What the teams said – Race day in Mexico
After a disappointing qualifying, things very quickly went in Red Bull’s favour today. Verstappen found himself the last of the late brakers as he swept around the outside into Turn 1 to take the lead, which he never looked likely to relinquish on a day where the Red Bull had pace to burn. Perez had a harder time, taking avoiding action to bump over the grass on the first lap before finding himself chasing down Hamilton at the end, albeit with fresher tyres. He came close to his quarry a number of times, but in the dirty air couldn’t find a way past. But as the first Mexican to score a podium on home soil, Perez should be satisfied with his day's work.
Max Verstappen, 1st
“It was an incredible day for the Team and also for the fans, to have Checo on the podium here in Mexico at his home Grand Prix was great, so it couldn’t have been better. I knew the start was very important today, we were three wide at one point and I was on the more ideal race line so I could brake later and get into the lead. After that I could do my own thing, the pace was very good today so I could just keep building and creating a gap, the pit stops were seamless and the car was good throughout the race which was crucial today. Checo, for the last few races has really picked it up, he’s been up there and he was really pressuring Lewis today towards the end. I’m still not thinking about that trophy, we’ll try again in Brazil and just keep pushing.”
Sergio Perez, 3rd
“This is a great result for my country, I really wanted more but unfortunately we didn’t get that. It was so messy in turn one so to avoid incident there was critical and then I wanted second place, but we didn’t get the chance because it is just so difficult to overtake around here. I was really close to getting Lewis but the Mercedes are so quick on the straight lines so I didn’t get a opportunity to go for it but I gave my best. I could feel the fans energy when I was going through the stadium sector and I was thinking about how many people were here for me, I could actually hear the crowd when I was driving through Foro Sol. I wanted more but I am just very happy to be on the podium of my home country, the Mexicans were so happy today. We are so competitive as drivers that when we finish third we aren’t happy but today I had to enjoy it, everyone who has been there since the start with me was there at the end of the race and that was an amazing moment for me. I think today we were the fastest Team but that is going to swing around for the remainder of the season, so we just have to keep our focus and keep pushing.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“Today was a big race and a big team win. It was a flawless performance from the entire team, from drivers to pitstops to strategy to reliability, it was a really strong team performance. Max was phenomenal again today, he found some space at turn one, and I have to say Bottas was very fair and allowed him enough space, and Max made the most of it and was then able to control the race. It’s the first time Honda have had a driver win nine races in a year, as Max was tied with Senna on eight, so that’s a great achievement for him and Honda. What a weekend it has been for Checo, the first Mexican to lead the home Grand Prix and first to finish on the podium, his third in as many races, is really special. He’s found his confidence in the car and his performances are getting stronger and stronger, it’s exactly what we were hoping for from him. Next up is Brazil where it’s a sprint race and we still haven’t won a sprint race weekend yet. We saw how competitive Mercedes were this weekend, particularly in qualifying, so we are taking nothing for granted. There are still 107 points available, it’s a long way to go and there’s a lot of racing left.”
It didn’t take long for things to unravel for Mercedes today. Side by side into the first corner, first Verstappen got through, and then Bottas got tagged into a spin by Ricciardo in a typical racing incident. That ended his involvement at the front, but he looked like he could recover into the points until his second pit stop was a slow one. The only bright spot was that the Finn grabbed fastest lap at the end to deny Red Bull the bonus point. As for Hamilton, he at least avoided contact at the start, but once Verstappen was ahead he just had no answer for the pace of the RB16B today.
Lewis Hamilton, 2nd
"First, congratulations to Max. That car was faster than we were this weekend and there's nothing we could really do about it. I gave it absolutely everything and obviously a great fight with Sergio at the end but I'm grateful I could still at least get a second-place finish. It was easy enough to hold on - I've been in that situation many times before - but it shows how fast their car was when Sergio was that close behind me and able to follow that closely. He did a great job! Even so, I really enjoyed the race and got everything out of it that we could today. Now we need to get our heads down and keep working hard to prepare for the next races, they will be coming at us fast over the next two weekends."
