Max Verstappen claimed his 14th victory of the 2022 season in the Mexico City Grand Prix, ahead of Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez, after an intriguing strategic battle played out at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
It secures another record for the Dutchman in his burgeoning career, as he now boasts the most wins in a single F1 campaign, moving one clear of the 13 achieved by Michael Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2013).
Verstappen, whose Red Bull team opted for a soft-medium tyre strategy, took the chequered flag some 15 seconds clear of Hamilton, who was left to question why Mercedes swapped their starting set of mediums for hards.
Perez gave the home fans something to cheer about in third, having threatened to challenge Hamilton late on, while Russell – who lost out to his team mate at the start – took a distant fourth.
Russell was also unhappy with his strategy, repeatedly asking Mercedes to pit again and ditch the hard tyres, which failed to bring the race back to the Silver Arrows in the closing stages – a stop for softs with two laps to run at least yielding the fastest lap.
Ferrari endured a lacklustre race as Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc claimed lonely P5 and P6 finishes, ahead of McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo, who charged his way to seventh with soft tyres late on and kept the position despite a 10-second time penalty for a clash with Yuki Tsunoda.
Esteban Ocon placed eighth, after a painful late retirement for Alpine team mate Fernando Alonso, as the other McLaren of Lando Norris and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas – not quite able to repeat his qualifying performance – completed the points.
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly picked up a five-second penalty for an early, aggressive move on Aston Martin rival Lance Stroll and ultimately missed out on a point by just half a second, with Alex Albon 12th for Williams.
Zhou Guanyu got his Alfa Romeo to the line ahead of Aston Martin pair Vettel – sporting a touching tribute helmet to the late Dietrich Mateschitz – and Stroll, followed by the Haas cars of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen.
Nicholas Latifi was the final finisher in his Williams, with the aforementioned Alonso grinding to a halt with an engine issue late on, and Tsunoda retiring after briefly going airborne in his collision with Ricciardo.
Next up in 2022 is the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, to be held at Interlagos from November 11-13, with F1’s Sprint format returning for the third and final time this season.
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Photo: Formula 1 / Red Bull Racing / Oracle