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#1053 2021 Mexican Grand Prix

2021-08-08 00:00

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#2021, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Giulia Montemurro,

#1053 2021 Mexican Grand Prix

2021 Mexican GP During the weekend between Friday 5 and Sunday 7 November 2021, the Formula 1 Circus moves to Mexico, to compete in the eighteenth rou

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During the weekend between Friday 5 and Sunday 7 November 2021, the Formula 1 Circus moves to Mexico, to compete in the eighteenth round out of the twenty-two scheduled for the 2021 World Championship. The Grand Prix takes on the new name of Gran Premio de la Ciudad de México. Mexico, after the dispute in the previous seasons of the homonymous Grand Prix, hosts the race on its territory under a different denomination, in the local language. It dates back to when the organizers of the event and Liberty Media had reached an agreement for the renewal of the contract and for the new denomination of the Mexican Grand Prix in that of the host city, capital of the country. The economic difficulties that had arisen, which had led to fears for the renewal as early as next year, have been overcome thanks to a group of entrepreneurs who support the agreement. The new name change is established to underline the support provided by the government of Mexico City. Initially the debut of this new Grand Prix was scheduled during the 2020 season, still at the beginning of November, but, due to the problems dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Formula 1 was unable to move overseas, forcing the Federation to cancel all the stages scheduled on American soil, including the aforementioned Grand Prix, thus postponing its dispute to the 2021 season. The race was originally scheduled for Sunday 31 October 2021, but, following the reduction in the number of appointments, the calendar twenty-three to twenty-two Grands Prix, the racing was postponed for a week. The race is held with the presence of spectators in the grandstands, as has been the case since the French Grand Prix, and as on the last occasion that the top category raced on this track, in 2019, with the Mexico Grand Prix , not affected by the pandemic. An estimated attendance of around 400,000 spectators over the weekend is expected for this event, the same record number set at the previous United States Grand Prix. Sergio Perez, the only Mexican driver who will take part in the Grand Prix, confirms the enthusiasm and the numerous requests of his compatriots to attend the race:

 

"The organizers told me that they have evaluated all the possibilities to add some grandstands, but there is no more space, they have already used everything available! I can confirm that many friends keep contacting me for tickets, but believe me, I have none left! I'm sorry but it's really sold out, even for me. However, there is also a very beautiful aspect in this scenario, it means that there is really a lot of interest".

 

The circuit used for this Grand Prix is the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez, previously venue, on different configurations, of twenty editions valid for the Formula 1 World Championship of the Mexican Grand Prix, raced from 1963 to 1970, from 1986 to 1992, and again from 2015 to 2019. It has a length of 4.304 km and winds through 17 curves, 10 to the right and 7 to the left. The first intermediate line is positioned 136 meters before turn 4, the second 242 meters before turn 12, while the third line coincides with the finish line of the main starting straight. The speed trap, i.e. the point where the maximum speed is measured, is positioned 234 meters before turn 1. The expected race distance is 71 laps, equal to 305.354 km. A peculiar feature of the Mexican racetrack is the high altitude at which it is located. The 2,238 meters above sea level make the air very rarefied, which, with the same setup, offers less resistance to progress, but also lower load levels. Furthermore, the power units are more stressed, increasing the risks for reliability. The Federation establishes three zones for the use of the Drag Reduction System: the first and second zone are established, respectively, on the pit straight and on the Recta Trasera (between turns 3 and 4), with a single detection point fixed at exit of turn 15; the third zone is established between turns 11 and 12, with the detection point established after turn 9. Compared to the last time it was used by the top category, some changes have been made to the circuit: the track, on the right side between the exit of the pit lane and the first corner has been resurfaced; the crash barriers between turns 11 and turn 12 were realigned closer to the edge of the track by about 2 metres; the protection barrier on the left side of turn 17 was moved closer to the trackside, with the removal of the Tecpro barrier. 

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The Federation recommends that drivers follow the instructions below: if they fail to go through the first two bends, or if they pass to the left of the post positioned at the apex of turn 2, the drivers must return to the track by driving to the left of the post positioned at turn 3; if the riders come out of the corner of turn 4 they are required to use the external escape route which leads back to the track before turn 6; any driver whose car passes completely behind the red and white curb at the apex of turn 8 must rejoin keeping completely to the right of the two posts placed at the exit of the same; the track limits are established at the apex and exit of turn 11, where if the driver does not navigate this corner correctly he must keep to the right of the first Styrofoam block arrangement and then hard left of the second Styrofoam block, and the lap time will be canceled by the stewards. At the end of the second free practice session on Friday, it is established that if the first three corners are missed, the time will be canceled by the race direction; the instructions established at curve 8 are removed. Before the race, the race director, Michael Masi, announces that any driver who goes off the track in the first three corners at the start and at any restarts must make sure that they get back on the racing line safely and not gain a lasting advantage. In practical terms this means giving up any positions you have earned. For this Grand Prix, Pirelli, the sole supplier of the tyres, offers the choice of C2, C3 and C4 compound tyres, the three central compounds of the range. In the days leading up to the Mexico City Grand Prix, Williams announces on their social media channels on Tuesday 26 October 2021 that their British reserve driver, Jack Aitken, will take part in the first free practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, act conclusion of the World Championship scheduled for Sunday 12 December 2021. Jack Aitken's participation in practice was expected a few weeks earlier, but following the accident he had during the 24 Hours of Spa, his presence in a free practice session was been postponed. On Tuesday 2 November 2021, the British team announces that it will not participate in the two days of testing dedicated to young drivers, scheduled after the aforementioned Grand Prix, as it does not have the T-car necessary for the expected testing of the 18-inch tyres, in use at starting from the 2022 season. Dave Robson, Williams lead development engineer, said:

 

"Unfortunately we won't be at the Abu Dhabi tests. We don't have the T-car and this will prevent us from participating. We know that having a T-car would have been beneficial, but we didn't have the resources to make it happen. He will mean that we will discover the new tires in winter testing, but if the new car goes well, then we can close the gap quickly. When the 2022 season starts we won't be too far behind…".

 

On Thursday 28 October 2021, the organizers of the new Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday 5 December 2021, communicate that the personnel present in the Jeddah paddock will not have to abide by any dress code (unlike what was established last 18 October, on the eve of the previous United States Grand Prix, where it was announced that men and women would have to respect strict dress code). The Jeddah race will be the penultimate round of the World Championship. The dress code will also remain in effect for Saudi nationals who wish to attend the race weekend in the grandstands. The works in progress on the circuit show substantial delays, five weeks after the dispute of the event. Furthermore, on the same day, the main sponsor of Mercedes, Petronas, renews the sponsorship contract with the Anglo-German team until 2025. On Saturday 6 November 2021, the Circus announces with an official press release the extension of the contract for the Chinese Grand Prix until the 2025 season, with the return of the race set for 2023. The Grand Prix is not included in next season's calendar due to of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last edition took place during the 2019 season, representing the 1000th Grand Prix valid for the Formula 1 World Championship, while the last two editions of the race were not held due to the problems dictated by the health emergency.

 

"Formula 1 is delighted to announce the extension of the contract with the Chinese Grand Prix until 2025. Although it was not possible to include China in the 2022 calendar due to the ongoing pandemic, we are very happy with this new agreement which ensures Chinese fans to have their own Formula 1 race in the next few years".

