Verstappen ninth in Mexico: "Made the most of it"

Published on 01 November 2015 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen finished the first Mexican Grand Prix since 1992 in ninth position. Starting from P8, Max put in an excellent performance consolidating a top ten finish on the high speed Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. With his Reanult powered STR10, the Dutchman was able to keep up with the Mercedes powered Force Indias and Lotus. At the very front, Nico Rosberg bounced after missing out on the world title by beating his team mate Lewis Hamilton to the victory in Mexico City. Valtteri Bottas joined the Mercedes duo on the podium by completing the top three.

“I think we made the most of it”, says Max to “It was quite a good race. I had a good start climbing up to P6. I was happy with that. We also had a good first stint, in which at one point I was able to keep up with the Red Bulls. I had to let them go because we had some overheating issues with the engine. From that moment onwards it wasn’t an easy race. I had to take it easy to cool the car and that unfortunately cost me a lot of time.”

When the lights go out, Max has good start. He is able to defend his eighth place going in to turn one, despite fears that the lack of engine power would cost him in the long run to the first corner. A puncture for Sebastian Vettel and two jousting Williams enable the Dutchman to come through in sixth after the opening lap.

In the early stages, Max sits in between the Williams. He is able to keep up with Bottas and successfully keeps the gap to Felipe Massa bigger than a second, depriving the Brazilian from using DRS. Max moves up into fifth when Bottas pits. The tyre wear of the soft Pirellis is high and many drivers follow the Finn's lead to change tyres during an early pit stop. However, Max, like both Mercedes and Red Bulls, stays out and clocks consistent lap times on the softs. The Dutch youngster is even able to pull a gap to sixth placed Sergio Perez. Fourth placed Ricciardo edges away with the Red Bull showing good pace.

Behind, Bottas is trying to wrestle his way past his compatriot Kimi Raikkonen going into turns 4 and 5. In the end, the Finns wheel bang with the Ferrari's right rear suspension snapping, resulting in a DNF for Raikkonen. Bottas escapes the tangle without damage and resumes his race.

Meanwhile, Max has leaped in to third place with both Red Bulls making their stops a lap before Max heads to Toro Rosso for his first tyre change. The 18-year-old rejoins the race on the medium Pirellis in eighth position, right in front of his team mate, who is chased by local hero Perez. Sainz makes a mistake allowing the Mexican to move up a place and hunt down Max. The latter also makes a mistake, with the Force India driver again capitalizing.

In lap 52, Vettel leaves the track a second time after a spin earlier in the race. This time the German is unable to keep going. Going into the esses, the Ferrari goes straight in the wall resulting in a safety car. Apart from both Mercedes and Perez, all drivers head to the pits for a last tyre stop. With Max also opting for a change of strategy, his earlier mistake is effectively nullified as the Mexican opts to stay out.

After six laps behind the safety car, the race continues with Max in ninth in front of both Lotuses and in behind Sergio Perez. The Force India driver is running on a set of 19 lap old mediums, whereas the Toro Rosso youngster has bolted on a fresh set of soft Pirellis. Nevertheless, Max is unable to attack Perez, but, more importantly, he is able to fend off both Mercedes powered Lotus resulting in a decent points finish for the seventh time in eighth races.

At the front, the Mercedes controlled the race, Nico Rosberg defended his lead from the start and comfortably became Nigel Mansell's successor by winning the Mexican Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Vallteri Bottas made clever use of his tyres at the restart by passing Daniil Kvyat to claim the last spot on the podium.

Autodrom Hermanos Rodriguez – Mexican Grand Prix – Sunday 1 November 2015

 P Driver                   Team          Time 
 1 Nico Rosberg       GER   Mercedes      1:42:35.038 
 2 Lewis Hamilton     GBR   Mercedes      +1.954s 
 3 Valtteri Bottas    FIN   Williams      +14.592s 
 4 Daniil Kvyat       RUS   Red Bull      +16.572s 
 5 Daniel Ricciardo   AUS   Red Bull      +19.682s 
 6 Felipe Massa       BRA   Williams      +21.493s 
 7 Nico Hulkenberg    GER   Force India   +25.860s 
 8 Sergio Perez       MEX   Force India   +34.343s 
 9 Max Verstappen     NED   Toro Rosso    +35.229s 
10 Romain Grosjean    FRA   Lotus         +37.934s 
11 Pastor Maldonado   VEN   Lotus         +38.538s 
12 Marcus Ericsson    SWE   Sauber        +40.180s 
13 Carlos Sainz       ESP   Toro Rosso    +48.772s 
14 Jenson Button      GBR   McLaren       +49.214s 
15 Alexander Rossi    USA   Marussia      +2 laps 
16 Will Stevens       GBR   Marussia      +2 laps 
NC Felipe Nasr        BRA   Sauber        DNF 
NC Sebastian Vettel   GER   Ferrari       DNF 
NC Kimi Raikkonen     FIN   Ferrari       DNF 
NC Fernando Alonso    ESP   McLaren       DNF