Max Verstappen dominated the 2023 Mexico City GP by leading from start to finish after a electric launch from the line saw him overtake the pole sitter Charles Leclerc, as Sergio Perez crashed out on Lap 1.
The Dutchman led every lap but Lewis Hamilton denied him the fastest lap on the final tour of the 71-lap race by setting a 1:21.334, which was impressive considering the stint length he did on scrubbed mediums.
Hamilton put on faster but less durable tyres as part of an ambitious strategy to try to beat Charles Leclerc, but despite the Ferrari race engineers anticipating that the hards would become faster from Lap 49 the Brit emphatically proved them wrong.
He maintained a five-second buffer to the Monegasque racer and extended it to 10 seconds come the end of the race. It’s a big result for the Mercedes driver, who gained 18 points on Perez, as he bids to finish second in the drivers’ standings to the world champion.
After Verstappen took the lead he checked out and settled into the usual theme of 2023’s F1 season by racing on his own. He had built up a 20-second lead when a red flag was thrown on Lap 34 for Kevin Magnussen’s crash, and by the end of the race had built it back up to 13.8 seconds.
By doing so, he won his 16th race of the season and broke his own record for most wins in a single season, which was 15 and was set in 2022. It’s been another fine season by the Dutchman who has thoroughly suffocated anyone with the audacity to challenge him and he shows no signs of weakness in his armour.
Perez’s rivals shine at his home race
For Perez, his opening lap retirement was bad enough but it was made even worse by the would-be usurpers for his Red Bull seat, and drivers’ championship spot, all enjoying strong races.
As pressure ramps up on him to deliver good performances, even if they’re not quite on the same level as Verstappen, this was the kind of race he didn’t need and with three rounds to go, he’s running out of time to make a lasting impression on Christian Horner before heading into the winter break.
The Mexican crashed out on the opening lap after attempting to go around the outside into the first corner, but there wasn’t the space to do so and Leclerc subsequently punched a hole into Perez‘s sidepod.
At the end of the lap, the Red Bull driver pulled into the pits before retiring from the race once the scope of the damage was ascertained by his mechanics. It’s a bitterly disappointing result at his home race, although his fans still adored him with a huge cheer when he waved from the pit wall.
Lando Norris showed blistering pace to recover from 17th to a sensational fifth. It was a result he didn’t believe was on the cards pre-race but he continued to show why he’s one of the hottest commodities in Formula 1 and why Red Bull are so interested in his services.
Daniel Ricciardo was another who firmly threw his name into the hat to partner up with Verstappen for 2025, or even 2024, by finishing seventh to record AlphaTauri‘s best result of the season and to lift the team to eighth in the constructors’ championship.
On the final lap, he almost stole sixth from George Russell, getting within 0.060, before the Mercedes driver managed to hang on to the extra two points.
Yuki Tsunoda also showed promising pace, however a clumsy attempted overtake on Oscar Piastri saw his race come to a disappointing end after he was competing for eighth.
And, of course, Hamilton closed to within 18 points of the Mexican thanks to his second place result. Perez is quite lucky that the Brit retired from the Qatar GP and was disqualified from the US GP otherwise he would have been shuffled down to third in the standings.