Verstappen's Record-Breaking Race in Mexico.
Max Verstappen has etched his name once again into the annals of Formula 1 history, clinching his 16th win of the season and tying legend Alain Prost.
From the third slot on the grid, he unleashed a lightning getaway that left everyone dazed. At Turn 1, he made his move, overtaking Charles Leclerc. In that heated moment, Sergio Perez made contact with Leclerc. The collision sent Perez's hopes of glory spiralling into the abyss, and he was left to rue what might have been.
Verstappen, who had already secured the title in Qatar earlier this month, ran away amidst the commotion. Even a mid-race restart couldn't dim his glory. The gap between him and Lewis Hamilton in second place? A daunting 14 seconds.
With this win, Verstappen notches up his 51st in Formula 1. That's the kind of achievement that puts him in the pantheon of greats. He now rubs shoulders with legends like Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, and Lewis Hamilton, who have more wins, but the key word here is 'more.' Vettel stands at 53, Schumacher at a jaw-dropping 91, and Hamilton in a league of his own at 103. It's the making of a modern legend, and who knows, Verstappen might just set his sights on these unreachable stars.
And remember the 15 wins in a single season? Well, he obliterated that record last season. Vettel and Schumacher had shared that milestone with 14 wins apiece, but Verstappen is the new record-holder, with 16 wins and counting. Who knows, by the end of the year, he might just stretch it to 19.
But amidst this glory, it's essential to remember the bittersweet tale of Red Bull. Perez's race, which held so much promise, was dashed in the opening moments. It wasn't a fault of his or Leclerc's; it was a racing incident, as the stewards proclaimed. Perez's hunger for victory collided with the stark reality of the track.
In this high-speed drama, Leclerc, though bruised, wasn't broken. He soldiered on, even with a loose front wing endplate, a battle scar from the opening clash. And when a heavy Kevin Magnussen crash on Lap 34 red-flagged the race, Ferrari's pit crew sprang into action, fixing Leclerc's ride on safety grounds.
The race resumed, but it was Verstappen's show all the way. Hamilton, in a stroke of bravery, pulled off a daring move, dipping two wheels onto the grass to secure his second place, leaving Leclerc in third. The Mercedes ace controlled his position with grace, despite an extended stint on the medium tyres, while Leclerc and Carlos Sainz chased his tail.
The crowning jewel of the day? Lando Norris, the People's Champion, starting from 19th and rising like a phoenix to snatch fifth place. The man started on soft tyres and weaved through the competition, capping his resurgence with a breathtaking overtake on Mercedes' George Russell.
McLaren must be pondering what might have been had Norris not stumbled in Q1. Behind Russell, a struggling Daniel Ricciardo held seventh, and Oscar Piastri, in the other McLaren, clinched eighth, while Williams' Alex Albon and Alpine's Esteban Ocon secured the final points.