Max Verstappen cited his overtaking move on the two Mercedes drivers at Turn 1 of the Mexico City Grand Prix as the crucial moment to his victory.
Mercedes had locked out the front row on Saturday in a surprising result, with Verstappen starting third and Sergio Perez fourth despite showing superior pace throughout the weekend prior to that. Verstappen instantly negated his starting position, however, with an excellent move around the outside of Turn 1 to overtake both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, going on to dominate the race.
“Well what stood out was clearly the start, three wide going into Turn 1,” Verstappen said. “It’s quite typical of this track but exciting. You have to be precise, because speeds are really high, braking into Turn 1 after the start, tires are cold, brakes are cold going into that corner, but it was crucial for me to get ahead there and I could do my own pace from there onwards.
It's LIGHTS OUT!
A fantastic start by @Max33Verstappen who takes the lead!! #MexicoGP 🇲🇽 #F1 pic.twitter.com/ZW5GrIOk2m
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 7, 2021
“Of course, you can’t really practice how a start is going to go, right, as you end up left, middle, right, depends what happens. But once I was on the outside and on the racing line I knew exactly where I was going to brake.
“It’s always a tricky one, especially as the car on the inside is fully onto the dirt as nobody is really driving there so they can never brake as much as the car on the outside also because of the angle going into the corner, and I knew where I was braking was on the edge as I was getting quite close to the white line on the exit. I knew if somebody would brake later on the inside he would have definitely gone off the track so I went for it and it worked.”
Despite winning by over 16 seconds and never looking troubled, Verstappen says it’s a one-off performance that he doesn’t expect to replicate next weekend at Interlagos.
“The car today was very good again,” he added. “Yesterday was a bit of an off day I think in quali but today it seemed like the car recovered and we were just doing really well. This has been a good track for us in the past so I was always confident going into the race and it showed again today.
“I don’t believe in momentum. Every single race we have to try and nail the details and we didn’t do that yesterday, so you know things can go wrong very quickly or can go right, it’s going to be really tight and exciting until the end. This has been always a track really good for us, so I expect Brazil not to be like it was today.”