Venue: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
World champion Max Verstappen racked up a 15th win of a dominant title-winning season with victory at the United States Grand Prix in Austin last weekend.
But the Red Bull star was made to work hard for it, having to battle through from sixth on the grid and then keep out of reach of a charging Lewis Hamilton while nursing a brake issue in the closing stages.
The Austin race ignited hopes of more competitive action over the final weeks of the season, with Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari all showing signs they have cut the gap to Red Bull.
Mercedes brought a huge upgrade to Austin and it appeared to work well, with Hamilton qualifying third and then showing great race pace to cross the line in second and just over a second adrift of Verstappen.
But the seven-time world champion – along with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – was disqualified post-race as the depth of the new floor on his Mercedes was adjudged to be “outside the thresholds outlined in Article 3.5.9 e)” – which states that the plank cannot wear to below 9mm thickness.
Addressing his punishment, Hamilton said: “It is, of course, disappointing to be disqualified post-race but that doesn’t take away from the progress.”
The disqualification of Hamilton makes it hard to judge Mercedes’ step forward but it appeared as though he and team-mate George Russell had more pace and confidence in the car.
They will expect to see more of that in Mexico this weekend at an altitude track where high levels of downforce are needed.
Verstappen is chasing a fifth win in eight races since Mexico returned to the F1 calendar and remains firm favourite at 1/3 and it will be a big weekend for his team-mate Sergio Perez.
After a difficult run of races, Mexican Perez showed some signs of returning to consistency in Austin – where he ultimately finished fourth after Hamilton’s disqualification.
“We need to make sure we learn from this weekend as there are some good understandings to make for Mexico,” Perez said after Austin. “There is a bit more pace in there and I am massively looking forward to my home Grand Prix.”
Lando Norris enjoyed another successful weekend as McLaren’s resurgence continued despite Oscar Piastri having to retire from the race.
Norris started second but jumped ahead of Leclerc at the first corner and held on to the lead for over 20 laps before being reeled in by Verstappen and Hamilton.
But he claimed a fourth successive podium across a variety of track layouts, which proves the progress the British team have made.
“We’re getting there. We’re making progress every weekend, just a few more steps needed,” Norris said. “To finish on the podium here was better than we were expecting coming into the weekend.”
Past Mexican GP winners
2022: Verstappen (Red Bull), Hamilton (Mercedes), Perez (Red Bull)
2021: Verstappen (Red Bull), Hamilton (Mercedes), Perez (Red Bull)
2020: Not held
2019: Hamilton (Mercedes), Vettel (Ferrari), Bottas (Mercedes)
2018: Verstappen (Red Bull), Vettel (Ferrari), Raikkonen (Ferrari)
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