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The Mexican Grand Prix turned around the results from qualifying with Max Verstappen dominating the race after a brilliant overtake at Turn 1. What did the drivers have to say about the race?
The American team continues his trend of difficult races in 2021 with Mick Schumacher retiring from the race and Nikita Mazepin finishing the race once again last.
“I saw a lot of smoke and normally that isn’t a good sign. I didn’t want to be face-on so I decided to go to the middle and unfortunately there were already cars there and we all got bunched up, and I made contact with Esteban Ocon. It’s unfortunate but these things happen – it’s not the first time it’s happened in my career and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I was looking forward to driving here and learning, next year hopefully we’ll have a better car and can attack more. We can always take positives.”
“It was a very long race. We had a good start, we got through nicely and the first part of the race was going well. Then we decided to protect from Williams and unfortunately our pit stop was too slow – we just got done by them but I think we had the pace to probably keep them behind considering how hard it is to overtake on this track. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. I felt that as we had less downforce than we’d like it was really difficult to follow cars closely when you get overtaken by blue flags – after that it was a tough race.”
(Quotes from Haas race report)
Mexico revealed again some difficulties for Williams, that wasn’t able to shine at the end of the grid. Both drivers struggled with Russell not being able to maintain the position gained in qualifying.
“It was probably the most difficult race of the season so far. We made a good start and had moved up to P9 from P16 on lap one which was relatively strong, and I thought we could be on for a good result. However, we did not have the pace after that and went backwards so there’s lots to review. It wasn’t a very enjoyable afternoon but the positive is that this Grand Prix is a unique race with the temperature management that is required, so hopefully our pace in Brazil will be better than here.”
“Unfortunately, my race came undone at the start. I’ll have to watch the video back to see what happened in that first lap. I thought I was going to come out of the first few corners gaining a couple of positions from the cars going off, but I stayed on track to avoid them and ended up losing out quite a bit. After that, with the pace we had, it was just a race of blue flags. It was an afternoon to forget but now it’s onwards to Brazil.”
(Quotes from Williams race notes)
Important points were scored from the Swiss team with Raikkonen. However, yet another wrong strategy for Giovinazzi ruined his race and made the team conquer less than it should.
“It was nice to get points and bring a reward to the team. We always try to do our best, every time we get to a race, and today things worked out well for us. P8 is probably the best we could do, we had good pace and we could keep up with the cars around us. Passing Russell at the beginning was crucial for our race, then the biggest challenge was to keep the tyres alive until the end. We can be satisfied about this result and start focusing on having another good event in Brazil.”
“I’m really disappointed about this result as I think we could have been in the points with both cars. I had an outstanding first lap and made it up to P6, and even when Sainz passed me I was looking strong for seventh. We pitted early but ended up in the battle between Bottas and Ricciardo and this cost us a lot of time – ultimately, the chance to score points. We had really good pace, I’m happy for the points Kimi scored but this one is really disappointing.”
(Quotes from Alfa Romeo race report)
The British team was able to bring out an overall understandable result from a weekend that seemed going wrong. When nothing more can be done, limiting damage is key and Aston Martin was able to do that.
“I am quite happy with our performance today. We had shown competitive long-run pace on Friday and I knew that if we could hold position on lap one, we would be able to stay there and score points. We obviously benefited from the spin for Valtteri [Bottas], although it actually held me up a bit, and the damage to Daniel’s [Ricciardo] car, but we managed to recover a position from [Antonio] Giovinazzi using the strategy. After that, I was on my own for most of the race with decent pace. It was a solid weekend by the team and I am pleased we could score some good points.”
“We did what we could from the back, but it was tricky today. It is difficult to race from last place here because it is not easy to follow and overtake. The car felt good, but we were on the back foot from the start. We were hoping things would happen in front of us to help us gain places, but we needed more to go our way. The highlight of my race was the move on George [Russell] late on, but there was not much more we could do today. Now we focus on Brazil and aim to fight for points there.”
(Quotes from Aston Martin race review)
The incidents at the start could have completely ruined the French team’s race but the drivers were able to bring a consistent race home and even conquer two points.
