Vintage Hamilton wins the Mexican GP
Lewis Hamilton performed another vintage performance to take the Mexican GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas. Aiming to clinch his 6th world title, Hamilton drove a race of maturity and poise to drag a set of hard tyres over 50 laps and take the win from the chasing pack.
With a three place penalty for Verstappen after ignoring yellow flags during Q3, Charles Leclerc started ahead of Vettel and Hamilton. With the tow being strong once again and the power of the Ferrari's dominating most didn't want pole due to the vulnerability it would provide going into turn 1. But Leclerc denied such predictions. While Vettel squeezed Hamilton onto the grass to gain Leclerc's slipstream, Leclerc made it into turn 1 ahead of his team mate and despite contact between the pair into the tight turn 4, the two Ferrari's set off in pursuit of victory.
With Hamilton compromised into turn 1 he battled with the charging Verstappen with both coming together in turn 2 as they struggled for grip on cold tyres. With both drivers taking to the grass in a bd to avoid a collision, Albon swooped under the pair and took 3rd, with the rampant Carlos Sainz battling Hamilton for 4th. As Verstappen recovered from the trip across the grass, an opportunistic move on Bottas in the stadium section proved costly with both running wide and Bottas clipping his rear, meaning a detrimental puncture and a struggle to get back to the pits. The rest of Verstappen's race was a charged through the midfield, with the Red Bull driver settling for 6th
After the frantic pace of the first couple of laps, it was a game of stalemate as each driver conserved tyres, cooled down temperatures and gauged their pace. With the tyre life in Mexico being unpredictable, particularly on the harder tyres, there was mixture of strategy with some drivers such as Vettel and Hamilton adopting the 1 stop and others like Leclerc and Albon choosing the 2.Hamilton pitted on Lap 29 and immediately questioned the decision, choosing to again vocalise his anxiety on whether the tyres would last. In contrast, Vettel was happy with his mediums he started the race on a dragged performance out of them before pitting on Lap 37.
Pit stop errors were high in Mexico with long stops for Giovinazzi and Leclerc but there was disaster at McLaren as Lando Norris took to the pits to fit the Hard tyres, but when leaving the front left wasn't attached properly and ensured his race was ruined and retired on lap 52.
The final laps of the Grand Prix were a stalemate between the 4 drivers, each running a few seconds behind one another, desperately seeking to gain on the calculated Hamilton. With the front 4 all within 6 seconds of each other, the last 20 laps set hopes of a thrilling finale, but was one that didn't come to pass. While Ricciardo and Verstappen dragged their hard tyres through the majority of the Grand Prix, it was undeniably impressive from Hamilton to push when needed, calculate the gap to Vettel and not reach the end of the cliff.
With Hamilton taking the chequered flag, the rapturous Mexican crowd roared him on the podium, with the Brit standing atop his victorious Mercedes. It summed up the atmosphere of the weekend, the brilliance of Hamilton and once again proved why the Mexican GP is one of the best.