Max Verstappen claimed a record 16th victory of the 2023 Formula 1 season by coming from third on the grid to win the Mexico City Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver produced a superb start to pass pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz on the crucial run to the first corner at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, where the unique conditions make overtaking very difficult.
Verstappen made another perfect getaway at a mid-race standing restart that followed a red flag triggered by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen crashing into the barriers, before easing 13 seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton by the chequered flag.
Hamilton, who started sixth, leapfrogged Sainz during the first round of pit stops and then passed Leclerc on track to reignite his hopes of chasing down Sergio Perez for second in the drivers’ standings. The Mexican, who Is attempting to seal Red Bull’s first-ever one-two in the drivers’ championship, saw his advantage over Hamilton reduced to 20 points after retiring from his home race after a first-corner collision with Leclerc, who overcame damage to his front wing to take third ahead of Sainz.
Lando Norris produced a stunning recovery to finish fifth after starting 17th on the grid, sealing the position with a late overtake on George Russell.
With a third successive drivers’ title already sealed, the win takes Verstappen past the record he set last season with three races still to come in the current campaign, while a 51st career victory moves him level with Alain Prost in fourth on the sport’s all-time list of winners.
“It’s been incredible,” Verstappen said. “Of course Checo retired on Lap 1 but the crowd stayed and they have been amazing. We are experiencing an incredible season. Today, we started P3 but the pace of the car was very, very good. We tried to do a different strategy to everyone else but unfortunately with the red flag we couldn’t show it, but nevertheless with the hard tyres we were very strong.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes maintained a 22-point lead over Ferrari in the contest to finish second behind Red Bull in the constructors’ standings.
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
4) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
5) Lando Norris, McLaren
6) George Russell, Mercedes
7) Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri
8) Oscar Piastri, McLaren
9) Alex Albon, Williams
10) Esteban Ocon, Alpine