Valtteri Bottas, 15th
"It was an unlucky day for me today. As I turned into Turn 1, I got hit from behind and spun me around - then I was stuck in traffic and couldn't make progress. I was giving it everything but it was hard running in traffic because I was overheating the brakes and engine, so I couldn't get past the McLaren in front. The situation at the end with fastest lap was a bit funny, it wasn't easy to find a clear space on track but in the end we were able to make it stick and at least take that point away from Red Bull. Overall, not a great day today - but at least the next race is on Sunday, so we can come back stronger then."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"First, we must congratulate Red Bull because their pace was on another level. I don't think we could have won the race even if we had stayed ahead in the first corner because they could have pincered us around the pit stops. At the end, I think for Lewis' championship it was damage limitation and he drive a brilliant race with the equipment he was given. As for the Constructors', Valtteri spinning out at Turn 1 was just very painful. Looking at the start, we had two cars in front but it seemed to open up for Max to come around the outside - then the spin for Valtteri cost us the points that we could have had for a third or fourth place finish. Looking ahead to Brazil, this has also traditionally been a Red Bull track - but we're going to pick ourselves up and give it everything to fight back, then we have three more to go after that."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"A difficult day; most of what went wrong did so in the first twenty seconds but ultimately we didn't have the pace and with only one car left at the head of the race, second place was the best that Lewis could have achieved. The launch phase of the starts were good, arguably Lewis's was too good as it meant he couldn't tow off Valtteri. Unfortunately Max was able to take that advantage and then found his way onto the racing line into turn 1 to take the lead. Valtteri then got spun round when Riccardo locked up and hit him which basically took him out of contention. The story of Lewis's race was quite straight forward; we had to react early on the first stop to protect against an undercut from Sergio which meant we had a long stint to the finish but Lewis managed it very well to secure second place. We've still got four races today, we're not where we hoped to be in the championships but we will leave no stone unturned trying to find performance in these final races."
Gasly did indeed have the best view of the first corner, and luckily took the outside line so avoided the spinning Bottas. From there he was quick and untroubled to come home a superb fourth. Tsunoda though wasn’t as fortunate. Contact with Ocon ended his involvement after just a couple of corners, leaving his stricken car parked ignominiously on a bollard for good measure.
Pierre Gasly, 4th
“I’m extremely happy, P4 is such a great result and we couldn’t ask for a better weekend. Everything was under control with Charles behind, I was able to pull away nicely and manage the entire race well from fourth position. This weekend the car has really been there, we delivered yesterday in quali and then again in the race today and finishing ahead of Ferrari always feels good as well. We’re equal on points with Alpine now, it’s my personal plan to deliver fifth in the championship to Franz and the whole team – a nice and well deserved Christmas gift – so we’ll keep pushing for that. The way we’re currently working as a team I think we’ll be able to find our chances in the next few races.”
Yuki Tsunoda, DNF
“It’s such a shame, the car has been good here and, even if it wasn’t going to be easy, I think there could still have been an opportunity to score points today. It’s just unfortunate, the car next to me got sandwiched and then I was hit, these things happen in racing though. Overall, this race week has been really good, as the performance of the car has been strong, so it’s so disappointing not to be finishing the race.”
Franz Tost, Team Principal
“Big congratulations to Max, this victory means a big step towards the possibility of winning the Championship. It’s been wonderful coming back here to Mexico. There are so many Formula 1 fans and it’s really exciting to see all the grandstands full of passionate people. It’s been very interesting to see Checo, especially in the last laps, fighting while chasing Hamilton.
"From our side, I must say that we had a very successful weekend. Pierre qualified yesterday in fifth position and the strategy was clear today: he had to survive in the first corner, keep the Ferraris behind and bring home P5. Due to Bottas’ spin on the first lap, he was able to move up to fourth place and he defended this up to the chequered flag. We know how difficult it is here in Mexico to manage the tyres and the brakes at this altitude, and Pierre was incredible during the entire race, behaving in a very professional way. Pierre and the team did a fantastic job across the whole weekend and the car showed a very good performance.
"Yuki was a bit unfortunate today. He had to start from P17 because of the Power Unit change and then in the first corner Ocon crashed into him, so he couldn’t continue the race as the car was damaged too heavily. He showed great pace across the weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing how he performs now for the rest of the season. We hope we will not have any more penalties to take, meaning he should be in the top 10 and regularly scoring points in the remaining races. We will now get ready for Sao Paulo where I hope we can show a similar performance. We will have the Sprint but having a fast car should definitely help.”
Leclerc kept out of trouble at the start, while Sainz dropped a couple of places and had to work a bit harder to get back into the mix. Once there, the team ran the Spaniard long and with better tyres, he was allowed past his team mate to try and hunt down Gasly. But when he couldn’t get close, they were swapped back to leave Leclerc a solid fifth, Sainz sixth and the team back in third in the constructors’.
