2019 Mexican Grand Prix Review

Mercedes took a stunning win in Mexico after Lewis Hamilton executed an one stop strategy. (Image credit: LAT Images)

This weekend saw Formula One touch down in Mexico City for the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, as Lewis Hamilton had the first of four championship points over Valtteri Bottas if he was to land a sixth title. 

Ferrari and Red Bull however were looking to continue their good form at a track destined to suit their cars, whilst the midfield fight raged on as the fight for fourth in the Constructors’ championship continues to intensify. 

Without further ado, here is how everyone got on around the high altitude circuit of Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. 

 

Mercedes

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Race results: Lewis Hamilton – 1st, Valtteri Bottas – 3rd

Given that Mexico hasn’t traditionally suited Mercedes, they managed to have one of their most unbelievable weekends yet.

Whilst they were impressive in damp conditions in FP1 & 3, they really struggled in the dry conditions but to qualify close to the two Ferraris was mightily impressive, and particularly after a huge crash for Bottas at the end of qualifying that miraculously didn’t require a pitlane start after repairs.

An one-stop strategy for both drivers however was key to gifting Hamilton the win on hard tyres, which did 47 laps whereas Bottas went longer in the first stint which meant that he could distract Sebastian Vettel from going for victory and keep the title fight alive until next weekend at least.

Overall, this must rank as one of if not Mercedes’ most shocking wins in the hybrid era and we now have the title fight rumbling on to Texas next weekend.

 

Ferrari

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Race results: Sebastian Vettel – 2nd, Charles Leclerc – 4th

This track was always going to suit Ferrari’s car with its long straights but surprisingly, they seemed to lack tyre grip in the final sector which was quite unusual by their standards.

A front row lockout however happened by luck and they took full advantage early on, even if Vettel deserved a penalty for forcing Hamilton onto the grass at the start but karma soon got its hands on them.

Vettel then blew his chances by ignoring calls to pit and almost getting his front wing ripped off by Carlos Sainz, which ultimately meant that he found himself in a Mercedes sandwich with the greater need to fend off Bottas than go for the win.

Leclerc meanwhile just had bad luck in that his second stop went wrong before a mistake at Turn Four on Lap 59 destroyed his momentum and shot at a podium finish, despite otherwise driving a neat race but the fastest lap point could be key in his bid for third place in the drivers’ championship.

Ferrari should therefore consider this a win that got away from them through a mix of various factors.

 

Red Bull

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Race results: Alexander Albon – 5th, Max Verstappen – 6th

This weekend has definitely been tough for both sides of the Red Bull garage in a Sliding Doors type manner. 

Let start with Albon because he had a mixed Friday in which he fared well in FP1 but then had a huge shunt early in FP2 to curtail his running. 

He then bounced back with a solid Saturday to qualify fifth despite Verstappen being the faster driver as often is the case, although it was Sunday where he shone with an excellent start to get up to third and push Vettel in the early stages but fifth was his best due to their strategy. 

Nevertheless, it was a positive recovery which will be a huge factor in whether he gets the seat permanently next season alongside Verstappen, who had the opposite type of weekend.

Verstappen had a solid set of practice sessions as usual and produced a brilliant pair of laps to take pole, although he shouldn’t of revealed that he had ignored yellow flags for Bottas’ crash as he received a three place penalty as a consequence. 

If he hadn’t of done that then he could of well won this race for the third consecutive season, because things just unravelled from thereon in with a first lap incident dropping him down the order. 

A puncture from Bottas as he tried to recover places then destroyed his race but to fight back to sixth highlights what could of been if he had started from pole. 

Overall, Red Bull should consider this a race win lost like Ferrari definitely should too because they both could of been duelling for the win all race long. 

 

McLaren

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Race results: Carlos Sainz – 13th, Lando Norris – Retired

McLaren have had another consistent weekend with both cars qualifying in the top ten, even if Norris did experience a few niggles throughout Friday as he got to grips with the circuit for the first time as a race driver after running in just FP1 last year.

Qualifying then proved rather impressive as both cars finished ahead of Toro Rosso but individual errors cost them a double points finish in the race, as Norris retired to save parts after a pitstop error destroyed his race.

Sainz meanwhile was consistent all weekend and had a great start to briefly go fourth, although his race unravelled when he put the hard tyres on which was a shame given the potential in that car. 

McLaren therefore will consider this a race lost but they need to hit back next weekend if want to be sure of fourth in the Constructors’ battle. 

