With a golden helmet and golden shoes
Nothing came of the atmospheric but mostly calm Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday with the first win of the year for the record holder.
16th place for the son of Schumacher
Two titles were awarded before the start, but it was not just about winning the race. Especially after the verdict in the cost dispute with Fia, Red Bull wanted to show everyone and above all the competition between Mercedes and Ferrari. The only record of the season for Verstappen or Pérez’s home win in front of the Mexican crowd at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit – officially 395,902 spectators took to the track in Mexico City.
And those who were there on Sunday got overtake just the way they liked it when the red light went out. Up front, Verstappen was defending the 19th pole of his career, covering the 800 meters before and after the first corner in complete relaxation. But after that it got interesting. Hamilton attacked his teammate Russell. It worked.
The world record holder was now behind Verstappen. Goal: First win this year. Now the 37-year-old, who is aiming for a new multi-year contract with Mercedes, has never finished a season without success since joining the team in 2007. But Russell also had to let Pérez through and at exactly the moment he was about to start, got very loud during the first lap. The day before, either on the way or on the way there in the crowded metro, passionate Mexican fans did not stop shouting: “Cheeeeko, Chiiiko.” The Mexicans have not had a home win before.
At the top, everything calmed down: Verstappen ahead of Hamilton, Perez and Russell. However, two Red Bull teams initially ran on soft tyres, and two Silver Arrows on medium tyres. Means: Verstappen and Perez would have to come to the pit stop earlier.
Even further afield, the German duo ran into trouble after ending qualifying early due to an oddity: Mick Schumacher and
Vettel was able to quickly improve two positions. Schumacher lost places and slipped to 18th place. In the fight for a new contract, the 23-year-old son of Michael Schumacher has no hope. Especially since he lost his best starting position in qualifying – his fastest lap in the first round of the playoffs was canceled because he went off the track in his Haas.
Perez: A period of suffering in boxing
Just over a third of the 71-lap race distance, the four-way battle for victory is in motion again. Perez was called into the pits. But he got stuck in the back left, five seconds of layup and twice as long as Verstappen, who switched to firmer mid-sized tires after two laps. Mexican fans in the stands suffered loudly. Hamilton was now in the lead but only briefly, he also got new tires surprisingly early but with the heaviest lineup.
After Russell was in the pits and sent back to the track with hard tyres, Verstappen was back in the lead with Hamilton second, Perez third and Russell fourth. Both Mercedes drivers complained about the tyres, with team boss Toto Wolf calling Mexico “the best chance” for Mercedes the night before. But the game of tedious poker with the former team of world champions failed. (best/dpa)