Charles Leclerc, 5th
"Fifth and sixth is a solid result to take home from this weekend, as the race turned out a bit different to how we had expected.
"My first stint on the Mediums was strong and my pace was very competitive. We stopped relatively early for Hards to try and put pressure on Gasly ahead of us, while Carlos went long to create a tyre delta and try to challenge him towards the end of the race. We swapped positions but unfortunately, neither of us managed to catch him. His pace was quite a surprise today.
"On my side, I struggled on the Hard tyres on my second stint. However, as a whole, I think that today was a good day and an example of our team spirit."
Carlos Sainz, 6th
"It was one of my best races this season in terms of pace, as I was very fast for the entire weekend and also in the race on both Medium and Hard tyres. Starting on the dirty side was, as expected, very difficult and then I was unlucky with the accident in front of me, as I had to slam on the brakes to avoid Bottas and then Ricciardo with a broken front wing, losing some positions.
"I was able to immediately retake the position from Giovinazzi at the restart and then my pace was always solid. We did very good pit stops with both cars and in the final part of the race I had more pace than Charles, so I believe it was the right call to swap positions and not take unnecessary risks. If we had raced each other the opportunity to catch Gasly would have been even more difficult. At the end of the race we swapped positions again as part of the team strategy.
"Today we brought home a good amount of points compared to our closest rivals and we are now ahead of them. That, together with my strong pace all weekend, are the important positives to take from Mexico. On to Brazil!"
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"Today’s result keeps us on course to reach our objective in this final stage of the season, which is to finish third in the Constructors’ championship. The 18 points are the result of a good job from the entire team, the drivers, engineers and mechanics at the track and back at the remote garage, in the way they prepared for and managed this weekend.
"I was particularly pleased with the team spirit shown by Charles and Carlos and with the pit stops, with two very quick and precise tyre changes, despite the pressure the team was inevitably under. We are now back in third place, with a not insignificant lead, but of course nothing can be taken for granted.
"We must try and consolidate our position in the remaining four races, continuing to make progress, which is really the most important aspect of our season."
After Stroll’s crash yesterday, he at least kept his race much cleaner and pulled off a couple of strong overtakes for good measure but from 20th on the grid, couldn't get back towards the points. As for Vettel, he avoided all the chaos at the start just about and ran in the top 10 for the whole race. With faster cars up front and no retirements after the first lap, seventh was about the best he could hope for.
Sebastian Vettel, 7th
“I am quite happy with our performance today. We had shown competitive long-run pace on Friday and I knew that if we could hold position on lap one, we would be able to stay there and score points. We obviously benefited from the spin for Valtteri [Bottas], although it actually held me up a bit, and the damage to Daniel’s [Ricciardo] car, but we managed to recover a position from [Antonio] Giovinazzi using the strategy. After that, I was on my own for most of the race with decent pace. It was a solid weekend by the team and I am pleased we could score some good points.”
Lance Stroll, 14th
“We did what we could from the back, but it was tricky today. It is difficult to race from last place here because it is not easy to follow and overtake. The car felt good, but we were on the back foot from the start. We were hoping things would happen in front of us to help us gain places, but we needed more to go our way. The highlight of my race was the move on George [Russell] late on, but there was not much more we could do today. Now we focus on Brazil and aim to fight for points there.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“Sebastian delivered a solid drive, with strong race pace, which allowed him to control his afternoon and score six points thanks to a fine seventh place. Starting at the back of the grid as a result of grid penalties triggered by power unit component changes, Lance drove a good race to 14th, the highlight of which was a beautiful overtake of [George] Russell’s Williams around the outside of Turn One. From here we go straight to Interlagos, a superb racetrack that will be great to race on again after missing it last year owing to the pandemic.”
Giovinazzi had an absolutely brilliant start, making up five places. He lost out to Sainz at the Safety Car restart but from there looked on for a good haul of points. The team pitted him early though and it proved to be the wrong call as he dropped back into traffic and couldn’t recover. Raikkonen, who went for a much longer first stint, found himself on the right end of the strategy calls today as he came home in the points for the fourth time this season.