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Even the CEO of Liberty Media, 1 Stefano Domenicali, enthusiastically comments on the news:

 

"This is great news for all our fans in China, we are delighted to announce this deal which will see us racing in Shanghai until 2025. Our partnership with promoter Juss Sports is very strong and we look forward to continuing it. While we are all sad not to have a Grand Prix in this country in 2022 either, China will be re-introduced to the calendar as soon as conditions allow: we look forward to returning to racing in front of this crowd as soon as possible".

 

Organizers of the Miami Grand Prix - which will debut during the 2022 season in May - announce that 275,000 people have pre-registered to purchase tickets, out of an expected venue capacity of around 80.000. Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said:

 

"We had never seen such a crowd in Austin, that race set an attendance record during the GP weekend. Of the 400.000 people who showed up at COTA, nearly 70% were attending their first grand prix. We are excited to have our second race in the USA and welcome the Miami GP in May, demand is high. 275,000 people pre-registered to purchase tickets, compared to an expected capacity of around 80.000. 1.800 people paid a $5,000 deposit for luxury hospitality, paddock clubs and suites. They ran out of stock as early as day one. We also sold all the grandstand tickets available on the first day".

 

On Saturday 9 October 2021, on the eve of the Turkish Grand Prix, the organizers of the Grand Prix announce that the author of the pole position will receive a special prize concerning a replica of the helmet worn by the Argentine ex-driver Juan Manuel Fangio, winner of five drivers' championships , coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the first world title. Federico Gonzalez Compean, General Manager of the Mexican GP, shows all his enthusiasm:

 

"It is a real honour to be able to collaborate with the Juan Manuel Fangio Foundation to offer such a unique gift to the poleman of our event. Fangio is a true ambassador of Formula 1 in Latin America and around the world, and I'm sure all current drivers would like to have such an emblematic helmet in their collection. 70 years have passed since Fangio's first championship title and he still remains one of the sport's best drivers of all time".

 

And also the president of the Juan Manuel Fangio Foundation, Juan Jose Carli, comments with great satisfaction on this initiative:

 

"Fangio is one of the best drivers in the history of F1. This helmet represents a part of his legacy. It will be an honor to be able to deliver it to the rider who will take pole position at this year's Mexican GP. The helmet serves as a reminder that a true passion for motorsport can take you to the top level in Formula 1".

 

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is not present in the pits for this race. The announcement was made on Monday 11 October 2021, on the eve of the previous United States Grand Prix. Mattia Binotto is staying in Maranello to closely follow the project linked to the car for the 2022 season, entrusting responsibility for the team to the sporting director, Laurent Mekies, as happened on the occasion of the Turkish Grand Prix. Binotto announces that he will not be present even in the subsequent new Grand Prix of San Paolo. On Monday 1 November 2021, the race director, Michael Masi, announces that, in the event of a double yellow flag, the procedure for canceling times in the free practice sessions and in qualifying will also be used in this Grand Prix, after being introduced in occasion of the previous United States Grand Prix.

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"The idea certainly worked. We only canceled one, Kimi Raikkonen's during FP3. So we'll continue to use it in Mexico as well. However, we'll try to speed up the system".

 

On Tuesday 9 November 2021, Liberty Media announces that, starting from this race, the personalities present on the starting grid are obliged to give interviews or statements to the journalists and media present, without the need for bodyguards. However, the former British driver Martin Brundle does not seem particularly happy with this novelty, despite the fact that he himself had criticized the behavior of some bodyguards during the last United States Grand Prix:

 

"New rules have been introduced which state that every celebrity on the grid will no longer have to have their own bodyguards, and they will be forced to speak to me. Rather, I'd rather be ignored, honestly. I like being able to interview some VIPs who, to be honest, take advantage of the visibility of F1 without having a great passion for the sport. I know that, at home, there are millions of fans who wish they were there because they are more passionate than they are. But today came my moment of fame: I'm ignored by Megan Thee Stallion and rudely dismissed by a mountain of men, then I'm reprimanded by a Malfoy look-alike who was no doubt on the grid for the first time. I posted a tweet about it and got 5 million interactions. I don't understand any of this, honestly".

 

Former Formula 1 driver, Danny Sullivan, is called in to play the role of assistant commissioner for the race. The American has also performed this function in the past, most recently in the return of the Dutch Grand Prix. For this Grand Prix, like the previous one, it is Mercedes that supplies the safety car and the medical car. The Mexican track has proved more favorable to Red Bull Racing in the past; despite this, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff approaches this weekend with optimism and with the belief that he can fight for victory:

 

"We are all excited to return to Mexico City. It's such a lively and warm place, we always get a great welcome. We can't wait to get back to this track, the atmosphere is always electric. Red Bull has done well in the past at this track, which is not our favourite. But this year has shown that anything is possible. You are strong in circuits where you were weak before and vice versa. This adds unknowns to the eve and makes it even more exciting. We will continue to think race by race and prepare for the best each time. We will go to Mexico concentrated from Friday to get a good understanding of the car's performance. The race in Texas was further proof of how intense this battle is in the championship. It's a challenge that is pushing both teams to the highest levels; the positive pressure we are putting on ourselves is making this fight extremely enjoyable. Hamilton opted for an alternative strategy to try and snatch victory from a very fast Verstappen. It wasn't enough, but we know we gave it our all and Lewis was perfect in his quest for victory. Bottas rode very well after starting in a difficult position due to the grid penalty, which was the right choice for us ahead of the remaining five races".

 

Lewis Hamilton is still fully in the fight against Max Verstappen, but on the eve of the Mexico City Grand Prix the Briton focuses on the mistakes he made during the season, which prevented him from being in an even better position:

 

"It has been a wonderful season so far, and the most complex in some respects. There are several factors that have proved extremely positive, even on the tough days, but I wouldn't say it's the toughest year of my career. I thought about all the championships I've taken part in since I was ten years old, and I realized that I've had various complex moments that are very similar to each other, but at the same time unique. It could have been more positive, in the sense that we wasted points. We haven't always been perfect, but it is still an experience and, above all, I think that everything that has happened has happened for a reason". 

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And adds:

 

"Thus, we have learned from our mistakes or imperfections. In the past, even before I arrived in F1, many facts from the past came back to me which helped me to make the right decisions. I still make mistakes today, but it's part of the process and I don't want to give up, because I know I could improve tomorrow. It's right to reflect on your mistakes, but that doesn't mean I have to think: Well, I would have preferred to do it this way. The more you think about it, the more you remain anchored to the past, and I want to look forward".

 

The Briton, however, also underlines how the difference in experience between him and the Dutch can be very important in such a close fight:

 

"I've been here a long time and I know Max hasn't won a championship in a long, long time. So, I know what it's like to be close to your first title, particularly in this sport, and I know the pressures you feel. Plus, he's still young and will grow tremendously over the next ten years, which I think everyone will be excited to see".

 

Regarding the next Grand Prix, however, the Mercedes driver expects unfavorable values in the field for himself and for his team:

 

"Last time here they were a little faster than us, this is a Red Bull circuit. We've had success here in the past too, but only because Max made a mistake and took a penalty. But they were much faster than us".

