F1 2021
Round 18


mx Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez

Max extended his championship lead with a thrilling and dominant victory in Mexico City, as Sergio secured his first home podium and Pierre made it three Honda-powered cars in the top four.


Max made a sensational start from the second row to take the lead as he went round the outside of both Mercedes drivers at Turn 1, while Sergio emerged in third place behind Lewis Hamilton. Pierre did well to avoid a spin for Valtteri Bottas to take fourth place, but Yuki was unfortunately caught in an incident.

As a number of drivers slowed to try and take evasive action with Bottas sitting in the middle of the track, Yuki was hit by Esteban Ocon and suffered a broken suspension, forcing his retirement at Turn 2.

As it turned out, the positions would remain unchanged from that point on, but the race wasn’t without its excitement. Max controlled the pace at the front and pulled away comfortably, while Sergio put pressure on Hamilton for second place.

Pierre was the first of the three cars to make his pit stop, switching from medium to hard tyres on lap 31 to protect what was a comfortable fourth place at the time. Two laps later, Max made his one and only stop for hards in response to Hamilton, emerging with a clear advantage over the Mercedes, as the strategy saw Sergio take the lead.

In an attempt to try something different in what was a clear one-stop race, Sergio extended his first stint and finally made a pit stop on lap 40 - also taking on hard tyres - with a nine-second deficit to close. A series of impressive laps saw Sergio reel Hamilton in, but once close behind the Mercedes he found it tough to overtake as traffic, plus the loss of grip and increasing temperatures when following a car closely took their toll.

Max crossed the line to win by over 16 seconds, with Sergio having to settle for third by 1.1s but securing a third consecutive podium for the first time in his career. As well as Max opening up a 19-point lead in the drivers’ standings, our 15th victory with Red Bull Racing sees the team close to within a point of the constructors’ championship lead.

After a faultless drive, Pierre finished fourth - over 17 seconds clear of the Ferraris behind him - to pull Scuderia AlphaTauri level with Alpine in the fight for fifth in the constructors’ standings.

For those who love statistics, today was Max’s ninth win of the season, which makes him the Honda driver with the most victories in one year, a record he previously shared on 8 with Ayrton Senna. 

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
The Mexican GP result was excellent for us with three Honda powered cars in the top four, and for Red Bull Racing Honda it was also a third consecutive double-podium finish. A brilliant start saw Max go from the second row on the grid to lead into the first corner and after that, he never lost the lead all the way to the chequered flag. Checo moved up to third after the chaos of the opening lap and although that place never looked in doubt and for a few laps towards the end it looked as though he might be able to catch Lewis for second place,  unfortunately, in the end it just wasn’t possible. But for him to finish on the podium in his home Grand Prix was a fantastic achievement. The result means Max has extended his lead in the Drivers’ standings while Red Bull is now just one point behind the leader in the Constructors.’ Pierre had another strong weekend and did not make any mistakes on his way to a very good fourth place, which means Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda is now equal on points in fifth place in the championship. Yuki also showed great pace all weekend and we had hoped that, even with the grid penalty for his PU change, he would move up the order and maybe even score points, but he was out after just a few hundred metres in an accident that was not his fault. Because of the high altitude of the Mexico track, we run the PUs with special settings here and I must congratulate the engineers both in Sakura and Milton Keynes for the  work they did in terms of simulation, which contributed a great deal to today’s result and of course the teams at the track for a job well done. We are in good shape in the fight for both championships and that is more motivation to try and get another win in just a few days in Brazil.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
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
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
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.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
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
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
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.

Published on