Max Verstappen Wins Scorching, Thrilling Mexican Grand Prix
Renault engine failures for days, and one of the strangest streaks in F1 continues.
First lap drama saw championship contenders Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari coming together during a scrap for the race lead, against Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing, resulting in a puncture for Hamilton, and front wing damage for Vettel. This yielded the race lead to Verstappen, who was able to fend off Valtteri Bottas for the full length of the race, to take home the third win of his career, following the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, and the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix. The two championship contenders, Hamilton and Vettel, eventually recovered to P9 and P4 respectively, enough for Hamilton to secure this year's title.
Lewis Hamilton not only joins the four-title club, of which, Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel are members, but he joins the similarly small group of drivers to have won the Mexican Grand Prix multiple times, now consisting of Jim Clark, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, and himself.
Oddly enough, this race was the first time Hamilton received a blue flag—waved on lap 22 to get Verstappen past—since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix. Due to cooling issues and suspected damage sustained on the first lap incident, Hamilton struggled to get through traffic.
As some have pointed out, Verstappen has won every race following a demotion of Daniil Kvyat, and after the United States Grand Prix, Kvyat was at last dropped from Toro Rosso.
Despite running in P4 at one point, with a podium finish hypothetically in reach, Nico Hülkenberg suffered from an ERS failure, and was instructed to pull over on lap 27. An MGU-H problem retired Daniel Ricciardo earlier in the race, with a similar high voltage hazard present.
Brendon Hartley's Toro Rosso gave up on lap 32 in spectacular fashion, leaving a smokescreen ahead of the Gasly-Grosjean-Massa scrap, making for the race's third expiry of a Renault engine in the race.
Carlos Sainz Jr. later retired on lap 61, with both complaints of his Renault pulling to one side on the straights, and engine issues of his own.
The lap record was rewritten multiple times throughout the race, with Verstappen taking home the fastest lap, with 1:18.892.