 

Max Verstappen responds to his rival, showing great determination and self-confidence:

 

"I like what I do, it takes the pressure off. It's not the first time they've been battling for a championship. Of course it is in F1, but not in my life. The will to win is always the same, and I will try hard to bring home the result as I have done in the past. As I said before, if the car allows me to achieve success, I'll win, otherwise I won't".

 

Red Bull Racing consultant Helmut Marko points out that both teams and drivers will be important in deciding the outcome of the championship:

 

"The rider will decide the championship. But the most important thing is that the team is flawless. Neither Mercedes nor Red Bull have been perfect so far. The whole package has to work, but the driver makes the difference, and this is demonstrated by the fact that neither Bottas nor Perez can keep up with Hamilton and Verstappen. What if we lose the World Cup? Well, life goes on, but it's useless to hide that the title is very important for him and for us, that's out of the question. We've been chasing him for a long time and it would be a bitter disappointment for Max if he doesn't succeed. We have more victories than them. We were superior, but this is not reflected in the score".

 

In view of the next Grand Prix, the Austrian manager is not hiding and is firmly aiming for the best result:

 

"We have a bigger turbo than the Mercedes one, thanks to the thin air it should be an advantage. In Mexico, the goal is a brace".

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Honda engineer Toyoharu Tanabe explains how thin air has a great influence on many technical aspects:

 

"The air pressure is much lower and the air is less dense, which affects many aspects of the power unit and chassis. We will try to optimize the available package by exploiting the data collected in the past and what we will detect on Friday in free practice, we cannot afford mistakes".

 

Timo Glock instead reflects on the contractual situation of Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas. In the opinion of the former German driver, the difference in status of the two drivers could influence their behaviour and consequently also the outcome of the Championship:

 

"Mercedes has decided to replace Bottas with George Russell in 2022 while Red Bull has confirmed Sergio Perez. This means that Verstappen can count 100% on his box mate, while Hamilton cannot do the same since it is enough to think of the Dutch Grand Prix to remember how Valtteri Bottas' only concern was trying to set the fastest lap".

 

This weekend will be special for Sergio Perez, who celebrates his home race wearing a special helmet for the occasion:

 

"I spoke to my designer and he came up with an amazing design. It's probably my favorite design ever. I wanted to put my colors in it in a bigger and better way than before, because on all my helmets I try to represent my country, Mexican cultures and traditions. I also changed the color of the foam, using that of the Mexican flag. I can't wait to wear it. Since I revealed it this week, the Mexican people already love it".

 

The Mexican then thanks his audience, who have always supported him, hoping to repay the affection with a great result:

 

"My country has supported me so much throughout my career. I always like the possibility of racing in front of these fans. People are always surprised by the support I get here in Mexico, but this audience has always supported me, ever since many years ago when my career was just starting out. It's just great to finally have a team and a car that I can dream of a win in my home country, we have the chance to make a great result this weekend. I will prepare as best I can. We'll see what we'll be able to achieve. I would be proud if I could fulfill one of my childhood dreams [and win]. This is a real opportunity, which depends on me and my team, while other years it depended on other factors. So there is a very real possibility and my motivation is 100%".

 

The Red Bull Racing driver is questioned about the possibility of a team order in favor of Max Verstappen, who is fighting for victory in the World Championship. Perez responds by showing full willingness to help the team:

 

"That would be a nice problem to have, from my point of view. No? We should see what circumstances we have in the race. In the end, we are riders working as a team and the main focus is on the team and the big picture. We will have to look at the circumstances. And that's the beauty of racing: decisions are made on the spot, in seconds, even if they are very complicated matters. But I'm pretty sure the whole team would like me to win this weekend".

 

Even the Red Bull Racing team principal, Christian Horner, comments with a bit of irony on this hypothetical scenario:

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"It would be a very difficult decision to take away the victory in his home race probably, we wouldn't be able to get out of the circuit alive".

 

Daniel Ricciardo instead shows full support for Sergio Perez, highlighting how important a victory at his home Grand Prix can be:

 

"I want you to win too, if it were the last race of the season and it meant letting [Verstappen] win the title, it would be a much more complex decision. But otherwise not. We have dreamed of a victory in our home race since we were children".

 

Pierre Gasly arrives in Mexico on the strength of the good competitiveness demonstrated by his AlphaTauri, in full battle for the fifth position in the constructors' standings, with the aim and the hope of redeeming the last unfortunate results in a demanding Grand Prix for both the drivers and the the single-seaters:

 

"Too bad about Austin retiring, we could have taken both cars into the top ten and scored a couple more points on the Alpine. But overall it was a good weekend and we got two cars into Q3, clearly ahead of Aston Martin and Alpine all weekend. So, despite the two retirements in the last four races, the fight for fifth place in the championship is still open. The last time we raced in Mexico, in 2019, I finished ninth. It's the kind of track you need to be fit on, because the altitude makes things more complicated. You feel it much more if you go racing, but when you're in the car you don't notice it, despite this putting a lot of strain on the car: the power unit, the brakes and every other part where cooling is crucial. And as far as aerodynamics are concerned, we will go to the track with maximum load, but the density of the air will mean that the cars will have a lower load even compared to Monza and we will slide a lot. The crowd here is incredible and I expect a crazy reception this year, given the success that Checo and Red Bull are having this season. The atmosphere is incredible".

 

McLaren CEO Zak Brown highlights the great growth of Lando Norris. The US entrepreneur is convinced that with an equal car he would be able to compete with all the drivers on the grid:

 

"I first noticed Lando in 2014 and now I think he can be regarded as one of the best riders. He is at the level of Verstappen and Hamilton. Maybe not in terms of experience, but certainly in terms of speed. The playing field must be levelled, and at that point may the best one win. A football team has eleven players, but you would never want your opponent to have three extra men".

 

Charles Leclerc approaches the weekend with good hopes of obtaining a useful result for the Constructors' World Championship standings. The Monegasque driver declares:

 

"On paper it's a good track, but we're too far from Mercedes and Red Bull. Our high-downforce package has always worked well. We brought it here too. That's why I think we will be competitive".

 

Williams head of performance, Dave Robson, analyses his team's season, highlighting an improvement over the last few difficult seasons, with some interesting performance peaks:

 

"Our most heated challenge is the one with Alfa Romeo but, in some races, we still had the potential to get close to Aston Martin or AlphaTauri. In general, the characteristics of our car allow us to be the eighth or ninth force. It's also true that we managed to catch the slower of the two Alpines, or the slower of the Aston Martins, and recently also Yuki Tsunoda, who has been very good in the last two races. As a result we are certainly ninth, sometimes eighth, at most seventh or sixth, because we did a good job and, thanks to this, there were occasions where we overtook more cars than expected".

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George Russell, on the other hand, focuses more on the next Grand Prix that awaits him, which is interesting and demanding for teams and drivers:

 

"I'm really looking forward to going to Mexico. The race presents a lot of interesting challenges such as the high altitude, which affects us as drivers but also the performance of the car, and we have to take these things into consideration when preparing for the weekend. Likewise, these challenges present us with an opportunity and I look forward to seeing the warmth, cheer and support we match Mexico".

 

The British driver can enjoy this season finale in peace, thanks to the contract already signed with Mercedes for 2022 and a good position in this season's standings:

 

"I just have less pressure. I think it comes down to being in a relatively comfortable position in the Constructors' Championship and also on a personal level, [having] everything confirmed for next year. I find myself in a very stable position personally and I'm able to go out there and try new things, without being afraid of making a few mistakes".

