Rate the Race and driver of the weekend.
Round 18, Mexico2021
Rate the race: Mean Reader score,4.34 Rated 13/18 races so far
This year’s score of 4.34 is the lowest score this circuit has scored since this column has been running. 6.99 for 2019 was slightly higher than the 6.42 of 2018, and the 6.84 and 6.45 and 4.70 from 2017/16/15, Not surprisingly, it was rated the second worst race of the season so far (n.b. not all the races were rated this year).
Unlike the last time we were here, when Hamilton only needed to score 14 points more than his team mate Bottas to win his 6th WDC, this year Hamilton was running second behind Red Bull’s Verstappen, and Hamilton really needed to win this to stay in the WDC running. The pundits were saying this track should be in Red Bull’s favour, so it was a bit of a shock when Mercedes locked out the front row, with Bottas on pole in front of Team mate Hamilton, with the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Perez taking P3 and P4. Mercedes glory was short lived, as Verstappen quickly took the lead (Bottas was blamed for that having ‘left the door open’ for Verstappen to overtake into turn 1, taking the lead of the race.) Bottas was then hit and spun by Ricciardo (although Perez apologised for that, thinking it was all his fault, as he careered off into the grass). There was quite a kerfuffel into turn 1, as several cars left the track, and Tsunoda and Shumacher retired from the race. The first safety car was deployed for four laps then it was back to business on lap 5, with Verstappen controlling the restart. Honorable mentions to the OAPs of the grid (Vettel, Raikonen and Alonso), who all finished in the points this race, showing that age and experience are not to be sniffed at.
The rest of the race was pretty dull, to be honest, hence the low score. Verstappen beat Hamilton into second place and local boy Perez became the most successful Mexican driver here in Mexico, taking the third step of the podium, much to the delight of the crowd. Mercedes clung onto their lead, just managing to stay one point ahead of Red Bull in WCC. Verstappen further increased his lead over Hamilton in WDC (now 19 points), as Bottas never recovered from his spin and didn’t score any points (even f he did ‘win’ the fastest lap.)
Driver of the Weekend: Max Verstappen, 62.50% of reader vote.
Having come top, second and third in the leader board in the three practice sessions, and ‘only ‘ taking P3 for the start of the race, Verstappen went on to show just how determined he was to win this race and took the lead into turn 1 of lap 1. The outcome was never really in doubt. Max increased his lead in WDC to 19 points, and with Brazil (sprint race and GP) next weekend, it may be possible Max could clinch his first WDC this year. Barring any problems, of course. Well done Max!!