Max Verstappen stretched his lead over Lewis Hamilton in the Formula One championship with a final victory in the Mexican Grand Prix. Sergio Pérez, Verstappen’s teammate in the Red Bull team, entered third to become the first Mexican driver to reach the podium in the history of the race.
And the result left Red Bull nearly tied with Mercedes for a million-dollar championship at the end of the season.
While Verstappen and Pérez celebrated on the podium to shouts of “Olé! Olé! Olé! ” Of the thousands of fans, Hamilton could only watch in silence.
He must be aware that he is running out of time and dates to catch up with Verstappen in his quest for an eighth F1 title.
Verstappen, who had to start third after a poor qualifying, now leads Hamilton by 19 points with just four races to go. The next date is next week in Sao Paulo, where the Red Bull driver won in 2019 and looks like a favorite again.
“Today, with their higher speed, if they keep it in the next races, we could be in trouble, or we’ll be in trouble,” said the Briton.
The 24-year-old Dutchman obtained his ninth victory of the season, second in a row and third at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
“I don’t believe in the moment,” Verstappen declared. “Every race we have to be up to speed with the details. It’s going to be really tight and exciting until the end. “
Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas stunned qualifying when the Mercedes grabbed the privilege row for the first time this season. Bottas had pole, followed by Hamilton, Verstappen and Pérez.
Mercedes’ lead barely lasted until the first corner.
Verstappen accelerated and took advantage of the wake behind Bottas to seize the lead at the first corner. Bottas, meanwhile, made contact with Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren and lagged behind.
The turnaround in order left Hamilton caught between the two Red Bulls, with Verstappen first and “Checo” Pérez behind him. Bottas was left behind, losing an ally to defend his position.
With barely a third of the race completed, Verstappen set a blazing pace. Hamilton, meanwhile, engaged in a desperate battle with the hometown hero to pocket vital points to keep an eye on Verstappen into the final month of the season.
The home crowd roared as Perez briefly led after refueling by Hamilton and Verstappen for new tires. This made him the first Mexican driver to lead the Mexican GP. And he scored his third podium in a row for the first time in his career.
“I really would have liked to win, but it is a great result to be on the podium at home, this hobby that has had difficult moments and well, I am happy to return and have this podium,” said the Mexican.(AFP)