 

While his teammate, the Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi, points out that he has never competed in a Formula 1 Grand Prix on this circuit:

 

"Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is another track on the calendar where I haven't raced as a Formula 1 driver yet, although I do have some experience at this track, given the free practice sessions in 2018 and 2019, which is always useful. It is a unique circuit because we will have the highest altitude on the calendar, which always makes things very interesting for the drivers. This makes finding the right balance of the car a significant challenge. The atmosphere in Mexico is always great and I'm looking forward to seeing what the event is like with all the fans".

 

Kimi Raikkonen explains the most important aspects that will affect the race. However, the Finnish Alfa Romeo driver is hopeful of fighting for the top ten, a goal often missed by the team this season:

 

"In Mexico it's very easy to make mistakes because the track is very slippery, at the same time, however, it's a circuit that gives great satisfaction when you manage to complete a clean lap without snagging. Qualifying will be very important, because it is true that there are two long straights where you can overtake, but in the rest of the track it is really difficult to study alternative maneuvers because the roadway is really narrow. In terms of pace, in the last two races we have shown that we can fight for the points zone without being able to win any, as always it will be a matter of details. If we can put all the pieces together we can aim for the top ten".

 

The Finnish driver briefly returns to the episode that saw him protagonist together with Fernando Alonso in the last United States Grand Prix, without however giving too much weight to what happened:

 

"Nothing big happened, I tried to overtake, he tried to defend himself. I tried to stay inside the white line, maybe I was a few inches outside. That's what happened, there's not much more to say. I haven't spoken to Fernando, why should I?"

 

Finally Raikkonen, now close to definitive retirement from Formula 1, is not worried about what awaits him in his future:

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"I haven't thought about what my life will be like without Formula 1, I can't wait for the end of the year to go back to a normal life and do things with my family. I haven't thought about next year or the one after that".

 

Antonio Giovinazzi also starts the weekend with the same hopes and goals as his teammate, eager to make up for a season that didn't bring the desired results:

 

"In Mexico the push from the public is truly impressive, I feel like I'm in Italy and this always gives me a great boost, three consecutive races await us, three opportunities to score points. We're getting closer and closer to the top ten race after race and now it's time to get what we deserve in terms of results".

 

On Friday 5 November 2021, track activity begins with the first two free practice sessions. FP1 is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. locals. During the first practice session, Valtteri Bottas sets the fastest time, beating his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, by 0.076 seconds. The Finnish driver's time is a second slower than the best lap time obtained last time on this track - dating back to 2019 - despite the presence of a very dirty track, since the single-seaters, on the straight, raise a thick dust as they pass . Behind the two Mercedes drivers are the two Red Bull Racing drivers. Sergio Pérez, fourth, also went off the track at the last corner, crashing into the barriers. The accident forces his team's mechanics to replace the bottom of the car. Charles Leclerc makes a similar mistake. Six times were canceled from the riders during the first free practice session. This measure was taken against Mick Schumacher and Lance Stroll, for having exceeded the limits of the track at turn 11. Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris, on the other hand, suffered the cancellation of two times for each. In one case, both drivers exceeded the track limits in turn 15, while in the other case they set their times under the double yellow flag regime. At the end of the first free practice session on Friday, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen were summoned by the stewards for not having followed the instructions established by the race directors at the first three corners. Both riders receive a reprimand, the first of the season. At 3:00 p.m. the second free practice session is scheduled. The weather conditions are good, the air temperature is 21 °C, while that of the asphalt is 42 °C. Max Verstappen records the fastest time, 0.424 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who precedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. The Red Bull Racing technicians opted for a different height from the ground of the car, in search of more downforce. Verstappen is very fast in the final part of the track, which features several corners. 

 

The Mercedes, on the other hand, are fast in the initial straight, but this is due to the less driveability of the mixed section. The superiority of the two teams is confirmed by the fact that Carlos Sainz Jr., fifth, is 0.447 seconds behind Sergio Pérez, fourth. George Russell does not run timed laps, due to a gearbox problem; some similar problems also limit Daniel Ricciardo. There are three times canceled by the drivers for having exceeded the track limits at turn 11 during the second free practice session, twice for Nikita Mazepin and once for Nicholas Latifi. On the other hand, four times have been canceled under the double yellow flag regime. The drivers affected by this measure are Yuki Tsunoda, Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Pérez. At the end of the second free practice session on Friday, Nikita Mazepin was summoned by the stewards for not having followed the instructions established by the race director at turn 8. The Russian Haas driver received a reprimand, the first of the season. The transmissions were replaced on the cars of Sergio Pérez, Charles Leclerc, Mick Schumacher, Pierre Gasly and George Russell. All the drivers, with the exception of Russell, are not penalized on the starting grid: Pérez, Leclerc and Schumacher have used the previous transmission for six consecutive Grands Prix, while Gasly did not finish the previous United States Grand Prix. The replacement of Russell's gearbox takes place before the dispute of six consecutive races, for which the Briton is penalized by five positions on the starting grid. 

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At the end of the first day of practice, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is concerned about a clear superiority by Max Verstappen, especially in the second free practice session. The Austrian manager confesses to the media:

 

"The track suits Red Bull better. Something is missing from our car, we saw it today. Basically they are favorites on this track, but it's not over yet, there's tomorrow and then Sunday's race. The biggest difficulty is the lack of grip on the car. We are much slower in the high-speed corners, which is normally our strong point, but today we tried to figure out how to improve the setup for tomorrow".

 

Toto Wolff is also worried about the engine issue, which could cause further problems for the Anglo-German team:

 

"We are not calm. It's a problem for us this year, we lost a lot of points, we're not 100% sure we'll finish the season with these engines and therefore we could change them again. The tension between me and Chris Horner? It's a normal situation when fighting for the World Cup. There is no pressure, it's just games. There's no pressure for Lewis either: he won seven titles and is still going strong. Max is at the beginning of his career and is just as strong. It's no more difficult than defeating your teammate. It simply depends on the level of performance of the car".

 

Lewis Hamilton also confirms Toto Wolff's impressions, also explaining what Mercedes is missing at the moment, compared to Red Bull Racing:

 

"We are fighting Red Bull well, but now our rivals are definitely too fast for us. We lack downforce, which is certainly the reason that explains the half-second difference between us. In general the car was fine, we didn't have huge problems. We are giving absolutely everything we have. Quite simply, Red Bull is faster than us at the moment. There's no real concern ahead of the weekend, I'm just trying to improve our set-up".

 

Max Verstappen, author of the best time of the day, is much more satisfied. The Dutch driver is also happy with his feeling with his single-seater, and he doesn't hide it:

 

"Great beautiful day. We tried to improve the car by trying to perfect the sensations it gave us. In FP1 the track was very dirty, while in FP2 the situation was already more under control. The car is running quite well. There are still some things to look at, but we are in good shape. perfect? We are never happy and always try to improve. We have good impressions but tomorrow we will have to be concrete. We certainly started the weekend in a positive way".

