bull Formula 1 team's Mexican GP dominance

The Mexico City circuit's height meant the air was less dense, and that narrowed the performance spread between rival engine manufacturers.

Verstappen narrowly missed out on pole position to Sebastian Vettel, but snatched the lead at Turn 1 and charged to a straightforward win ahead of Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes and Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari.

While Red Bull knows its car is aerodynamically efficient, team principal Christian Horner said the Renault engine's disadvantages were cancelled out in Mexico.

"What happens is that the engine plays less of a role," he said.

"It is the most competitive we have looked in straightline speed all season.

"We got pretty close to pole position and then our qualifying [engine] mode is the same as our race modes, so we therefore look very competitive in race trim.

"The altitude, as we have seen in the last couple of seasons, has been a bit of a leveller on that front."

Although Verstappen's main rivals for victory - Vettel and Lewis Hamilton - were effectively out of contention after their first-lap clash, Horner thinks his driver had both of them covered anyway.

"Bearing in mind we lapped Lewis and were closing in on [lapping] Sebastian, I have no doubt that we were in really good shape," he said.

The only frustration for Red Bull was that it missed out on the opportunity to have two cars on the podium.

Daniel Ricciardo had made it up from 16th on the grid, following an engine change penalty, to seventh in the first five laps before an MGU-H problem put him out.

"I think Daniel could have been at least third," said Horner.

"He was right behind Kimi and looking in great shape, and I think he would actually have given Bottas a hard time.

"It was a shame that we didn't have both cars.

"But Daniel had a run of great fortune earlier in the year and as I have always said it unfortunately always tends to balance itself out."

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