Verstappen’s woes continue in Mexico

Mark Scott

An incident-packed race for Max Verstappen capped off what has been a miserable Mexican Grand Prix for the Red Bull driver.

Here is how race day unfolded at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez…

Valtteri Bottas was lucky to escape any grid penalties after his qualifying crash – a grid drop would have had severe title implications and so quite rightly he praised his Mercedes mechanics for their work.

Meanwhile it seemed Renault had picked a rather secretive location for a pre-race chat with their driver for 2020 Esteban Ocon.

Mercedes recalling Esteban Ocon will weigh on Renault says Paul Di Resta.

It was the perfect start for Ferrari as they remained one-two with Charles Leclerc ahead of Sebastian Vettel, but contact between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen saw them drop to P5 and P8 respectively.

Lewis Hamilton says it's "very likely" Max Verstappen will crash into you if he isn't given extra space.

Verstappen’s next battle was with Hamilton’s team-mate Bottas, but they too came to blows at the stadium section, leaving Verstappen with a puncture.

Disaster struck for Lando Norris as he pitted on Lap 13 with his new left-front tyre not attached properly when he left his box.

By the time they pushed him back and put the tyre on properly he was a lap down.

Alex Albon pitted from P3 to fit the medium compound, committing to a two-stop. Leclerc soon followed.

A dodgy stop down at Alfa Romeo for Antonio Giovinazzi nearly ended nasty.

It was Hamilton’s turn to box on Lap 23, fitting the hard tyres to go until the end. That meant Leclerc would have to pass Hamilton on track.

And near enough straight away Hamilton was complaining that his team had made the wrong call.

Bottas made his stop on Lap 37 for the hard tyres and Ferrari were quick to cover with Vettel.

The Ferrari man came back out P4 behind Hamilton and Albon.

A very slow stop for Leclerc with a rear-right tyre problem saw him lose four seconds. The Ferrari man came back out P5 on the hard compound.

That became P4 as Albon boxed for a second time – Red Bull showed us all how its done with a 1.9-second stop.

With 20 laps to go Hamilton was leading the way ahead of Vettel, while Bottas was just behind the Ferrari man.

Leclerc in the other red car was slowly undoing the damage of his stop and closing in on the battle.

There would be no changes of position though as Hamilton took the win, but with Bottas in P3, it meant the Brit must wait until at least the United States GP to claim his sixth World Championship.

Verstappen would at least recover to P6, and was even voted Driver of the Day.

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