F1 2019: Hamilton takes Mexican GP win but title rolls on

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton takes another step to winning the 2019 Drivers World Championship by winning the Mexican GP ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes Valterri Bottas.

27/10/19

Starting Grid

1.Leclerc  2.Vettel  3.Hamilton  4.Verstappen  5.Albon  6.Bottas  7.Sainz Jr  8.Norris  9.Kvyat  10.Gasly  11.Perez  12.Hulkenberg  13.Ricciardo  14.Raikkonen  15.Giovinazzi  16.Stroll  17.Magnussen  18.Grosjean  19.Russell  20.Kubica

Race

Today is Lewis Hamilton’s first opportunity to clinch the 2019 Drivers World Championship and needs to out-score Mercedes team-mate Valterri Bottas by 14 points to claim a 6th drivers title. The big controversy of yesterday’s qualifying session was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who qualified on Pole Position, but was stripped of the position after it was found that he did not slow under yellow flags following a heavy crash for Bottas in Q3. This led to a 3 place grid drop and promoted the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc to Pole with team-mate Sebastian Vettel behind and Hamilton to 3rd with the Dutchman relegated to 4th.

Both Ferraris fairly matched each other off the start, Lewis Hamilton’s getaway from 3rd was searing. As he swept left, though, his progress was arrested by a rather cheeky squeeze from Sebastian Vettel.

As Charles Leclerc led Sebastian Vettel into Turn 1, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton went through the corner behind side-by-side. As they both struggled for grip, their cars swinging wildly, they made light contact, both running off the track and allowing Alexander Albon and Carlos Sainz to sweep past into 3rd and 4th. Hamilton re-joins in 5th with Verstappen down in 8th.

The Virtual Safety Car is brought out with Charles Leclerc leading ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Alexander Albon, Carlos Sainz Jr, Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris, Valterri Bottas and Max Verstappen. On lap 3, the VSC ends with Leclerc leading with a 1.5 second lead.

By lap 4, Lewis Hamilton overtakes Carlos Sainz Jr for 4th before turn 1 as Valterri Bottas tries to overtake Lando Norris at the same corner but is too far back. A lovely move by Verstappen to get past Bottas into turn 13 but the Finn gets back ahead on lap 5 on the run down to turn 1. Verstappen’s day goes from bad to worse as a right-rear puncture drops him down the field. His day will now be a recovery drive and will love a safety car.

Valterri Bottas finally gets past Lando Norris for 6th and will now set his sights on Carlos Sainz Jr ahead. Onto lap 8, Bottas blasts past Sainz for 5th way before turn 1. Local hero, Sergio Perez, has made his way up to 9th after starting in 11th while Daniel Ricciardo is up to 10th and will be one to watch as he is on the Hard compound tyre. A great move by Perez to overtake Daniil Kvyat for 8th into turn 1 gets the crowd to their feet.

Pitting from 7th, Lando Norris, suffers another botched pit-stop as the left-front tyre wasn’t secured properly. The Brit pulls in and his McLaren mechanics push the car back to the pit-box to secure the tyre. He rejoins a lap down in last.

Lap 15, Alexander Albon pits from 3rd and this means that the Red Bull driver is probably on a two-stop strategy. Lap 16, Charles Leclerc pits from 1st and rejoins in 4th as Albon overtakes Sainz who pits. Sebastian Vettel elects to stay out along with Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas in 2nd and 3rd. If Vettel, Hamilton and Bottas can keep their tyres in check, they might pull-off a one-stop while Leclerc and Albon are likely on a two-stop.

Lap 24, Lewis Hamilton pits from 2nd. He rejoins in 4th ahead of Alexander Albon and on the Hard tyre. Will Ferrari pit Sebastian Vettel? The German stays out in the lead as Valterri Bottas stays out in 2nd as well. Max Verstappen continues his fight-back and overtakes Pierre Gasly for 12th into turn 1.

With 34 laps completed, Sebastian Vettel, Valterri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll are yet to pit. Lewis Hamilton in 4th meanwhile, is complaining about his hard tyres and his chances of winning this race. Vettel navigates his way through traffic but his lead over Bottas has halved. Lap 36, Bottas pits. The Finn rejoins on the Hard tyre in 5th. Ferrari are going to react. They tell Vettel to push and box. The German stops on lap 37. Vettel rejoins in 4th ahead of Bottas and on the Hard tyre.

Charles Leclerc leads ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Alexander Albon, Sebastian Vettel and Valterri Bottas. Now, Leclerc, Hamilton and probably Albon will have to pit again. Daniel Ricciardo in 6th is yet to pit and will be targeting a top 8 finish. After a second pit-stop, Carlos Sainz Jr is down in 14th on the Medium tyre.

Lap 44, a slow stop for Charles Leclerc costs the Ferrari driver an extra few seconds and he rejoins in 5th. Lap 45, Alexander Albon now pits, goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 5th. Lewis Hamilton now leads but Sebastian Vettel is just 3.5 seconds behind the Brit. Valterri Bottas is a further 2 seconds behind Vettel in 3rd.

Lap 51, after a mega stint on the Hard tyre, Daniel Ricciardo pits from 6th. He rejoins in 8th and on fresher tyres, he could aim for a 6th place finish. McLaren decide to retire Lando Norris from the race and he becomes the first retirement from the race. Lap 52, this is getting tasty. Lewis Hamilton still leads but Sebastian Vettel and Valterri Bottas are very close together.

Lap 56, Valterri Bottas is now less than a second behind Sebastian Vettel with Lewis Hamilton still leading by 2.6 seconds. Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc is going to make this a four-way fight as the Ferrari driver is closing the top three down at quite a rate of knots. This will also help Alexander Albon in 5th who is only 10 seconds behind.

Lap 59, the drop-off on Lewis Hamilton’s tyres hasn’t happened and with 11 laps left, anyone of the top four can win this race. Lap 60, Alfa Romeo decide to retire Kimi Raikkonen from the race. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo is now all over Sergio Perez for 7th place.

Lap 68, Lewis Hamilton is keeping the chasing pack behind him and the predicted the tyre drop-off for the Brit hasn’t happened. Onto the final lap, Hamilton leads by 1.7 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Amazingly, Hamilton crosses the line to win the Mexican GP however, the championship rolls over to the American GP next weekend.

A very opportunistic move from Daniil Kvyat on Nico Hulkenberg has left the German in the wall after the Russian tipped the Renault driver into the barrier. The Stewards award Kvyat with a 10 second time penalty dropping him to 11th.

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 71 Laps
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +1.766s
  3. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +3.553s
  4. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +6.368s
  5. Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing Honda, +21.399s
  6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +68.807s
  7. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, +73.819s
  8. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, +74.924s
  9. Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  10. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  11. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  12. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  13. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  14. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  15. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, + 2 Laps
  16. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  17. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 2 Laps
  18. Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  • Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, DNF
  • Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, DNF

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