Red Bull showed pace that was supreme compared to Mercedes as Max Verstappen dominated the Mexico City Grand Prix, says Toto Wolff.
Mercedes had locked out the front row on Saturday, but Max Verstappen was able to overtake both cars around the outside into Turn 1 to take the lead. As Verstappen pulled away with ease, Lewis Hamilton had to focus on holding off Sergio Perez for second place. Verstappen’s margin of victory ended up being 16 seconds over Hamilton.
“Well you have to congratulate Red Bull because the pace was just on another level,” Wolff said. “I don’t think we could have won the race even if we would have stayed ahead in the first corner because they could have driven circles around us around the pit stops. In the end, for Lewis’ championship, it was damage limitation, as for the constructors’, Valtteri (Bottas) spinning out at Turn 1 was just very painful.
“It was a really tough but great drive to be honest to hold onto second. Probably we were only good enough for P3 but he managed to hold onto second and on Valtteri’s side, as good as it was (in qualifying), it started to go wrong with Turn 1 and then obviously the rim got stuck on the axel and then from then on it was really taking that one point away from Max was not huge consolation.”
Wolff admits there was some disappointment having started on the front row – noting that Verstappen could have been blocked in if Bottas and Hamilton were further left on the run to Turn 1 – but believes splitting the two Red Bulls is a positive result in the wider context of the championship.
“When we came here we didn’t expect to beat Red Bull and therefore the qualifying result came as a surprise. Probably they went backwards and we went forwards, but the reflection of the pace differential is what we saw in the race.
“The win was never on for us and that’s why taking P2 means winning P2. We leave here, the circuit that we probably regarded as one of the worst ones for us. We are going to Brazil that wasn’t much better in the past but at least we believe that we can have a solid car there, more close to Red Bull than what we had here.”