 

Kimi Raikkonen, on the other hand, highlights the difficulties of driving on a dirty track, with little grip and with a setup with less downforce:

 

"It was a pretty regular Friday. Like every time here in Mexico, at the beginning there is no grip: the track is very slippery and you are not helped by the little downforce you have due to the thin air, but it is the same for everyone and we expect things improve slightly already from FP3. I think we're in decent shape with the set-up, there's nothing too urgent to deal with, but, as always, we'll need to squeeze a bit more speed out of the car ahead of qualifying".

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Antonio Giovinazzi's impressions are similar to those of his teammate. The Italian Alfa Romeo Racing driver is confident he can improve, having not been able to exploit his maximum potential:

 

"Friday in Mexico is never the easiest day, we were struggling with grip in general but I think it was mainly because the track was very green, especially in FP1. Unfortunately I had traffic in my qualifying simulation so my times don't really reflect our performance. The race pace wasn't too bad, so we can be optimistic for the rest of the weekend: we are there, we will continue to work to have a better day already on Saturday. The goal is to do the best we can do, targeting Q3. The track will evolve a lot in the next sessions and then we can have a better time and a better result".

 

Instead, it was a complicated day for Williams. Head of Performance Dave Robson explains the gearbox problems encountered in George Russell's car, also confirming that the Briton will serve a grid penalty in Sunday's race:

 

"We had some problems that hindered our work programme, especially in FP2. We found a problem with George's gearbox at the end of FP1 and therefore opted to mount the race component for the second afternoon session. Unfortunately, however, this too suffered another breakdown during the first run. We immediately limited Latifi's plan before realizing that his car would not suffer from the same problem as Russell. George will now fit a brand new gearbox and start the race with a grid penalty. It's obviously a frustrating situation, but it's always better to suffer this kind of problem on Friday than on Sunday".

 

However, Russell does not seem particularly concerned by the situation. The feeling and the pace, before suffering the breakdown, were encouraging, and the British rider is optimistic that he can exploit his potential in the race:

 

"We unexpectedly encountered several gearbox problems and as a result we had to fit a new unit which will give us a grid penalty. Not ideal, but we know points are awarded and not on Friday. On the other hand, FP1 was a strong session for us. The car felt good, I found a decent pace and we showed good race pace. This will be essential, because the high altitude makes it really difficult to cool the brakes and the power unit. If we can manage that then I think we can be at the forefront of the race".

 

On Saturday 6 November 2021 activity on the track resumes with the third free practice session, scheduled at 11:00 a.m. locals. Before the start of the third free practice session on Saturday, the fourth unit relating to the internal combustion engine, the turbocharger and the MGU-H was installed on Lando Norris' car. The British driver will be forced to start from the back of the grid. The fourth unit relating to the internal combustion engine, the turbocharger, the MGU-H and the MGU-K, the third unit relating to the energy recovery system and the electronic control unit are installed on Esteban Ocon's car , and the ninth unit relating to the exhaust system. The French Alpine rider will be forced to start from the back of the grid. The temperatures are cooler than in FP2, respectively by 17 °C for the air and 35 °C for the asphalt. Sergio Pérez records the best performance of the third free practice session. The superiority of Red Bull is confirmed by the second time scored by Max Verstappen. There is also a problem with the DRS on the Dutchman's car. Behind the duo from the Anglo-Austrian team are the two Mercedes, with Hamilton 0.651 seconds behind Pérez. The Ferraris close the tests with the fifth time of Sainz Jr. and the ninth of Leclerc, the latter author of a spin. The grip on the track is not optimal due to the presence of fillers in many areas of the track, following the oil leak from the engine of a car engaged in a side race. There are four times canceled for having exceeded the limits of the track. Lando Norris suffers the cancellation of two strokes, in both cases for having exceeded the limits in turn 1. 

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The same provision is taken against Nikita Mazepin and Fernando Alonso, for having exceeded the limits of the track respectively in turn 11 and in turn 12. At 2:00 p.m. local qualifications are scheduled. Before the start of the session, the Red Bull Racing mechanics adjusted the front wing on both cars; the pilots manage to take part in the qualification without problems. The first, among the top team drivers, to set a time is Carlos Sainz Jr., in 1'18"583, immediately overtaken by the other Scuderia Ferrari driver, Charles Leclerc, with 1'17"991. Shortly after Sebastian Vettel moved up to second position. A few moments later the session was interrupted due to the accident involving Lance Stroll, who went off the track at the last corner. His car is damaged but, above all, work is needed to restore the protective barriers. At the time of the interruption, only seven riders had completed a timed lap. The session resumed at 2:33 p.m.. Carlos Sainz Jr. complained about a loss of power, which was soon fixed. The Mercedes climb to the top two positions: first Hamilton sets a time of 1'17"576, then Valtteri Bottas overtakes his teammate by 0.060 seconds. But then the Red Bull Racing drivers change their lead positions: Sergio Pérez takes positions ahead of Bottas (1'17"451), beaten immediately after by Max Verstappen, who sets the fastest time, lapping in 1'16"788. Lando Norris beats Lewis Hamilton by 0.002 seconds, while Charles Leclerc climbs into sixth position , immediately behind the World Champion but ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and the Alfa Romeo Racing cars of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.The two Mercedes drivers improve their times, but not enough to steal the top position in the standings from the elusive Verstappen. However, the two place themselves ahead of Sergio Pérez. The Alpine riders are still without valid times. Esteban Ocon is positioned among the Alfa Romeo Racing, while Fernando Alonso is twelfth. Sainz Jr. rises to fifth position, just overtaken by Yuki Tsunoda. Pierre Gasly improves his performance, completing the second fastest lap. The French driver is overtaken by Charles Leclerc, who sets a lap of 1'16"748, which is the best time of the session. The Monegasque driver's time is then beaten by Valtteri Bottas. Alonso, Latifi, Schumacher, Mazepin and Stroll are eliminated In Q2, the choice of tires affects the one for the start. 

 

All the drivers' cars, fearing the high temperatures expected for the race, use Medium compound tyres. Sergio Pérez completes his first lap in 1'17"055. Max Verstappen is faster than his teammate, and completes the lap in 1'16"483. Lewis Hamilton completes a lap a few thousandths slower than that of the Dutch driver, while Valtteri Bottas, third, is almost 0.5 seconds behind Max Verstappen. Charles Leclerc also sets a better time than Sergio Pérez. Esteban Ocon, who switches to Soft tyres, is twelfth; Yuki Tsunoda, who made the same choice, is third. Carlos Sainz Jr. improves to eighth position, Charles Leclerc instead remains fifth, while Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly do not improve their times.Lewis Hamilton again sets the best time, with a lap of 1'16"474, or 0.009 seconds faster than Max Verstappen. Antonio Giovinazzi is the author of a spin at the entrance to the stadium, preventing Carlos Sainz Jr. from completing his lap. Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Räikkönen, George Russell, Antonio Giovinazzi and Esteban Ocon do not qualify for Q3. The ten cars qualifying for Q3 are from just five teams: Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and AlphaTauri. Pierre Gasly sets the first time, beaten by Sergio Pérez in 1'16"342. Max Verstappen surpasses the Mexican, with a time of 1'16"225. Both Mercedes manage to beat the Dutch driver, with Valtteri Bottas setting the best time in 1'15"875; behind the Finn is Lewis Hamilton in 1'16"020. Pierre Gasly is fifth, ahead of Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo. With the second attempt, Sergio Pérez makes a mistake in the second sector, distracted by Yuki Tsunoda, while Max Verstappen doesn't improve, as well as the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas conquers the nineteenth pole position of his career. Lewis Hamilton completes the front row, in which both Mercedes are therefore present. The second row is instead entirely occupied by the two Red Bull Racing. During qualifying, Yuki Tsunoda's time was canceled for exceeding the track limits in turn 11. Mick Schumacher also suffered the same penalty for exceeding the track limits in turn 12. At the end of qualifying, Kimi Räikkönen, Nicholas Latifi and George Russell are summoned by the stewards: Räikkönen for having crossed the white line which delimits the entrance to the pit lane, rejoining the track, while Latifi and Russell for not having left the pit lane in the correct order with other cars already present in line in the pit lane, during Q1. 

