2021 Mexican GP race result: Verstappen wins, extends championship lead over Hamilton 

Race winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the 2021 Mexican GP. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Race winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the 2021 Mexican GP. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen claimed his ninth victory of the 2021 F1 season and third Mexican GP win at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit on Sunday. The Dutchman was followed over the line by Lewis Hamilton in second place. Verstappen's teammate and local driver Sergio Perez became the first driver from Mexico to stand on the Mexican GP podium.

Verstappen’s win extended his lead in the drivers’ championship over Hamilton by 19 points, while Red Bull Racing's double podium put them just one point behind Mercedes in the constructor’s standings.

Max Verstappen's Mexican GP win extends his lead over Hamilton by 19 points

Max Verstappen grabs the lead at the start of the 2021 Mexican GP. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen grabs the lead at the start of the 2021 Mexican GP. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Starting third on the Mexican GP grid, Verstappen jumped both Mercedes drivers at the start to grab the lead and finish the race 16.555 seconds ahead of the field. Pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas, who was overtaken by the Dutchman into Turn 1, suffered added humiliation after being spun out by Daniel Ricciardo in the same corner.

Thanks to a late stop, the Finn did claim the fastest lap of the race, clocked at 1 minute 17.774 seconds, but finished in P15 out of 18 cars that completed the race.

After a chaotic start that led to the race's only Safety Car period, the Mexican GP saw two drivers retire: Alpha Tauri's Yuki Tsunoda and Haas' Mick Schumacher. Both men were tagged by Alpine driver Esteban Ocon as a result of a tight, three-wide situation in the opening corners of the first lap.

First to trail the podium finishers over the line in P4 was Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman was followed by Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in P5 and P6 respectively.

Sebastian Vettel finished the Mexican GP in P7 for Aston Martin, followed by former Ferrari teammate and Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen in P8. Alpine managed to get both their cars into the points, with Fernando Alonso finishing P9. McLaren's Lando Norris rounded out the points finishers in P10.

While Bottas and Ricciardo slid to the bottom of the grid after the incident at the start, Hamilton was left without a wingman and vulnerable to a two-pronged Red Bull Racing attack at the front. Verstappen led the Mexican GP from the opening lap and only gave up the lead when he made his pit-stop, when teammate Perez took over on Lap 34.

Although the undercut strategy worked around the Mexican circuit, it was less advantageous in Hamilton’s case as he rejoined in traffic after his own stop. He not only lost time to Verstappen but also became vulnerable to Perez despite having pitted three laps earlier than the Mexican on Lap 31.

Verstappen was back in the lead when Perez pitted on Lap 40. The Mexican's fresh tires enabled him to hunt down Hamilton towards the end of the race. The local Red Bull Racing driver reduced the gap between himself and the Briton to under a second on the final lap in an attempt to secure a potential 1-2 finish for his team at the Mexican GP.

Overall, the Mexican GP was a processional affair, with tire changes and pitstop strategies deciding the majority of the outcomes in the race. Apart from the chaotic start in the opening lap, it was fairly non-dramatic. The drivers in the top 10 started their race on the Medium tire and opted for a one-stop strategy to change to the Hard compound.

While Mercedes held the advantage in qualifying, they were unsuccessful in maintaining that form and garnering a favorable outcome in the race. The team also struggled with a messy pitstop for Bottas on Lap 41, clocking in at over 11 seconds just as he was surging up the grid and on course to score valuable points for the team.

For Red Bull Racing, Sunday's track conditions favored them and they were able to turn the tables after Saturday's qualifying woes. Verstappen’s electric getaway from the pack and holding steady until the checkered flag ensured them a strong result at a circuit which favored them.

In the drivers’ standings, Verstappen leads with a total of 312.5 points, followed by Hamilton in second with 293.5 to his name. Bottas remains in third with 185 points followed by Perez in fourth with 165.

Mercedes still lead the constructors’ championship with a total of 478.5 points and are followed by Red Bull Racing with 477.5. Ferrari have overtaken McLaren for third place with their double-point finish in the Mexican GP. The Maranello-based team have a total of 268.5 points while their Woking-based rivals trail with 255.

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