MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) — Days before the race in Mexico, Max Verstappen said he has no intention of letting Mexican Sergio Pérez win. I did not lie.
The Dutchman set a record for wins and points in a Formula 1 season on Sunday by winning from start to finish at the Mexican Grand Prix, where he was escorted by Britons Lewis Hamilton and Perez.
Verstappen won the drivers’ championship twice earlier this month and helped Red Bull clinch the constructors’ title by winning the United States Grand Prix last week, but it took him to reach 14 victories and break the tie with Michael Schumacher. needed to win. Sebastian Vettel.
“It’s been an amazing season as a team, I didn’t think I could win 14 races in a year, it’s been a lot of fun,” said Verstappen, who is now the highest-ranked scorer in history with 416. are drivers.
Hamilton’s previous score was 413 sets in the 2019 season.
“I’m not aware of the statistics, I live for the time being and try to do my best on the weekend, win the race, that’s what I think,” said the Dutchman. “I’m enjoying the moment, but I’m not interested in taking every statistic, but it’s definitely been an amazing season and I’m happy to have won so many races.”
With his victory at the Autodromo de los Hermanos Rodriguez in the Mexican capital, “Mad Max” has won eight of the last nine races this season, a streak that was only broken by Perez, who had come first in Singapore.
The Dutchman appears well suited to race in Mexico, where he has won the 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2022 editions and has established himself as the most successful Mexican Grand Prix winner ever. Prior to this, Jim Clark had won in 1962, 1963 and 1967.
Although the race did not win as Mexican fans expected, Pérez delighted those fans by repeating on the podium. Last year, the man from Guadalajara was also in third place.
“It was lovely, unfortunately we had that first stop that impressed us, but second or third doesn’t matter, at the end I’m on the podium,” said Perez, who thanked his supporters. “The guys are impressive, it was a whole weekend, it’s great to finish on the podium”.
The podium allows “Checo” Pérez to climb to second place in the drivers’ championship with 280 points, moving Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) to third with 275, with only two races left on the calendar – Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
“It’s important, now I just want to go through two races to win, nothing to lose,” Perez said. “This weekend was tough, but I think we can take the next step.”
In the middle of his teammate’s impressive season, Perez recorded victories at the Monaco and Singapore Grand Prix.
Perez started in fourth place on the starting grid behind Verstappen, George Russell and Hamilton. Back with Leclerc.
The Mexican moved to third place with an overtake at turn four, but a poor pit stop on lap 24 pushed him to sixth. The Mexican moved to fifth place with a pass on lap 27 on Leclerc, fourth when Sainz came in and had a poor pit stop and moved to third when Russell arrived.
Verstappen only gave up the lead when he pitched, but reclaimed that spot on lap 35 – when both Mercedes came in for a tire change.
Many expected Verstappen to help Pérez win in Mexico, a speculation among fans that caused interest in the race to be even greater than in previous years.
For this edition, a total of 395,902 spectators attended the event over three days, a new record that surpassed the previous year’s figure of 371,779.
“Chekomania”, which began on Friday, reached its peak on Sunday, when thousands sang “Ole, Ole, Ole, Che-Ko, Che-Ko” from the start and throughout the race. It was a mantra that sometimes deafened.
The passion for the highest class is climbing in Mexico. Recently the head of the capital’s government, Claudia Sheinbaum, pointed out that the weekend in which Formula 1 takes place is the weekend with the highest hotel occupancy of the year.
In 2021, official reports indicate that the race generated 15,881 million pesos (about $794 million) in economic benefits for the city. Given the number and interest of fans this year, the numbers are likely to be the same even if the local driver didn’t win.
The Mexican Grand Prix was held for the seventh time since 2015, when it began its third season as a host. It was not competed only in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.