A special win, as it was Red Bull Racing’s 200th podium and came on the anniversary of Honda’s very first Formula 1 victory on this day back in 1965, when Ritchie Ginther won the Mexican Grand Prix in the Honda RA 272.
Starting from pole position, Max dropped to second place behind Lewis Hamilton at Turn 1 but smart strategy from Red Bull would soon reverse those positions. An early first pit stop for hard tyres - on lap 10 - gave him the undercut to regain the lead.
Sergio slotted into third place at the start and remained comfortably there, making his first stop on lap 12. Sergio switch to mediums and the change meant Hamilton had to respond on the next lap and that allowed Max to pull clear.
Yuki had made a good start to run eighth ahead of Pierre in tenth, but the Frenchman soon overtook Valtteri Bottas so that the two Scuderia AlphaTauri cars ran one behind the other. Yuki’s first stop came on lap nine, and Pierre came in one lap later but then was forced to retire after reporting a problem at the rear of his car.
With Hamilton closing in during the middle part of the race, Red Bull remained aggressive and called Max in for a second stop on lap 29, covering off the undercut as he then would go to the end on hard tyres. The team believed track position was the key and they were proved right.
Sergio made his second stop on lap 32 and comfortably remained in third place, while Yuki’s second pit stop came two laps later, rejoining on the edge of the points.
Max had stopped eight laps before Hamilton, so the Mercedes made inroads into his lead in the latter part of the race, but the championship leader was faultless in managing his pace and keeping Hamilton at bay. The pair started the final lap less than a second apart, but Max pulled clear to win by 1.3s and take his eighth victory of the season.
After racing without a drink for the majority of a very hot afternoon, Sergio took a very solid third place to help close the gap in the constructors’ championship by 13 points, while Yuki scored a very solid two points in ninth place.
Technical Director, Honda Racing F1
“Max winning from pole and Checo joining him on the podium in third place is a great result for Honda and for Red Bull Racing. It is our second consecutive double podium and both were achieved with special liveries, the “Honda fans” white cars in Turkey and here with the Acura brand replacing Honda on all four cars. Max’s strategy called for an early stop and Hamilton was really catching him in what was a thrilling finale. Max did a brilliant job of managing his race pace and the tyres. Checo was quick all weekend and his second third place in a row is very important for us in the Constructors’ championship. It was great to see Yamamoto-san collecting the trophy on the podium and we really appreciate this gesture from Red Bull. For Scuderia AlphaTauri, Yuki had a great start, passing two cars and after that he drove very well to bring home the points for ninth place. It was his second consecutive Q3 appearance and his first points since Hungary, so we hope he maintains this momentum to the end of the season. It was a shame that Pierre, also quick this weekend, had to retire with a suspension problem. Next comes another special Grand Prix as it is Checo’s home race in Mexico. There are only five more races to go, but this is still going to be a long and tough run to the end of the season, in which each race matters very much and we plan to do our best in all of them.”
Red Bull Racing Honda
Race : 1st
“It was an exciting race and it feels incredible to win here in front of all the fans. The pressure was on for the whole race and not knowing how quickly Lewis would catch up. I actually thought I had a decent start, but Lewis had an even better one. So we went for an aggressive strategy after losing the lead into turn one and we pitted early in the first stint. Then for the middle stint we were in that undercut range, so we had to respond and we went for track position which made the last stint very long, especially in this heat. The last two laps were definitely difficult on the tyres, there wasn’t much grip left. But, then with two laps to go, I had the Haas in front of me and I was able to benefit from the DRS, so we managed to hang on in the end. We definitely gave it our all today as a Team and it was great to have Checo up there with me on the podium.”
Red Bull Racing Honda
Race : 2nd
“That was the hardest and longest race of my life. I wasn’t feeling great before the race and then my drinks system stopped working on the first lap and with the hot weather today it was very physical and a pretty tough afternoon. I was struggling massively and by lap 20 I was done, so it was a shame I couldn’t keep up with Max and Lewis but there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend and back to back podiums are always nice. It’s a good result for the Team, the undercut worked well and Lewis had no option but to cover me which helped Max out in front, so we can be very happy as a Team. I’m so looking forward to Mexico, the Team have done well there in the past and I think we’ll have a good package for my home race. I can’t wait and I hope to be on the podium again in front of my home fans.”
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
Race : 9th
“It’s been a good day, I’ve managed to score some important points for the team in the Championship, so I’m really happy with that. It was really tough out there as it was so hot! It wasn’t easy starting on the soft tyre, as I had a different strategy to everyone around me, but it meant that I had the advantage on the opening lap, and I tried to make the most of it. The pace today was quite good, so I’m pleased to be coming away with points.”
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
Race : DNF
“Unfortunately, we had a suspension problem today, that forced us to retire the car. At the moment we don’t know the real cause, so we’ll have to go away and investigate this. It’s very frustrating because we know every point counts at this stage in our midfield battle. It would’ve been really good to go until the end of this race, as the atmosphere has been incredible this weekend, right from the very beginning, so it’s a shame to not be seeing the chequered flag.”