Kurt Verlin
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Lewis Hamilton Wins 2019 Mexican GP

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Lewis Hamilton on the 2019 Mexican GP podium
Photo: FORMULA 1 | YouTube
2019 Mexican GP Top 10 Results

Lewis Hamilton has won the 2019 Mexican GP, setting himself up to win the 2019 Formula One World Championship at the upcoming race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, where he will only need to score three points to secure his sixth title (or no points at all if Valtteri Bottas does not win the race).

The 2019 Mexican GP was off to a good start, but just as things seemed about to get truly exciting, it instead petered out. Max Verstappen had been the fastest man on Saturday but started third after receiving a penalty for failing to slow down past a crashed car with the yellow flags out. He tangled with Hamilton at the start of the race as both the Ferraris sped off, lost ground and eventually received a puncture while getting past Bottas.

This meant the race had become a straight duel between Ferrari and Mercedes, and while Ferrari had a significant pace advantage in qualifying, it seemed to have mostly dissipated during the race, which has become something of a pattern throughout the 2019 season. And as has also frequently been the case, Mercedes ultimately won on the strength of its superior strategy calls, though — again, as usual — this didn’t stop Hamilton from whining about his pit wall’s decisions on the radio until a few laps before the checkered flag.

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It’s too bad that Verstappen hadn’t lifted to avoid that penalty he received in qualifying, because had he started in the lead and avoided contact with Bottas in the race, he very likely would have had a strong shot at winning the race judging by his long comeback drive, during which he not only passed three quarters of the field but also made his tires last 66 laps while keeping on pace with the frontrunners. Considering how much Honda used to struggle at the uniquely elevated Mexican circuit, it’s a testament to the extent its engine has improved.

The difficulty the frontrunners had in following each other was also a reminder that the new 2021 regulations designed to facilitate overtaking can’t come soon enough, though I can’t help but feel that F1 needs new tires. The current Pirellis are too sensitive to track conditions, resulting in large and unpredictable swings in performance even on the same day.

They’re also arguably too durable. Pirelli had said the hard-compound tire would do 50 laps at the Mexican Grand Prix, so when Hamilton put them on with the intent to go 48 laps, Ferrari kept Sebastian Vettel out in the hopes that he could bring the fight to Hamilton at the end of the race with fresher tires. When Vettel arrived behind Hamilton with tires that were 14 laps younger, but difference ultimately didn’t matter — Pirelli had clearly low-balled its estimates, as Hamilton didn’t suffer any loss in performance from his tires (and remember, Verstappen even managed to do 66 laps on them, and probably could have done more had the race not ended).

The United States GP will take place in just six days, and it’s a good race more often than not, so even if Hamilton is almost certainly going to win it, you might want to stay tuned anyway.

Related: How to look after your tires

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2019 Mexican GP Championship Standings