“I am happy with a well-executed race for us today. Ninth and in the points after a difficult day yesterday is ultimately a good result. I was not proud of my job yesterday, but I am prouder today. It was quite a messy start and I had to dodge a few cars in the first few corners. It was very close, but we did quite well to avoid any damage and then I gained some positions after the Safety Car. It’s good to see the car can fight for points finishes consistently despite starting lower down the grid. We did lose out a little to Alpha Tauri today in the battle for fifth, but hopefully the points we scored today will help the team for the end of the season.”
“It was always going to be a difficult race starting from the back of the grid with the engine penalty, so we can be pleased to make up six positions today. I’m happy with my race and how we fought hard, even if we didn’t score points as a reward. The start was tough, and we were quite fortunate to get away without too much damage after the contact at Turn 1 with two cars. I tried to back out of it but there wasn’t much to be done there. After that, we had some good battles to work our way up through the field, which was fun. As a team, it’s good that Fernando scored points today as it’s important for the championship and our focus moves forward to next week where we both aim to be in the points.”
(Quotes from Alpine race report)
Woking was forced to build a race from the back of the gird due to Lando Norris’ PU change and Daniel Ricciardo’s accident at the start. McLaren lost P3 in the Constructors’ Championship in one of the worst races of the season so for the Papaya team.
“Obviously not the best for us as a team but a good day from my side, from 18th to 10th. We knew it was going to be difficult to come through the field, but we did the best we could do today. I don’t think we could’ve achieved too much more, regarding our pace and the difficulty to overtake and follow. One point is more than nothing. We’ll keep trying to work hard and make some improvements in Brazil.”
“The first lap incident was about as painful as they get because your race is pretty much over from the start. I was in a tricky position because I know that if I didn’t go for it, someone else would have, and I’d probably have been swamped by other cars. At the end of the day, I think it’s just a lap one incident. The start was good and those first few hundred metres were looking positive. I think we were potentially in P4, and in a split-second it changes. That’s the nature of the beast, but these ones are pretty painful because you have to endure the race and hope something happens, but nothing really did. I was able to defend Bottas, normally when you’re doing that it’s for a good position, but we were both obviously at the back. The car was also damaged, and we had a chunk of downforce missing. A bit heart-breaking. For a few seconds it looked awesome and then it looked pretty un-awesome. We’ll try to come back in Brazil.”
(Quotes from McLaren race review)
Pierre Gasly conquered for the Italian team a great result while Tsunoda had to face problems during the first lap, which resulted in a DNF.
“I’m extremely happy, P4 is such a great result and we couldn’t ask for a better weekend. Everything was under control with Charles behind, I was able to pull away nicely and manage the entire race well from fourth position. This weekend the car has really been there, we delivered yesterday in Quali and then again in the race today and finishing ahead of Ferrari always feels good as well. We’re equal on points with Alpine now, it’s my personal plan to deliver fifth in the Championship to Franz and the whole team – a nice and well deserved Christmas gift – so we’ll keep pushing for that. The way we’re currently working as a team I think we’ll be able to find our chances in the next few races.”
“It’s such a shame, the car has been good here and, even if it wasn’t going to be easy, I think there could still have been an opportunity to score points today. It’s just unfortunate, the car next to me got sandwiched and then I was hit, these things happen in racing though. Overall, this race week has been really good, as the performance of the car has been strong, so it’s so disappointing not to be finishing the race.”
(Quotes from Red Bull Content Pool)
The Mexican Grand Prix was double-faced for the Ramping Horse. On one side, the really high expectations set weren’t realized; on the other side, Ferrari has overtaken McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship with a solid amount of points.
“Fifth and sixth is a solid result to take home from this weekend, as the race turned out a bit different to how we had expected. My first stint on the Mediums was strong and my pace was very competitive. We stopped relatively early for Hards to try and put pressure on Gasly ahead of us, while Carlos went long to create a tyre delta and try to challenge him towards the end of the race. We swapped positions but unfortunately, neither of us managed to catch him. His pace was quite a surprise today. On my side, I struggled on the Hard tyres on my second stint. However, as a whole, I think that today was a good day and an example of our team spirit.”
