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Max Verstappen claimed victory at the Mexican Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton finishing second after a red flag interruption.

The familiar sight of Max Verstappen winning another Formula One race and setting another record was met with the British drivers showing off their skills at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Lewis Hamilton put on an exceptional performance, showcasing his skill and composure, to secure second place. This sets up an intense battle for second place in the drivers’ championship over the last three races with Sergio Pérez, who unfortunately crashed at his home race.

Hamilton undoubtedly has the advantage of experience, but the up-and-coming British drivers also performed exceptionally well. McLaren’s Lando Norris displayed impressive aggression and skillful overtakes, climbing from 17th to fifth place on the grid. Charles Leclerc of Ferrari secured third place.

For Verstappen this was very much business as usual, the world champion unchallenged at the front of the field in a race that was stopped midway after Haas’s Kevin Magnussen had a high-speed crash from which he emerged unhurt.

After winning his third championship in Japan, Verstappen appears determined to maintain his dominance throughout the rest of the season.

He has achieved his 16th win this season, surpassing his own record of 15 wins from last year. This victory marks his 51st career win, which is the same number as Alain Prost’s wins. He now ranks behind only Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, and Sebastian Vettel in the standings.

Having taken the lead off the start from third on the grid, passing both the Ferraris on the drag to turn one, he was untouchable and was 14 seconds ahead at the flag. The only real jeopardy he faced was the restart caused by Magnussen’s accident and that too was summarily controlled.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his second-place finish for Mercedes at the Mexican Grand Prix

In spite of starting in sixth place, Hamilton had a lot of tasks ahead of him. The seven-time champion focused and performed exceptionally, as he has consistently done throughout his career, solidifying his position as one of the top athletes in the sport.

The team was unsuccessful in executing his plan correctly during the previous round in Texas. However, this time they were successful and Hamilton played a crucial role behind the wheel. He overtook Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz on the track before making a remarkable late-braking maneuver to secure second place by passing Charles Leclerc on the inside.

He expressed great satisfaction, saying, “I am extremely pleased with our performance. Our pit stop and strategy were fantastic. Despite a challenging weekend, we were able to earn valuable points. I am immensely proud of the team. After a tough few weeks, it’s impressive to see us bounce back from last weekend’s results. This is a job well done.”

Toto Wolff, the principal of the Mercedes team, was pleased with their performance and the success of the recent car upgrade. He stated that the car was strong and Lewis even praised its performance. This gives the team confidence in their chosen direction.

Pérez experienced another unfortunate incident. He tried to pass Leclerc on the outside during the first lap at turn one, but ran out of room and collided with Leclerc as he was turning. This caused the Mexican driver to spin out and ultimately led to his retirement from the race.

This has renewed Hamilton’s chances of securing second place in the drivers’ championship. He was initially 39 points behind before the race, but now he is only 20 points behind with three races left. The British driver is confident that he can achieve this, especially considering Pérez’s recent struggles.

Norris was delighted with his performance, executing a string of maneuvers that culminated in a well-timed move on George Russell in the final four laps, securing fifth place.

“I never expected to return to P5,” he remarked. “However, I executed the overtakes successfully. Racing like this is quite enjoyable.”

Pérez leaves his home race with his future at Red Bull once more under intense scrutiny but for Mercedes and Hamilton this was perhaps as optimistic as they have been all season as finally there is a sense that next year Verstappen might not quite have it all his own way.

Sainz finished in fourth place for Ferrari, while Russell came in sixth place for Mercedes. Ricciardo placed seventh for AlphaTauri, Oscar Piastri achieved eighth place for McLaren, Alex Albon secured ninth place for Williams, and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10 for Alpine.

Source: theguardian.com