 

Renault

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Race results:  Daniel Ricciardo – 8th, Nico Hulkenberg – 10th

I don’t have much to say about Renault other than they had a solid weekend despite a hydraulics issue preventing them from running in FP3, although they nailed their strategy perfectly in the race.

Ricciardo in particular stood out with a great opening 50 lap strategy before pitting for mediums, which very nearly got them seventh if it hadn’t been for a stern defence from Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, coupled with a late error at Turn One on Lap 62 in which he outbraked himself and had to give back the place.

Hulkenberg meanwhile drove a quiet but solid race although he was robbed of two points with a clumsy last corner move from Daniil Kvyat, which became one after the Russian got a post race time penalty.

Ultimately, a good haul of five points has put them in pole position to take fifth in the Constructors’ championship, although they have work to do still in one lap pace.

 

Toro Rosso

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Race results: Pierre Gasly – 9th, Daniil Kvyat – 11th

Mexico has clearly been one of Toro Rosso’s best weekends this season because they were faster than Renault in most sessions, although a two stop strategy ultimately benefitted Gasly.

Speaking of Gasly, he struggled with a bug that seemed to be going round the paddock this weekend so to be consistently close to his teammate is impressive, although the fact that they reached Q3 on softs probably cost him in terms of fighting Racing Point and Renault for seventh.

Kvyat meanwhile drove a consistent weekend without any issues although he was rather optimistic in his last lap clipping of Hulkenberg, which ultimately cost him a points finish but Gasly benefitted to jump two spots to ninth.

Overall, Toro Rosso will be happy with how this weekend has played out but there is still room for improvement if they want to pip Renault to fifth.

 

Racing Point

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Race results: Sergio Perez – 7th, Lance Stroll – 12th

After a promising showing in Japan, Racing Point faced a tougher weekend due to a FP1 crash for Stroll but they managed to fight their way to a solid haul of six points. 

I however feel that it could of been a double points finish if Stroll had qualified higher than 16th, because Perez nailed the prime strategy and if Stroll had gone for the alternative like Ricciardo then Racing Point could of had a double points finish. 

Speaking of Perez, he drove a stern defensive race in the second-half to see off the charging Ricciardo for seventh after initially dragging his car to 11th on the grid in qualifying in front of his home fans. 

Racing Point however need to find a setup that enables Stroll to deliver his potential, otherwise questions will have to be asked of his F1 future beyond next season because this was a possible double points finish lost in qualifying.

 

Alfa Romeo

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Race results: Antonio Giovinazzi – 14th, Kimi Raikkonen – Retired

Alfa Romeo have had a fairly quiet weekend with nothing really of note other than both cars were in a battle of their own all weekend, apart from the occasional pop up in the top ten during practice and qualifying. 

One positive for this team though is that Giovinazzi was close to Raikkonen all weekend, despite the fact that little errors from the Italian in qualifying widened the gap between both drivers.

Overheating however put Raikkonen out near the end but he can now take a fresh gearbox if he wants, which will see him through the remaining races without taking a penalty. 

All in all, this has to be considered as a weekend in which the team learned more about the car despite failing to score points. 

 

Haas

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Race results: Kevin Magnussen – 15th, Romain Grosjean – 17th

Haas will be glad to move onto Texas next weekend after understeering issues plagued both drivers throughout the weekend, in what has been a very poor showing once again. 

On top of that issue, tyre wear continued to be a thorn in their car’s potential because they just couldn’t keep the tyres in shape as often been the case this season and was particularly exposed at this circuit. 

Haas should therefore consider this as a forgettable race but will be hoping for a boost in front of their home fans next weekend. 

 

Williams

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Race results: George Russell – 16th, Robert Kubica – 18th

What a weekend for George Russell because he had never raced here before yet he came here and dominated Kubica all weekend, particularly finishing a second ahead of the Pole in both FP3 and Qualifying. 

Kubica however made the better race start and it was nice to see both drivers enjoying a race long tussle, which Russell eventually edged before also finishing ahead the Haas of Grosjean.

Nicholas Latifi meanwhile did a solid job in FP1 but Russell outpaced him by a second, which just highlights how much of a good weekend it was for the Brit. 

Williams however need to be focused on next season now because there is very little hope of snatching any more points this season. 

 

If missed the opening 17 rounds of this season, get up to date with our race reviews below along with our half-term report.

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