“It was one of my best races this season in terms of pace, as I was very fast for the entire weekend and also in the race on both Medium and Hard tyres. Starting on the dirty side was, as expected, very difficult and then I was unlucky with the accident in front of me, as I had to slam on the brakes to avoid Bottas and then Ricciardo with a broken front wing, losing some positions. I was able to immediately retake the position from Giovinazzi at the restart and then my pace was always solid. We did very good pit stops with both cars and in the final part of the race I had more pace than Charles, so I believe it was the right call to swap positions and not take unnecessary risks. If we had raced each other the opportunity to catch Gasly would have been even more difficult. At the end of the race we swapped positions again as part of the team strategy. Today we brought home a good amount of points compared to our closest rivals and we are now ahead of them. That, together with my strong pace all weekend, are the important positives to take from Mexico. On to Brazil!”
(Quotes from Ferrari race recap)
Unluckily for Brackley, the qualifying result didn’t help facing Red Bull in Mexico. The start immediately was in favor of Verstappen and Bottas’ accident leaves them with only one driver to fight at the front, while Milton Keynes closes the gap in the Constructors’ Championship.
“First, congratulations to Max. That car was faster than we were this weekend and there’s nothing we could really do about it. I gave it absolutely everything and obviously a great fight with Sergio at the end but I’m grateful I could still at least get a second-place finish. It was easy enough to hold on – I’ve been in that situation many times before – but it shows how fast their car was when Sergio was that close behind me and able to follow that closely. He did a great job! Even so, I really enjoyed the race and got everything out of it that we could today. Now we need to get our heads down and keep working hard to prepare for the next races, they will be coming at us fast over the next two weekends.”
“It was an unlucky day for me today. As I turned into Turn 1, I got hit from behind and spun me around – then I was stuck in traffic and couldn’t make progress. I was giving it everything but it was hard running in traffic because I was overheating the brakes and engine, so I couldn’t get past the McLaren in front. The situation at the end with fastest lap was a bit funny, it wasn’t easy to find a clear space on track but in the end we were able to make it stick and at least take that point away from Red Bull. Overall, not a great day today – but at least the next race is on Sunday, so we can come back stronger then.”
(Quotes from Mercedes race recap)
A dream weekend for the Bulls. If after qualifying the morale was low, Milton Keynes is able to fix the setup and shows a true dominant race from Verstappen. Perez does what he has to and becomes the first Mexican to step on the podium in Mexico. Meanwhile, Red Bull is now dangerously close to Mercedes in the Constructors Standings.
“It was an incredible day for the team and also for the fans, to have Checo on the podium here in Mexico at his home Grand Prix was great, so it couldn’t have been better. I knew the start was very important today, we were three wide at one point and I was on the more ideal race line so I could brake later and get into the lead. After that I could do my own thing, the pace was very good today so I could just keep building and creating a gap, the pit stops were seamless and the car was good throughout the race which was crucial today. Checo, for the last few races has really picked it up, he’s been up there and he was really pressuring Lewis today towards the end. I’m still not thinking about that trophy, we’ll try again in Brazil and just keep pushing.”
“This is a great result for my country, I really wanted more but unfortunately we didn’t get that. It was so messy in turn one so to avoid incident there was critical and then I wanted second place, but we didn’t get the chance because it is just so difficult to overtake around here. I was really close to getting Lewis but the Mercedes are so quick on the straight lines so I didn’t get an opportunity to go for it but I gave my best. I could feel the fans’ energy when I was going through the stadium sector and I was thinking about how many people were here for me, I could actually hear the crowd when I was driving through Foro Sol. I wanted more but I am just very happy to be on the podium of my home country, the Mexicans were so happy today. We are so competitive as drivers that when we finish third we aren’t happy but today I had to enjoy it, everyone who has been there since the start with me was there at the end of the race and that was an amazing moment for me. I think today we were the fastest team, but that is going to swing around for the remainder of the season, so we just have to keep our focus and keep pushing.”
(Quotes from Red Bull Content Pool)
Headline Image: Red Bull Content Pool