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Finnish driver Kimi Räikkönen receives a reprimand, the second of the season, while Nicholas Latifi and George Russell do not receive penalties. At the end of qualifying Valtteri Bottas is understandably happy with his performance and with the setup improvements that helped achieve this result:

 

"Special lap the first attempt. In the second I was unable to put together the same excellent sectors. But the first attempt in Q3 I think was one of my best laps ever: a great feeling. We were in quite good shape this morning, but with the warmer temperatures in the afternoon the track came even more to our side. We managed to optimize the setup. Driving the car was a joy today. The straight is very long tomorrow at the start. Those who are behind with the slipstream may have an opportunity. We will have to try to get off to a good start. As a team it's great to have two cars in front. We hope to hold the positions".

 

Lewis Hamilton was beaten by his teammate. The World Champion can however be satisfied with the team result, and with having qualified ahead of Max Verstappen. Not surprisingly, the Briton congratulates Valtteri Bottas on the result obtained by the Finn:

 

"Valtteri did a fantastic job. I am proud of him. He is driving very well in the last few races. The result is great for the team. We didn't think we had the pace this weekend, hogging the front row is really special. It gives us the ability to fight well with others. We have no idea what has changed. They were six tenths ahead, then four. Whatever happened in qualifying, we suddenly found ourselves having the best pace. I'm as shocked as everyone, but I welcome this result. I wish I was in Valtteri's place, but he was amazing. I did everything to be there, but I couldn't do better today".

 

Max Verstappen complains for not having obtained a pole position that seemed like a possible result, both for a non-optimal balance and for a yellow flag that compromised his last attempt. Despite a less than optimal result, the Dutch Red Bull Racing driver remains confident ahead of the race and declares:

 

"During qualifying we lost our balance. During the last attempt I felt like I was in good shape to do a good lap, then I don't know what happened in front of me. Two pilots went out. I thought there was going to be a yellow flag so I put my foot up and the lap was obviously destroyed. But even without having an excellent balance I think pole was within reach. Starting third isn't the best, but it's always better to be third than second here, I think. Rear wing? We had to work on it a bit, but before qualifying everything was ok. It's not ideal, but I don't think that's why we struggled. Fighting with the Mercedes tomorrow? Yes, absolutely. Qualifying didn't go as we wanted, but we won't be using these tires tomorrow. Everything is still at stake".

 

The Red Bull Racing team principal, Christian Horner, dwells particularly on the episode of the yellow flag, caused among other things by a driver under contract with the Anglo-Austrian team, the Japanese Yuki Tsunoda:

 

"We have been Tsunodized. Verstappen was two tenths below the pole position time, Perez just two above".

 

However, the AlphaTauri rookie does not share Horner's opinion and believes he has not made a mistake, and therefore has no responsibility for what happened:

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"Was Max angry? Because he? I don't know what happened with him. I didn't do anything wrong with Checo, I just disappeared because I went off track. I couldn't do anything other than that. If you see the onboard, it is he (Perez) who has lost control, he went out by himself. If I had another opportunity I would do the same thing. In that situation it's really tough and I think I did everything I could. I don't think I affected his performance".

 

The Mercedes team defends Yuki Tsunoda, with a tweet published on his social profile:

 

"Keep your head up, you couldn't do otherwise. Don't let haters and critics get you down".

 

Pierre Gasly, on the other hand, is very happy, after a day in which everything worked out in the best way for him and the AlphaTauri. The Frenchman thanks the team and his teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, for giving him the opportunity to exploit all the potential available and achieve a great result:

 

"It went well and I'm extremely happy with this fifth place, what a fantastic qualifying! The team have done a great job with the car appearing to perform well at this track and we have been feeling really strong this weekend. In qualifying I tried to put everything together and managed to finish three tenths ahead of sixth. Yuki also did well and helped me in Q3, giving me the slipstream. Hopefully we can do well in the race: we will continue to focus on ourselves this weekend and try to score as many points as possible here in Mexico".

 

Honda's technical director, Toyoharu Tanabe, proudly comments on the overall result of all the single-seaters powered by Japanese power units:

 

"In qualifying for the Mexico City GP, all four Honda single-seaters managed to grab Q3. Beyond that, the Red Bulls will start from the second row, with Verstappen third and Perez fourth. However, it is clear that our rivals have taken a step forward since FP3, and it is also true that Max and Sergio failed to complete a valid lap in the closing stages of Q3, for various reasons. So overall, it was a tough session for them".

 

Tanabe, in particular, focuses on the performance expressed by the AlphaTauri:

 

"Pierre demonstrated excellent pace throughout the weekend, Yuki's goal was instead to finish ahead of the other riders who will start from the last positions with him due to the penalties, and he succeeded by finishing ninth. This too was a brilliant result. He too, like Pierre, has shown good pace, and so we expect him to be able to make a comeback. This track is relatively short, which means that the riders will face 71 very tough laps, but they will do their utmost to bring home a positive result for both teams".

 

The result obtained by Charles Leclerc is lower than his expectations, and the Monegasque takes full responsibility for the mistakes he made:

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"Certainly having a car in front in the last sector didn't help me, but I have to say that it's only my fault. I can only be angry with myself. I wasn't good enough. In the first sector I was doing the lap I wanted. Everything was going well, I was a tenth and a half faster than the previous lap. We were there and then I made some mistakes that don't fit in Q3. I'm sorry for the team, because there has been a lot of work since FP1. I wasn't at all comfortable with the car, I made a lot of mistakes in FP1, FP2 and FP3. In qualifying I finally found the feeling, and I had been very competitive up until this mistake. I'm sorry, I'll try to learn from that".

 

Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto draws an overall positive balance at the end of a complicated qualifying, which ended with a team result that leaves good prospects for the team in view of the race:

 

"It was a more difficult qualifying than we expected, a slippery track, difficult to interpret. There have been many mistakes. Charles trivially in the decisive lap failed to put together a perfect lap as he usually knows how to do. There were some small mistakes especially in the final part of the lap. This cost him important tenths. We certainly hoped for more. It wasn't the case today, but the weekend is long. There is still the race tomorrow. Many will be penalized and will leave behind. The race is still to be played and Sainz's sixth position is good, Gasly had Tsunoda's slipstream which earned him three tenths".

 

In particular, Binotto identifies the lack of grip on the track as one of the most demanding difficulties faced in qualifying:

 

"The track was really dirty and for this reason there was little grip. The consequence was the difficulty for the drivers to find confidence, with the track evolving continuously. These are all variables that make a driver look for consistency lap after lap and it's not easy. Sainz was consistent, Leclerc missed a bit today in Q3, but it's not an aspect I want to insist on. He usually always comes up with something special, that wasn't the case today".