Kimi Raikkonen, 8th
“It was nice to get points and bring a reward to the team. We always try to do our best, every time we get to a race, and today things worked out well for us. P8 is probably the best we could do, we had good pace and we could keep up with the cars around us. Passing Russell at the beginning was crucial for our race, then the biggest challenge was to keep the tyres alive until the end. We can be satisfied about this result and start focusing on having another good event in Brazil.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 11th
“I’m really disappointed about this result as I think we could have been in the points with both cars. I had an outstanding first lap and made it up to P6, and even when Sainz passed me I was looking strong for seventh. We pitted early but ended up in the battle between Bottas and Ricciardo and this cost us a lot of time – ultimately, the chance to score points. We had really good pace, I’m happy for the points Kimi scored but this one is really disappointing.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“Just as in the last few races, we have been on the pace all weekend: today we’ve delivered a strong performance when it mattered and the result shows it. We bring home four points, another top ten finish that gives us more confidence for the final races of the season. It’s a shame not to have two cars in the points, especially given how strong we looked in the opening stages, but the race didn’t go Antonio’s way after the stop. We are a team, we win and lose as one and as a team we will get back stronger, starting from Brazil next week.”
Ocon was in the thick of the action at the start as he found himself the meat in a Tsunoda-Schumacher sandwich. Miraculously he was the only one of the three to manage to make it to the end despite double contact, although well outside of the top 10. Alonso though had a much better afternoon, overtaking Russell and Giovinazzi, and fending off Norris for a couple of well-earned points.
Esteban Ocon, 13th
“It was always going to be a difficult race starting from the back of the grid with the engine penalty, so we can be pleased to make up six positions today. I’m happy with my race and how we fought hard, even if we didn’t score points as a reward. The start was tough, and we were quite fortunate to get away without too much damage after the contact at Turn 1 with two cars. I tried to back out of it but there wasn’t much to be done there. After that, we had some good battles to work our way up through the field, which was fun. As a team, it’s good that Fernando scored points today as it’s important for the championship and our focus moves forward to next week where we both aim to be in the points.”
Fernando Alonso, 9th
“I am happy with a well-executed race for us today. Ninth and in the points after a difficult day yesterday is ultimately a good result. I was not proud of my job yesterday, but I am prouder today. It was quite a messy start and I had to dodge a few cars in the first few corners. It was very close, but we did quite well to avoid any damage and then I gained some positions after the Safety Car. It’s good to see the car can fight for points finishes consistently despite starting lower down the grid. We did lose out a little to Alpha Tauri today in the battle for fifth, but hopefully the points we scored today will help the team for the end of the season.”
Laurent Rossi, Chief Executive Officer, Alpine Cars
“After a compromised qualifying yesterday, to be back in the points today shows the fighting spirit of this team. It was important for us to return to the top ten today after the frustration in Austin last time out. It was not an easy race – far from it – with Fernando starting in the middle of the pack and Esteban at the back of the grid with the engine penalty. For Fernando, he was a little unfortunate at the start as he had to avoid Bottas’s spin but from there, he drove a very smooth and sensible race to work his way into the points. Esteban too had a tricky start and was sandwiched between two cars at Turn 1, which he did well to avoid. Like Fernando, he showed strong race pace and dug in to finish in thirteenth. Of course, scoring two points with one car is not our aim but after yesterday’s qualifying, it’s a result we can be pleased with. It also gives us additional motivation ready for next weekend in Brazil where we return to more conventional conditions. The fight with Alpha Tauri for fifth is now level and we must continue our hard work and commitment to stay on top in the battle.”
Safe to say, this weekend was not one where Lady Luck smiled down on McLaren. Norris started down the back after grid penalties, but he did manage to avoid all of the first lap chaos to work his way up to the points, pitting the last of anyone to hold onto P10 today. Ricciardo had made an electric start and was almost past Perez, but he made contact with Bottas in the first corner, damaging his front wing and pitting for a replacement. He couldn’t make his tyres last the distance, a second pit stop dropping him further down the order. With Ferrari scoring big, McLaren have dropped back in the constructors' too.
Daniel Ricciardo, 12th
“The first lap incident was about as painful as they get because your race is pretty much over from the start. I was in a tricky position because I know that if I didn’t go for it, someone else would have, and I’d probably have been swamped by other cars. At the end of the day, I think it’s just a lap one incident.
“The start was good and those first few hundred metres were looking positive. I think we were potentially in P4, and in a split-second it changes. That’s the nature of the beast, but these ones are pretty painful because you have to endure the race and hope something happens, but nothing really did. I was able to defend Bottas, normally when you’re doing that it’s for a good position, but we were both obviously at the back. The car was also damaged, and we had a chunk of downforce missing. A bit heart-breaking. For a few seconds it looked awesome and then it looked pretty un-awesome. We’ll try to come back in Brazil.”
