MEXICO – Max Verstappen set a Formula 1 record for most wins in a season on Sunday in Mexico City Grand Prixwhere he took his 14th victory, breaking the overall record Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.
Schumacher set the record in 2004, Vettel equaled it in 2013 and Verstappen was level with the German for the entire week following his victory last week at the Autodrome of America. Combined with wins in Miami, Montreal and now Mexico City, Verstappen has covered the North American leg of this year’s tournament F1 graph.
The Dutchman retained his F1 title with four races remaining in the season, taking the Constructors’ Championship Red Bull with three races left in the season and is two races away from completely obliterating the season’s winning record.
Red Bull has now won nine races in a row, equaling the team’s record set in 2013. The team has won 16 of 21 Formula 1 races this season with Verstappen and Sergio Perez victorious in Monaco and Singapore.
Lewis Hamilton took second place for the second week in a row. He may have had a shot at his first win of the season, but Mercedes made the wrong choice when changing tires, giving Verstappen control.
Perez finished third at his home track for the second consecutive year – prompting thunderous cheers, even though the Mexican driver has yet to win at the Hermanas Rodríguez Autodrome.
The whole week after Perez’s return, fans bothered him. It all started with a demonstration run in his hometown of Guadalajara before he arrived at the track, where Perez was mobbed by crowds as soon as he entered the paddock.
He had to take a back route to get to the Red Bull garage every track session as riders and teams complained for most of the weekend that spectators who had gained access to the paddock were too aggressive.
But the fans love their native pilot and before the race Perez drove around the track in a convertible Volkswagen. He often pressed his hand to his heart to express his gratitude to more than 120,000 fans.
“Honestly, it was unbelievable,” Perez told the crowd in Spanish after the race. “Thank you for all the support you have given me this weekend. You guys are incredible, the best fan base ever. Thank you.”
Earlier this year, the three-day weekend sold out in two minutes, with a three-day audience of 395,902 surpassing last year’s mark of 371,779. Ahead of the race, F1 also said it had extended its contract with the race, often considered the most popular among fans, until 2025.
The day belonged to Verstappen, who started from pole and won for the 34th time in his career. He held the lead at the start as Hamilton passed teammate George Russell to take second, while Perez also passed Russell.
Hamilton may have been fighting for the win and was leading when he pitted, with Mercedes opting for a firmer and more durable compound tyre. Verstappen had a softer and faster tire, while Hamilton lacked the speed to challenge for the win.
Hamilton has two more chances to avoid the first winless season of his career.
Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly earned two more penalty points for pushing Lance Stroll off the track, and the Frenchman is now one penalty point away from a one-race ban.