 

Finally, the Italian manager also comments on Mercedes' performance, praising their results and their ability to overcome difficulties:

 

"The fight between Mercedes and Red Bull is close. Daring Mercedes is wrong at this point in the season. Lewis is having an incredible season. In general they are always there. Today's result is not so surprising".

 

Kimi Raikkonen achieved his personal best qualifying result of the season, and he is understandably pleased. However, the Finnish driver contains his enthusiasm, underlining the importance of the work to be done in the race to get points:

 

"I think we can be satisfied with the result. It's my best qualifying of the year, it was hard fought and probably could have been a little better or a little worse, one place up or one down, overall it's good. It's just qualifying and we have to do a good job tomorrow too if we want to bring home some points".

 

Antonio Giovinazzi made a mistake that dropped him out of Q3 and behind his teammate. The Italian driver talks about it after the end of qualifying:

 

"We were very close to a place in Q3. In the end we weren't able to improve: on my last lap, I locked up the rear tires under braking but up to that point the lap wasn't bad. We'll see what we can do: it will be a long GP, especially considering the tire degradation, but if we run a clean race we can bring home some points".

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The Mexico City Grand Prix is scheduled for Sunday 7 November 2021. The start is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. locals. The sky is partly cloudy and the air temperature is 20.2 °C, while that of the asphalt is 46.3 °C. Before the race, the gearbox was replaced on Lance Stroll's car. The substitution takes place before the dispute of six consecutive Grands Prix with the same component. For this reason the Aston Martin driver is penalized with the loss of five positions on the starting grid. However, the penalty has no practical effect since the Canadian would have started in last position anyway. Alfa Romeo Racing was fined 1,000 euros by the Federation, as Kimi Räikkönen exceeded the minimum speed established inside the pit lane during the sighting laps before lining up on the starting grid. At the start of the Mexico City Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas remained in the center of the track, thus allowing Max Verstappen, who started third, to take the slipstream and move into first position, positioning himself ahead of Lewis Hamilton. At the same point Daniel Ricciardo does not keep the trajectory and hits Valtteri Bottas' car. Further back, following a contact, Yuki Tsunoda's car is hit and the single-seater climbs violently over a curb. The need to remove his single-seater forced the race direction to send the safety car onto the track. The race resumed with Max Verstappen in first position, followed by Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Pérez, Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc, Antonio Giovinazzi, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Sebastian Vettel. Carlos Sainz Jr. manages to overtake Antonio Giovinazzi. Max Verstappen is able to constantly widen his lead on Lewis Hamilton, bringing it to three seconds at the end of lap 10. Sergio Pérez is 10 seconds behind his teammate, while Pierre Gasly is over 13 seconds behind race leader. The classification remains unchanged, except for George Russell, who leaves the points zone, overtaken by Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris. During lap 16 Antonio Giovinazzi was called to the pits to change tyres. The Italian driver rejoins the race in thirteenth position, behind Valterri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo. At the end of lap 25, Max Verstappen increased his advantage over Hamilton, bringing it to 8.5 seconds: the Briton had to defend himself from Sergio Pérez, who moved to 2 seconds behind. Lewis Hamilton pits four laps later to put on Hard tyres. 

 

Shortly after, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen himself also stopped in the pits during lap 33. In this phase of the race Sergio Pérez took the lead of the race, ahead of Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Pierre Gasly. The Mexican driver pitted on lap 40, rejoining the track in third place, behind Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. With the stop of Carlos Sainz Jr. two laps later, Pierre Gasly recovered fourth position, while the Spaniard of Scuderia Ferrari dropped to sixth position. The Red Bull Racing Dutchman now leads the race, with a lead over Lewis Hamilton by 13 seconds. In the following minutes it seems that Sergio Pérez can get close to the Briton. During lap 57, Ferrari decided to exchange positions between the drivers, thus giving Carlos Sainz Jr. the opportunity to get close to Pierre Gasly. The Spanish rider then gave the position back to his teammate. In the closing laps, Sergio Pérez gets noticeably close to Lewis Hamilton, but never having the opportunity to overtake the World Champion. Mercedes called Valtteri Bottas into the pits during lap 65, to put on Soft tires and try to snatch the fastest lap from Max Verstappen, with his additional point. The Finnish driver found traffic on the track and failed in the task, so much so that the team pitted him again during the penultimate lap to mount another set of new tyres. This time Valtteri Bottas records the fastest lap, setting the new track record. Max Verstappen wins the Grand Prix of Mexico City, and conquers for the nineteenth time a Grand Prix valid for the Formula 1 World Championship. The Dutch driver increases his lead in the standings of the World Drivers' Championship, bringing it to 19 points over Lewis Hamilton ranked second. Sergio Pérez, third, conquers the first podium in his home race. He is the first Mexican driver to achieve the feat of getting on the podium in the national race. Pierre Gasly is fourth, followed by Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz Jr., Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris. During the race, Nikita Mazepin was canceled once for having exceeded the limits of the track in turn 11. Max Verstappen's joy, related to the triumph in Mexico City, is uncontainable. The Dutch driver, as soon as he got out of his car, identifies the key moment in the start thanks to which he won the Grand Prix victory:

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"Incredible audience. Having Checo as a companion when you come to Mexico is great. But even before, every time here the fans are incredible. They love F1. It's really nice to be here. Departure? The track was wide and allowed me this. We had to try to brake as late as possible and I succeeded. I went from third to first and this turned the race around. I was able to focus only on me. The car had incredible wheelbase. Title? The road is long. She's in good shape, but things can change quickly. In Brazil I have so many good memories, now I look at this. Obviously when you go to the grid you try to figure out where to brake, I knew exactly where to brake in turn 1. Basically the race was decided there. Whoever braked later was right and that was us. In the race we were then able to control the pace".

 

Lewis Hamilton acknowledges his rival's superiority in this race. The World Champion, despite his second place behind Max Verstappen, sees his gap in the standings against the leader of the World Championship increase, but he is happy with his performance:

 

"First of all congratulations to Max. His car was really too strong today, we couldn't help it. I gave everything I had. In the end it was a good battle with Sergio, I'm glad I got at least second place. Pressure? It's something I've experienced many times. It's easy for me to handle. But that just shows how fast his car is. The fact that Checo got so close to me and was able to follow me, staying attached. He put a lot of pressure on me, he was very fast. Anyway, I really enjoyed the race".

 

In view of the next races, the hope of the British is to be able to fight more closely with Red Bull Racing, in order not to jeopardize the challenge for the World Championship:

 

"If Red Bull were able to demonstrate their superiority in terms of speed, we'll be in trouble in the next rounds. We will obviously give our best but, unfortunately, it's not enough at the moment to be able to compete with them".

 

Sergio Perez gets on the podium for the first time in his home Grand Prix, but at the end of the race the Mexican driver is not fully satisfied with the result.

 

"Clearly I wanted more today. I would have liked to bring one-two to the team, but I didn't have any real chance to pass Lewis. I gave everything for these people. I could hear them as I passed in the stadium area. The support from the public has been fantastic".

