F1: Max Verstappen wins the Mexican Grand Prix, Sergio Perez seals home podium
- Lewis Hamilton finished second in the Mexican GP
- Sergio Perez became the first Mexican to secure a podium at the home Grand Prix
- Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo had a racing incident on the very first turn
Max Verstappen had an incredible outing in Mexico City as he dominated the entire race following an incident involving Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo at the very first turn. The Dutchman became the first driver to win three Mexican Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton finished second, holding off a charging Sergio Perez, who became the first Mexican to secure a podium at the home Grand Prix.
Bottas, who sealed the pole position with a brilliant lap in the qualifying, had the worst possible start to his race. The Finnish driver took a weird line as the lights went out in Mexico City, leaving Verstappen, who started third, the outside racing line and giving him the slipstream. The championship leader grabbed the opportunity with open arms and he was already ahead of the pack by Turn 1. However, Bottas, who was braking late into the turn, was unlucky to get hit by Daniel Ricciardo. While Bottas spun out, Ricciardo damaged his front wing and both drivers had to pit and opted for the hard tyres early on.
After the initial advantage, Verstappen capitalised on it and Red Bull had seemingly buried the ghosts of Saturday's qualifying session as they were flying through the laps.
Hamilton was left in a Red Bull sandwich: Verstappen in front and Perez right behind, with Bottas no longer in play to help him defend his position.
And barely a third into the race, Verstappen was zooming off into the distance and Hamilton found himself in a desperate race with Perez to keep the critical championship points needed to keep Verstappen within sight over the final month of the season.
The home crowd roared when Perez briefly led after Hamilton and Verstappen pitted for new tires. That made him the first Mexican driver to lead the Mexico grand prix in race history. Perez earned a third straight podium finish for the first time in his career.
While the race for the lead didn't entertain much, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso put up an exciting show in the fight for the 7th, 8th and 9th position. After the first round incident, Bottas finished outside points, however, in the final lap, he managed to take one point off the Red Bulls as he posted the fastest lap of the race.