And the Ferrari? Surely it was the disappointment of the race because, from the Maranello team, started from first and second position, it was reasonable to expect more. Instead he had to settle for second place with Vettel and Leclerc's fourth.
Beautiful the race of Alex Albon fifth with the Red Bull who managed to precede Max Verstappen author of a bad weekend. First the pole given to Ferrari for not respecting the yellow flags and, in the race, he was the author of a contact with Bottas that caused him a puncture. The Dutch driver, from last place, managed to recover after finishing his race in sixth place.
Sergio Perez, idol of the house, he managed to win the GP of others. With his Racing Point he came to the checkered flag at seventh placed after a long duel with the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo. Important points also for Toro Rosso with Gasly, ninth and Kvyat, tenth.
After some excellent qualifying the race for the was disastrous McLaren. Sainz managed to collect only a 13th place while Norris was forced to retire due to incorrect fixing of the left front tire during the pit stop
Has Mercedes risked anticipating Hamilton's first stop?
For Mercedes, that of Mexico, it was a rather feared stage. In the last two editions, Hamilton is Bottas they had suffered so much on this type of track that, as we all know, is located at 2,330 s.l.m. During free practice, Anglo-German engineers were perfectly aware of having very few chances to fight with Red Bull is Ferrari in qualifying and for this reason they focused a lot on a setup aimed exclusively at the race.
A race they could try to win just making a risky choice at the strategic level and so they did succeeding in bringing home the maximum possible loot. Hamilton was recalled to the pits at tour 23 to fit a set of hard tires that Mercedes had tried during the free practice on Bottas' car. The task for Hamilton was not so simple because he had to make them last well 48 laps knowing that, in the final, Vettel could have put him under pressure with some cooler tires. The Anglo-Germans were not completely confident of being able to get to the checkered flag without another stop, in fact, with Bottas, they preferred to extend the first part of the race to be sure to finish the race with a single pit stop.
Life for the five-time world champion was not so simple because, during the first lap, he had suffered a rather important damage on the bottom, right side, which definitely caused him to lose several load points. For this reason, Lewis must be given the credit that he managed to run on a very steady pace and, only in the final, to protect himself from Vettel, he squeezed the tires to the limit.
The team principal Toto Wolff he explained at the end of the race the reasons that led them to risk this strategy with Hamilton: "We had to do something different to win but we were not convinced that it worked. We were driven to try and analyze the performance of Ricciardo is Verstappen that, after several laps, they were still getting good times with the hard ones. Hamilton during the race he was not convinced that the choice was the right one. Our chief strategist James Vowles was the only one who was convinced that it worked and did a great job with all his collaborators. "
Just the Ferrari strategy?
Ferrari, this week, it was not flawless with the tender strategy. With two cars in first and second position in the first part of the race they managed to get to the checkered flag in second and fourth. This means that something didn't work also because the rhythm and the tire management of the SF90 were good. The two Ferraris, in the early laps, were unable to make an important gap with Albon and Verstappen. The impression was that the Monegasque pilot was in complete tire management to try to lengthen the first stint as much as possible. The first mistake made by the wall in Rosso was to go and cover the early pit stop of Albon's Red Bull leaving Vettel only on the track to fight against the two Mercedes. Albon, albeit fast, didn't seem to have such a pace that he could go on to win the race and that's why he would have been more correct to stay on track to mark the most dangerous rival who, in this case, was the Mercedes of Hamilton.
Leclerc, at the pit stop, he fitted the medium tires and this forced the Monegasque driver to set the race on a double pit stop. It would have been much better to play at covered cards mounting the hard and only in the final, if there was a performance collapse, playing the soft or medium card.
With Vettel, however, it is sought the only stop but, in Ferrari, they did not cover Hamilton's pit stop, preferring to extend the first stint as much as possible to play for the chance to have cooler tires in the final race. A choice that has not paid precisely because, the hard, have not had any kind of problem. But why Ferrari Didn't he immediately respond to Hamilton's pit to try to maintain his position on the British rider? In Ferrari they are convinced, analyzing their data, that he wasn't there no chance to get out in front of Hamilton while, in Mercedes, they say that if Vettel had stopped at the next lap he would have a margin of half a second to get out in front of their pilot. Even with cooler tires, Vettel failed to put pressure to Hamilton who defended his first position rather easily.
Why did the tires last longer than expected?
We had talked about tire degradation in thequalifications analysis and this factor proved to be decisive in the race. On the eve it was thought that the degradation was quite high due to the graining that was formed on the tires especially the front ones. Instead, in the race the situation was diametrically opposed. Indeed, the tires lasted many laps and no one had graining problems. This surprised some teams that, seeing the data of the free trials, did not expect the tires could last for so many laps.
The Hermanos Rodriguez circuit comes used very little during the year and that is why, on Fridays, pilots always find a very dirty and slippery track. The situation usually goes to improve session after session but this was not the case with this edition, since during the night it always rained, removing the layer of rubber that had deposited on the asphalt.
On Sunday there was a factor that was decisive on the tires and it was theTemperature rise. On Friday the pilots turned around 30 ° C on the asphalt, while yesterday the thermometer touched the 44 ° C. This meant that there was no graining formation and the tires, especially those with medium and hard compounds, have worked in the right window of operation and they had a very long life allowing the riders to do lots of laps with the same set of tires. Think that, Verstappen, with the hard has managed to complete the beauty of 66 laps.
Was Red Bull the team to beat?
It was a black weekend for the Red Bull. The RB15, at the performance level, was the car to beat on this track. Verstappen has literally thrown the pole position on Saturday when he ignored the yellow flags exposed by the commissioners for theBottas incident. Starting from the fourth position, the Dutch driver dueled in the first corners with Hamilton and both ended up off the track. Subsequently, the Dutch pilot, in a duel with Bottas has punctured the back right and this expelled him from the struggle for victory.
Verstappen has shown in his recovery up to sixth place how strong his rhythm was. Force of the Red Bull that was also seen in the performances of Albon that, as for the Ferrari of Leclerc, was damaged by the double stop strategy chosen by the Milton Keynes team. Horner, after the checkered flag, admitted that the double stop was a mistake but, from the data in his possession, they did not expect such low tire wear. Even Red Bull, like Ferrari, was is misleading from the free trials that have confused different teams.