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Verstappen myth must stop as Mercedes powerless - What we learned from the Mexico City GP

Verstappen myth must stop as Mercedes powerless - What we learned from the Mexico City GP

F1 News

Verstappen myth must stop as Mercedes powerless - What we learned from the Mexico City GP

Verstappen myth must stop as Mercedes powerless - What we learned from the Mexico City GP

F1 returned to Mexico City for a race that promised drama following qualifying but in the end provided little via the way of genuine entertainment.

That was down to the sheer brilliance of Max Verstappen and Red Bull, who took a comfortable victory to extend the lead in the drivers' standings to 19 points over Lewis Hamilton with four races remaining.

Polesitter Valtteri Bottas' bad luck returned as the Finn was spun out of contention by Daniel Ricciardo at turn one, with the cooling issues experienced by virtually everyone on the grid ensuring there was no way back for either driver.

Let's dive into what we learned at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Talk of Verstappen inexperience must stop

So much has been made over the advantage Hamilton supposedly holds over Verstappen in the race for the title because he has been there and done that multiple times before.

This simply has to stop. At no point has Verstappen looked out of place this season, especially with the tension now ramping up in the dying stages of the year.

The unflappable Dutchman pulled off a beautifully daring move around the outside of both Mercedes drivers into turn one and never looked back on the way to a crushing 16-plus second victory over Hamilton.

The way Verstappen won feels like a symbolic moment such was his dominance and that of Red Bull, with Mercedes almost seeming slightly resigned to the reality of its rival's pace over the weekend.

Another win in Brazil this weekend and the title will almost be done. Verstappen must feel like he has one hand on that trophy already, not that he will be taking anything for granted, of course.

Mercedes on the back foot

So many things went wrong for Mercedes, from the Bottas mess at turn one to the cooling issues that prevented both he and Hamilton from launching any meaningful challenges through the race.

But in all honesty, even with a shock front-row lockout, it is hard to see how the team could have won. This was an Austrian level of dominance from Red Bull that saw Mercedes almost powerless.

The situation was not helped by Bottas "opening the sea" for Verstappen, as Toto Wolff put it, which allowed the Dutchman to steam into the lead.

A once healthy gap in the constructors' championship is now down to just a point, but the time for finding pace again through upgrades is over. What do Mercedes have to fight back with?

McLaren endure miserable weekend as Ferrari take upperhand

Lando Norris knew it would be a difficult weekend from the start, with McLaren taking the opportunity to swap out his PU, in turn placing the Briton at the back of the grid.

The damage limitation for the team looked to be under control with Ricciardo splitting the Ferraris - who had looked much faster at the start of the weekend - in qualifying.

The Australian's race unravelled with the lock-up and contact at turn one with Bottas, whilst Norris overcame the traffic to finish with a single point.

Ferrari, meanwhile, took comfortable fifth and sixth position to take over third in the constructors' standings by 13.5 points.

Brazil is potentially going to suit Ferrari again, meaning McLaren must stop the rot to stay in fighting distance heading to the Middle East.

Gasly impresses yet again

One could argue the driver of the weekend was Pierre Gasly.

The Frenchman qualified fifth for AlphaTauri, beating both Ferraris and Ricciardo before driving a superb, but rather lonely, race to finish fourth and take more vital points for the team.

With Fernando Alonso only scoring two points for Alpine, the two teams are now tied for fifth place in the constructors' standings on 106, with the French outfit ahead courtesy of Esteban Ocon's win in Hungary.

Overcoming the manufacturer might of Alpine would be a huge coup for the Faenza-based team, with Gasly outshining the car for much of the season.

With drama more than likely in the championship run-in, could Gasly take another podium in the last four races?

F1 must sort out cooling and following issues

We know that F1 2022 will aim to tackle the issues we are about to explain with a radical new set of regulations, but off the back of Sunday's race, the problems need to improve.

F1 has been privileged to have witnessed classic race after classic race this season, with almost every event filled with drama and intrigue.

But the cooling issues and the lack of ability to follow another car at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez led to what can only be described as a snooze-fest.

A few inconsequential overtakes were made at the back of the pack but other than that, only Perez's late charge on Hamilton provided any sort of entertainment, and even that was curtailed by turbulent air.

With one of the most highly-anticipated championship battles in memory, F1 must avoid repeats in the next four races so as to not tarnish the work done to drive engagement with the sport.

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