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Verstappen the complete F1 driver as Mercedes blunder - What we learned at the Mexico City GP

Verstappen the complete F1 driver as Mercedes blunder - What we learned at the Mexico City GP

Verstappen the complete F1 driver as Mercedes blunder - What we learned at the Mexico City GP

Verstappen the complete F1 driver as Mercedes blunder - What we learned at the Mexico City GP

Max Verstappen earned his record-breaking 14th win of the season at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

The Dutchman was under attack from Lewis Hamilton early on before questionable Mercedes tactics left him untroubled en route to victory.

Sergio Perez delighted the home crowd to finish third on a weekend of storylines, despite a less-than-enthralling race.

So what did we learn at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez?

Verstappen the complete package

Max Verstappen's blistering pace and ruthlessness in battle is a well-known fact, with both on constant display across his first two championship triumphs.

But Sunday's race showed a different side to the Dutchman that began to show a week prior in Austin.

Starting on softs, Verstappen switched to the medium tyres for a second stint that would eventually last 46 laps despite the yellow-walled Pirelli compound predicted to hit issues in the latter stages.

But Verstappen was imperious, stretching the stint whilst also pulling a gap over Hamilton.

A 15.1secs advantage at the end of the race proves the double world champion is a complete F1 driver.

Mercedes falter on best opportunity

What was Mercedes thinking?

The hard tyres were unfavoured all weekend and starting on the medium tyres, both Hamilton and George Russell had the opportunity to extend the first stint and fit the softs for an end-of-race charge to try and clinch a first victory of the season.

But giving up that chance with an early switch to hards seemed bizarre and proved to be so, with Hamilton falling behind Verstappen and instead troubled by Perez for much of the second half of the race.

It was a strategic blunder by the Silver Arrows that, whilst not meaning so much this season, will need to be tidied up if its challenge is more frequently next season.

Alonso Alpine partnership turns sour

Another race, another engine issue for Fernando Alonso.

The two-time champion was cruising to seventh after holding off Valtteri Bottas' Alfa Romeo early on, before opening out a 20-second gap to team-mate Esteban Ocon in the second half of the race.

But Alonso lost one of his six cylinders before his engine eventually expired with six laps to go, leaving the Spaniard visibly infuriated by the failure.

Over 60 points have been lost through reliability, or so the Spaniard claims.

There is a revolt against his team ahead of his move to Aston Martin for next year. A suggestion that he has a dud car hasn't gone down well. Just two races to go until they can separate.

Ricciardo proves talent remains

It has been a miserable season for Daniel Ricciardo, but with sights already turned to a 2024 re-entry into F1, results like Sunday's don't hurt at all.

The McLaren driver started outside the top 10 and ran outside the points for much of the race.

Unlike Mercedes, Ricciardo was able to make the medium-soft strategy work and was absolutely flying at the end of the race.

A collision with Yuki Tsunoda cost Ricciardo 10 seconds but rising from outside the points to seventh in a matter of 20 laps, stretching the 10-second gap he needed over Ocon to finish seventh, this felt like the Australian we came to love last decade.

The beaming smile returned with genuine joy instead of a protective mask post-race. More of the same please in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Fan behaviour must be addressed

We know that abuse on social media and from the crowds at races has been an issue for a long time, but the issues at the Mexico City Grand Prix were arguably far more alarming.

There was little room for manoeuvre in the paddock, with drivers and team principals being mobbed by those lucky enough to be allowed into the prized area.

Security personnel were forced to form protective circles around the stars of the show, though Pierre Gasly revealed his bag had been opened on his way to hospitality.

This is simply not good enough and has to be addressed by F1 before this behaviour becomes the norm.

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