 

Red Bull Racing team principal, Christian Horner, shows great satisfaction with the victory achieved in Mexico City and with the result obtained by his team, congratulating both drivers:

 

"Valtteri was very correct, but initially I thought Max had missed his braking point, he was very late on the brakes and blocked. However, from then on he kept the race in check. I can only say that today has been a crazy day, while Max has been fantastic. The most important part was the start: he found some space and took full advantage of it, even if he surprised me that they gave him this chance to overtake. There are still many points available for the world championship, we need to continue on this path trying to maximize every weekend. Perez has found his form in the last 3 or 4 races and is making a huge contribution to the team. I don't think we expected this win, to be honest, after yesterday. Qualifying was a bit of a surprise and it looked like we weren't in top condition. Paradoxically it was a bit of a blessing, because if we had started from the front row we would have been an easy target approaching turn 1. It was great to see Adrian on the podium 30 years after his first victory, right in Mexico, when he was working at the Williams".

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Red Bull Racing consultant Helmut Marko also expresses satisfaction, focusing in particular on the challenge for the World Drivers' Championship:

 

"I feel relaxed, we have increased the lead in the championship standings, but now we have to win in Brazil again next Sunday. At that point, I will be even more relaxed. Max's late braking is unprecedented, today was incredible. Now, the difference is just one point in the constructors' championship, but Max's fight for the drivers' title is much more important".

 

The Mercedes team principal criticizes the race direction's decision not to penalize Daniel Ricciardo for the contact that compromised Valtteri Bottas' race:

 

"The stewards should take a look at what happened in hindsight, it's surprising they didn't opt for a penalty".

 

But the race director, Michael Masi, responds to the criticisms by explaining the reasons why this decision was taken by the stewards:

 

"No, I don't think it's a matter of lack of consistency, also because certain criteria must be observed for each individual incident, and seeing how they are resolved. The start in Turkey was in the wet, here instead it was dry, and the configuration of the two corners is completely different. Looking at the proximity of the cars, there are a lot of factors that come into play. In this circumstance, the commissioners assessed the circumstance at turn 1 as a racing incident".

 

Daniel Ricciardo also inevitably comments on the episode that compromised his race and that of Valtteri Bottas, apologizing to the Finnish Mercedes driver:

 

"Approaching the first corner it seemed to me that I was closer to the leading group and I tried to delay braking to try and gain positions. At that point I came to lockup just as Valtteri was setting up the corner, but I couldn't do anything to avoid the contact, as I was also on the dirty side of the track. I apologized to him, surely I could have done better, although I have yet to see a replay of what happened. The race was fun for the first 100 metres, the ones before the bend. From then on, after my mistake, the Grand Prix was almost an ordeal that lasted 70 laps".

 

The Australian McLaren driver concludes his argument by expressing a thought about his former Red Bull Racing teammate, Max Verstappen:

 

"If it's not this year, it's inevitable that he'll still be world champion one day".

 

Even Lando Norris' mood is still positive, despite the result of the race. The British driver is aware that he has achieved the maximum possible:

 

"It was the best we could have done, also because Ferrari had a decent day, and we didn't. We now have a consistent gap to the other teams ahead of us, but we can't give up. There are still four races scheduled. There are not many, so we have to give the best of ourselves. Our goal was to get to the points, and we did it. I don't think we could have done much better. We were a little faster than Fernando, but not fast enough to overtake him. We should have recovered at least a second to overtake him, and instead we only gained two tenths".

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The results for Scuderia Ferrari are certainly better. The team principal of the Maranello team, Mattia Binotto, comments with satisfaction on the team result which improves the team's position in the standings, and talks about the positive moment deriving from the performance of the SF21:

 

"Today was a useful race, especially for the championship, because we gain 17 points over McLaren and he takes us 13.5 ahead. As we have always said, the goal is third place and we finally grabbed it here in Mexico. For three races we have always been ahead of McLaren, also in terms of race performance: this bodes well for the end of the season. We will try to consolidate in Brazil. Before arriving in Mexico, I was hoping that this would be a track where we would go better, but that was not the case in qualifying. In the race, however, we did well: we tried in every way to catch Gasly, but we didn't succeed. The result, however, is useful. The team worked well, from the pit stops to the strategy. We stopped Leclerc early to force Gasly to stop too and keeping Sainz out, thus trying them all. Even reversing positions at the end. The team worked well, the riders were cooperative. Good if we look at the result, as points".

 

Binotto then dedicates a thought to all the members of the team, authors of a long and tiring season, but also satisfying, given the difficulties he had to face:

 

"In Mexico I didn't get it, so in Brazil I say we won't go well. Maybe it's better. It will be a tiring hat-trick, given that after Interlagos we will fly to Qatar. It's tiring for the team, even more so at this point of the year. Being away from home for a long time, with all the Covid protocols currently in force, is definitely stressful and I want to thank the guys here too. As for the car, you have to anticipate the times a lot. The Brazilian Grand Prix, for example, has already been prepared in recent weeks".

 

Instead, it was a difficult day for George Russell too, both physically, due to an oversight that prevented him from drinking during the race, and due to a worse race pace than expected. The Williams driver declares:

 

"I complicated my life, during the Safety Car regime I checked if everything was in order with the front wing but, in doing so, I disconnected the drink tube. Having happened during the first lap, I spent the rest of the race quite thirsty. It was probably the hardest race of the season so far as we got a good start and moved up from P16 to P9 on the first lap, and I thought we could fight for a good result. However, we didn't have the pace in the following laps, and we dropped back, so there's a lot to review. It wasn't a very pleasant afternoon but the positive aspect of this Grand Prix was the management of the temperature. I really hope our pace in Brazil can improve even further".

 

His teammate, Nicholas Latifi, is also disappointed with the result obtained from this Grand Prix:

 

"Unfortunately, my race was compromised right from the start, I'll have to watch the replay to see what happened on that first lap. I thought I would have come out of the first corners gaining a couple of positions from the cars involved in the contacts, but instead, to avoid them, I ended up losing a lot. After that, with the pace we had, it was just a blue flag race. It was an afternoon to forget, but now we're moving on to Brazil".

 

In conclusion, the Federation announces that at the end of the Mexico City Grand Prix, the Alpine of Fernando Alonso was drawn among the top ten cars for the technical checks. The single-seater of the French team complied with the technical regulations. Thanks to the victory won in Mexico City, Max Verstappen increases the lead in the standings over Lewis Hamilton, bringing it to 19 points. Valtteri Bottas maintains third position in the World Drivers' Championship, despite not scoring points at the end of the Mexico City Grand Prix. The Finnish driver therefore remains in third position with 185 points, followed by Sergio Perez with 165, Lando Norris with 150, and the two Ferrari drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. with 138 and 130.5 points respectively. In the standings of the Constructors' World Championship, Red Bull Racing closes on Mercedes, reducing the gap from the top to just one point. Scuderia Ferrari moves up to third position overtaking McLaren, now 13.5 points behind. Thanks to the fourth final position of Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri reaches Alpine on equal points, in fifth position in the standings. The San Paolo Grand Prix is scheduled for Sunday 14 November 2021, on the Interlagos circuit, where the last of the three sprint qualifications scheduled for the 2021 season will take place. The challenges are still very interesting: the double one for the two World Championships, Drivers and Constructors, to be followed carefully in this final phase of the season, which promises to still offer many emotions.


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