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Mexico City GP: Max Verstappen eases away from Lewis Hamilton for record 14th win of 2022 season

Max Verstappen becomes first driver to win 14 races in a single F1 season with Mexico City GP domination; Lewis Hamilton up to second at start but both Mercedes drivers struggled on hard tyres; Sergio Perez completes podium at home race; Daniel Ricciardo driver of the day

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Highlights of the Mexico City Grand Prix from the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Max Verstappen claimed a record 14th victory of his extraordinary 2022 season after comfortably seeing off the challenge of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at the Mexico City GP.

The race, while billed as Mercedes' biggest chance of the season to break their duck, was instead dominated by the double world champion, who held off the Silver Arrows at the start and then, characteristically, stormed away.

Hamilton got ahead of team-mate George Russell on that opening lap but that was as good as it got for a driver who now looks unlikely to extend his record of winning a race in every one of his Formula 1 seasons, with Mercedes' hopes of Red Bull's tyres fading away ultimately fruitless.

"I'm not sure we had the right tyre in the end," said Hamilton, as Mercedes' challenge drifted away on the hards.

Verstappen, though, does have a new record after his 15-second victory.

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen remained out in front on the first lap of the Mexico City Grand Prix, while Lewis Hamilton overtook Mercedes teammate George Russell for second

He is the first driver to ever win 14 races in a season, breaking a tie with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

There are still two races remaining in 2022, in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

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Sergio Perez, who was the first of the leading drivers to pit, managed to extend his stint and claim his second podium in front of a passionate home Mexican crowd, ahead of Russell.

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McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo drove into Yuki Tsunoda, with the AlphaTauri driver forced to retire from the Mexico City Grand Prix as a result

Russell, like Hamilton, floundered on the hard tyre but did manage to claim a fastest lap bonus point after stopping at the end.

The fact Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc weren't in touching distance of Russell despite his second stop says a lot about Ferrari's pace, with the Scuderia someway off their rivals in fifth and sixth.

Daniel Ricciardo, though, did star. The Australian extended his first stint and ran on softs in the closing stages, rolling back the years with overtake after overtake and enough pace to negate his 10-second penalty for a clumsy collision with Yuki Tsunoda, one of the race's only real flash points.

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Fernando Alonso was forced to retire in Mexico City after suffering an engine failure in his Alpine on the 65th lap

Ricciardo, who is set to leave the grid in 2023 after having his McLaren contract cancelled, earned driver of the day for his efforts.

Esteban Ocon was eighth for Alpine, though team-mate Fernando Alonso had a frustrating late DNF to cost his team crucial points in the fight against McLaren.

Mexico City Grand Prix: Race Result
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
4) George Russell, Mercedes
5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
6) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
7) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
9) Lando Norris, McLaren
10) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo

Mercedes no match for mighty Max in Mexico

Verstappen's 14th win of the season was one of his most dominant as, in a race of attrition, Mercedes couldn't replicate their Saturday promise to consistently challenge Red Bull.

The start was always going to be key at a track where, despite the long straight, it is tough to overtake, and Verstappen, who started on the softs and Mercedes on the mediums, appeared to get the best of all the top four and avoid the early tow.

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen eased to victory in Mexico, securing a record 14th win of the season.

Russell also got away well from the front row but in trying to make a move on Verstappen around the outside into Turn One, lost out to Hamilton in the next chicane, with the seven-time world champion forcing his Mercedes driver off the track.

That left the door open for Perez, who gleefully took the opportunity.

Most driver wins in an F1 season

Driver Season Wins
Max Verstappen 2022 14
Michael Schumacher 2004 13
Sebastian Vettel 2013 13
Michael Schumacher 2002 11
Sebastian Vettel 2011 11
Lewis Hamilton 2014 11
Lewis Hamilton 2018 11
Lewis Hamilton 2019 11
Lewis Hamilton 2020 11

Hamilton hung with Verstappen in the early stages to hint at a Mercedes vs Red Bull battle, staying within two seconds before the world champion was the first to pit on Lap 26 for medium tyres, hinting at a two-stop strategy.

Hamilton then came in five laps later for the hard tyre, hinting at a one-stop.

But that was ultimately where Mercedes' race unravelled. Red Bull, with excellent tyre management, had much better pace on the mediums and managed to stretch them to the end. Hamilton and Russell, on the other hand, both regularly criticised the hard tyre but at that stage, Mercedes were already set with their plan and could not really deviate.

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Daniel Ricciardo finally completed the overtake on Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu, while Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly hit each other on the same straight.

"In hindsight it was the wrong choice," admitted team boss Toto Wolff.

Verstappen eventually won by 15 seconds, while the only plus point for Hamilton was he held off a charge from Perez, who may have been able to beat the Merc if not for a slow pit-stop, which initially dropped him behind the Ferraris.

The other big talking points from the race were from a couple of collisions and penalties.

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Aston Martin's Lance Stroll and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly went off the track as the pair contested 15th place in Mexico.

Pierre Gasly nudged into Lance Stroll early on in the race when trying to overtake and was handed a five-second penalty, while a worse mistake came from Ricciardo as he clattered into Tsunoda and ended his race.

Ricciardo, though, still managed to claim 'best of the rest' in seventh.

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