F1 POWER RANKINGS: Who made the biggest impact in Mexico City?
Max Verstappen dominated in Mexico City to put himself 19 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the championship. But did he score highest with our Aramco F1 Power Rankings judges? Read on to find out how they scored the field this week...
HOW IT WORKS
Our six-judge panel assesses each driver after every Grand Prix and scores them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation
Our experts’ scores are then averaged out across the season to create an overall Power Rankings Leaderboard (at the bottom of the page)
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Pierre Gasly scored a brilliant fourth-place finish, his third P4 of 2021, in Mexico for AlphaTauri. The Frenchman, who qualified fourth, was right on Sergio Perez's tail at the start and showed stellar pace over the Ferraris behind – both of whom tried in vain to catch him – to build up a 17-second gap to Charles Leclerc at the finish.
A perfect 10 for the driver who helped AlphaTauri draw level with Alpine in the constructors' standings.
READ MORE: Gasly hails ‘fantastic’ P4 in Mexico as AlphaTauri draw level with Alpine in constructors’
An almost-perfect score for the championship leader, who was almost flawless this weekend. Max Verstappen may have missed out on pole having been distracted by team mate Sergio Perez plus the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda, but he wrestled the lead back around the outside of the two Mercedes and showed insurmountable pace for a record third Mexico victory – eclipsing the likes of Jim Clark and rival Hamilton in those stakes.
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Sebastian Vettel started ninth in Mexico City, missing out on Q3 but benefitting thanks to penalties for others, to finish a solid seventh for Aston Martin. The four-time champion avoided contact at Turn 1 and kept solid pace to nab another place from Antonio Giovinazzi by extending his first stint to be 17 laps longer than the Alfa Romeo driver. In the end, Vettel finished five seconds ahead of Giovinazzi's team mate Kimi Raikkonen.
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Lewis Hamilton missed out on pole position to his team mate Valtteri Bottas in Mexico, but ended up being compromised by the Finn going into Turn 1. He finished over 16 seconds behind his title rival Verstappen at the finish but limited the damage by holding off the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez to take second place. Given Mercedes' apparent pace deficit to Red Bull, perhaps that was the maximum he could have achieved on Sunday.
READ MORE: 'I have a lot of respect for him' – Hamilton clarifies Mexico City GP comments on Perez and Bottas
Sergio Perez's qualifying was compromised when he came across the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda, leaving him P4 on the grid. At the start, he was forced onto the grass to avoid the Ricciardo-Bottas clash but continued in third, going 11 laps longer than Hamilton in his first stint to ensure he would emerge with newer tyres than the defending champion. However, Perez did not manage to take P2 off Hamilton in the final laps.
Yet, his P3 finish on Sunday was the first-ever home podium for a Mexican F1 driver and Perez even became the first Mexican to lead laps at their home Grand Prix.
READ MORE: Horner hails Red Bull’s pace and vows to keep attacking as title fight enters closing stages
Carlos Sainz outqualified Daniel Ricciardo by just 0.002s and team mate Charles Leclerc by under a tenth of a second to ensure P6 on the grid. He was unfortunate to lose out at the start as he avoided spinning cars but went 12 laps longer than his team mate, swapping with Leclerc late on, to attack Gasly at the end.
Sainz couldn't pull it off, however, and had to swap back with Leclerc – putting the Spaniard sixth at the finish to help Ferrari overtake McLaren in the standings.
TECH TUESDAY: How Ferrari's Mexico City brake experiment gave us a glimpse of F1's future
Kimi Raikkonen started 10th in Mexico (promoted two places for other drivers' penalties) with P12 in qualifying his best of the season. The Finn pried a place off George Russell soon after the Lap 5 Safety Car restart, pitting 16 laps after team mate Giovinazzi to finish P8 – his joint-best finish of the season.
READ MORE: Giovinazzi blames strategy that would ‘never work’ after slipping out of the points in Mexico
Charles Leclerc was narrowly behind team mate Sainz in qualifying but started two places behind the Spaniard. From eighth on the grid, he gained three places at the expense of Sainz, Bottas and Ricciardo at the start. The Monegasque driver briefly swapped with Sainz late on but gained P5 back as the ploy to prise P4 off Gasly didn't work.
READ MORE: Ferrari drivers shrug off team orders spat in Mexico after wrenching P3 from McLaren
Engine penalties put Norris, who qualified 10th for Sunday's race, P18 on the grid. The McLaren driver gained four places after torrid opening laps for Bottas, Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda, and gradually carved his way from P14 to to P10 by the chequered flag to give McLaren a single point from Mexico.
Alonso started 12th in Mexico having qualified a disappointing 16th. But that gave him the benefit of brand-new medium tyres and a chance to break into the top 10. On the Lap 5 restart, he gained places off Nikita Mazepin and Antonio Giovinazzi. Going until Lap 39 to pit for hard compounds, the two-time champion took P9 on a difficult day for Alpine.
READ MORE: Alonso ‘a little bit proud’ to take points after poor Mexico qualifying, as Ocon survives Lap 1 mayhem
The three drivers just missing out on our top 10 in Mexico were Antonio Giovinazzi, Yuki Tsunoda, and Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas may have had a rocky start to the race but took a shock pole position at a Red Bull stronghold with a blistering Saturday lap. As for Giovinazzi, the Italian missed out on points having pitted too early, and Tsunoda made it to Q3 for the third consecutive Grand Prix, but unfortunately retired on Lap 1 after a collision with Esteban Ocon.