Mexico Grand Prix Victory Edges Lewis Hamilton Closer To Championship Title
Lewis Hamilton is slowly homing in on a sixth world championship title, but he had to work for victory at the 2019 Mexico Grand Prix. The Mercedes were not the quickest cars throughout the weekend but Sunday is when the points are won and lost. But it looked over from the start for Hamilton. Starting third on the grid behind a Ferrari front-row lockout Hamilton was squeezed onto the grass verge by Sebastian Vettel as the Mercedes looked set to out drag the Ferrari going into to turn one. Hamilton’s momentum was lost and this set up a first corner battle with Verstappen. Nothing is ever straight forward when going wheel to wheel with Verstappen. Contact is often the accepted norm. Inevitably the two made contact and exited over the grass, as a result, Hamilton Mercedes picked up floor damages and both lost position.
Hamilton dropped down to fifth and it seemed as though the race had already concluded into a Ferrari 1-2 finish. Meanwhile, Verstappen had another encounter this time with Bottas. And this second fight for position would end up being the nail in Verstappen’s Sunday race. Verstappen again made contact, the collision with Bottas though slight caused a tyre to puncture. Meanwhile, the Ferraris powered on ahead with Leclerc leading and Vettel a close second.
Seven laps in and the race settled into a rhythm. Alex Albon kept his Red Bull Honda nose clean and was securely in third. Albon was showing good pace, able to keep the Ferraris within a few seconds. Indeed the Red Bull was the fastest package in Mexico, in Verstappen’s hands, it was a race-winning combination. But Verstappen was falling down the order as he made his way back to the pits on three wheels.
Hamilton by now had made it back to fourth and as the race progressed was able to keep within watching distance of the Ferraris and Red Bull ahead of him. But Mercedes decided to pit Hamilton early and switched from the mediums to hard tyres for a majority of the race. This meant Hamilton spent 48 out of 72 laps on the hard compound tyre.
Despite the damaged floor which unsettled the aerodynamic stability of the Mercedes Hamilton somehow managed his tyres to the extent that he negated the advantage of those who opted to stop twice. Vettel finished 2nd followed by early race leader and teammate, Charles Leclerc. Leclerc fell victim to a botched pit stop which cost him time. Alex Albon finished 5th with Max Verstappen in a recovery drive 6th.
The race had Red Bull victory written all over it on Saturday however Verstappen was demoted from pole position after ignoring yellow flags in qualifying. That all but handed the race to Ferrari, but in the end and despite the damage, the slowest car won. It still doesn’t make any sense, but when you have Lewis Hamilton the impossible becomes possible.
2019 Mexico Grand Prix Race Results:
|5||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||71||+21.399s||10|
|6||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||71||+68.807s||8|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||71||+73.819s||6|
|9||10||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||70||+1 lap||2|
|10||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||70||+1 lap||1|
|11||26||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||70||+1 lap||0|
|12||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||70||+1 lap||0|
|13||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||70||+1 lap||0|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||70||+1 lap||0|
|15||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||69||+2 laps||0|
|16||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||69||+2 laps||0|
|17||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||69||+2 laps||0|
|18||88||Robert Kubica||Williams Mercedes||69||+2 laps||0|
|NC||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||58||DNF||0|
|NC||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||48||DNF||0|
Note – Kvyat received a post-race, 10-second time penalty after hitting the rear of Hulkenberg