Lando Norris, 10th
“Obviously not the best for us as a team but a good day from my side, from 18th to 10th. We knew it was going to be difficult to come through the field, but we did the best we could do today. I don’t think we could’ve achieved too much more, regarding our pace and the difficulty to overtake and follow. One point is more than nothing. We’ll keep trying to work hard and make some improvements in Brazil.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“Tough Sunday for us in Mexico. Daniel’s race was effectively over after Turn One. He hooked-up a great start, made some positions and then had an unfortunate coming together with Valtteri [Bottas]. He needed to pit for a new front wing and had some additional damage on the car. Definitely a missed opportunity. On Lando’s side, it was always clear he would have a difficult race today, starting from P18. He made up as many positions as possible, got back into the points but with the pace we had in the car today, it wasn’t possible to achieve any more.
“Thanks to the entire team, the drivers and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP – that was a lot of hard work for a single point and the result does not reflect the effort. We’ll reset, relocate to Brazil, and prepare to go again next weekend.”
Russell had a great start and was running in the points in the early stages. But his Williams didn’t have much pace today, and he struggled to keep the midfield cars behind when they started to recover back up the field. As for Latifi, he too couldn’t extract much pace from the FW43B as he struggled for grip, pitting twice on his way to P17.
George Russell, 16th
"It was probably the most difficult race of the season so far. We made a good start and had moved up to P9 from P16 on lap one which was relatively strong, and I thought we could be on for a good result. However, we did not have the pace after that and went backwards so there’s lots to review. It wasn’t a very enjoyable afternoon but the positive is that this Grand Prix is a unique race with the temperature management that is required, so hopefully our pace in Brazil will be better than here."
Nicholas Latifi, 17th
"Unfortunately, my race came undone at the start. I’ll have to watch the video back to see what happened in that first lap. I thought I was going to come out of the first few corners gaining a couple of positions from the cars going off, but I stayed on track to avoid them and ended up losing out quite a bit. After that, with the pace we had, it was just a race of blue flags. It was an afternoon to forget but now it’s onwards to Brazil."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"It was a tough day with the car requiring too much management to be able to race as hard as we would’ve liked. George had a very good opening lap, made good progress and got himself into a position that was above the real pace of the car. He tried to hold on, but defending was too difficult against the quicker cars.
"Both drivers did a good job of managing the car throughout the race. This required a lot of discipline and mental effort and whilst it didn’t deliver a good result today, it is valuable experience for future races.
"It has been a frustrating weekend and we are looking forward to getting a brief rest before heading to Brazil for the next event."
Schumacher was unlucky at the start, caught up in a collision with Tsunoda and Ocon that sent his Haas bumping up over the Alpine’s front wing and out of the race. That left Mazepin to fly the flag, and he kept his race clean but couldn’t stay in touch with the cars up ahead.
Mick Schumacher, DNF
“I saw a lot of smoke and normally that isn’t a good sign. I didn’t want to be face-on so I decided to go to the middle and unfortunately there were already cars there and we all got bunched up, and I made contact with Esteban Ocon. It’s unfortunate but these things happen – it’s not the first time it’s happened in my career and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I was looking forward to driving here and learning, next year hopefully we’ll have a better car and can attack more. We can always take positives.”
Nikita Mazepin, 18th
“It was a very long race. We had a good start, we got through nicely and the first part of the race was going well. Then we decided to protect from Williams and unfortunately our pit stop was too slow – we just got done by them but I think we had the pace to probably keep them behind considering how hard it is to overtake on this track. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. I felt that as we had less downforce than we’d like it was really difficult to follow cars closely when you get overtaken by blue flags – after that it was a tough race.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“A tough weekend. Mick retired during the first lap, obviously there was nothing to do and it was a racing incident which happens when you’re trying to do your best. With Nikita, he stuck in there and got the best out of it as possible. We had a bit of a slow pit stop – we wanted to come out in front of Latifi – and it didn’t work out so we ended up where we ended up, but he learned a lot about tyre management. Now it’s on to the next one.”
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"It was a reasonably straightforward one-stop race for the majority of competitors, with the medium and hard delivering great results in these high track temperatures. The medium stood up very well to some long initial stints, showing a strong combination of performance and consistency, with a little help from a four-lap safety car period at the start. The hard tyre showed good race pace, with low degradation, which made it central to today's grand prix in these conditions. As a result, Max Verstappen was the first driver to beat the fastest race lap from 2019 (the last time that the Mexican Grand Prix was run) on used hard tyres, on a track that was still quite dusty."