Yes, that’s right – we managed it. Despite not being the most eventful race of 2022, LWOS has – just about – managed to find five takeaways from the Mexico City Grand Prix.
Despite infectious post-race party scenes, an atmosphere like something plucked right out of Cinco de Mayo, with a colourful and smiling crowd that would befit a postcard, the Mexico City Grand Prix itself was nothing to write home about.
1 – 14 up for Max
It seemed as if it were coming, and in Mexico, Max Verstappen duly did set a new record for most wins in a Formula 1 season with his 14th victory of 2022. It was another day at the office for the World Champion. They held off the double Mercedes challenge at lights-out and had the right tyre strategy. Verstappen retained the lead to take the chequered flag, beating the previous record held equally by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.
What a show you always put on! 🙌
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 31, 2022
2 – A hard day at the office
Mercedes had been confident of getting their first win of the season upon their arrival in Mexico. And the win looked possible in the early stages of the race. After qualifying 2nd, George Russell lost out to team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez on the first lap. But Hamilton and Russell looked strong on the medium tires, as opposed to the softs chosen by Red Bull. In the pitstops, it seemed a shrewd move for the Silver Arrows to be thrown on the hard compound to be seen through to the end. But the move did not pay off. However, the hard tyres failed to deliver and Red Bull were able to claim a 1st and 3rd. Hamilton gave it his all to still claim a second consecutive 2nd place finish with Russell coming home 4th.
3 – A penalty a race gives Danny pace
The last two seasons have been undeniably hard for Daniel Ricciardo. The omni-smiling Aussie has been a shadow of his former self since joining McLaren. It seemed as if he would endure further troubles after punting Yuki Tsunoda off the road at turn 6. Whilst the manoeuvre earned him a 10-second time penalty, it seemingly was the tonic Ricciardo needed, as he then began a charge that showed the world the Honey Badger of old. Overtaking Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon, and Fernando Alonso in quick succession, Ricciardo still had work to do with the penalty in mind. But he built up an advantage of over ten seconds over Ocon to hold 7th place, and win Driver of the Day.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 30, 2022
4 – Less prancing, more meandering horse
Mexico was perhaps Ferrari’s least-competitive showing this season. A dismal qualifying saw Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc set times in Q3 six and eight-tenths-of-a-second slower respectively. Leclerc was even behind the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas. In the race, the scarlet cars had a largely quiet affair, finishing either side of one minute behind Verstappen, and were the last cars to finish that were not lapped.
5 – Another impressive showing for ‘Albono’
One of the most unsung heroes of 2022 has been Williams’ Alex Albon. After sitting out 2021, Albon ended his association with Red Bull and found a home with the Grove-based outfit. Whilst the FW44 has held back the Thai driver on a number of occasions, we have also seen Albon wring just about everything out of the car to achieve some impressive results. He is consistently faster than his outgoing team-mate, Nicholas Latifi. Yesterday was another example of this. After jostling with Pierre Gasly, with both just shy of a points place, Albon finished 12th, a whole lap ahead of Latifi.