Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes engineers left ‘smiling’ after ‘annoying’ Verstappen

Max Verstappen was left annoyed after Lewis Hamilton claimed the bonus point for the fastest lap at the Mexican Grand Prix, it has been claimed. The Brit left it until the final lap to do so and analyst Peter Windsor says the Mercedes garage would have been delighted.

Verstappen again cruised to victory despite starting third on the grid. The three-time back-to-back world champion moved into first place within seconds of the race starting after team-mate Sergio Perez collided with Charles Leclerc and crashed out.

There was no looking back for Verstappen, who broke his own record for the most race wins in a single Formula One season. It was his 16th triumph in just 22 starts and he now has more than double the points of Perez in the driver standings.

It was a promising race for Hamilton, though, who clinched second spot. The seven-time champion finished well behind Verstappen but ended the race in style, recording the fastest lap right at the last.

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Windsor reckons Hamilton and Mercedes will have enjoyed “annoying” Verstappen. He said on his YouTube channel: “That would have irritated Max a bit because he always loves to set the fastest lap and at that point he had it.

“And Lewis set it on the last lap. That brought a smile obviously to everybody’s face in the Mercedes garage and certainly Lewis enjoyed that.”

Windsor believes Hamilton was always going to be the only driver to challenge Verstappen in Mexico City. However, he said the gap was just too big once Hamilton had burst through to second.

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He added: “Max Verstappen started on the hard tyre and as it happened he had the two Ferraris behind him but they were never in a position to challenge. He made a great start, by the time he came out of Turn 1 he was already three or four lengths ahead of Charles Leclerc, and he just pulled away relatively quickly because in his mind the real threat was going to be potentially Lewis Hamilton on the medium tyres.

“2.3 [seconds] became 3.2, became 3.6, became 4.1, became 4.4. And this was Max controlling the race but pulling away from Lewis. Lewis pushing as hard as he dared on the medium, this was a decisive moment in terms of Max Verstappen winning the Mexican Grand Prix.

“If Lewis had known that the tyres were going to last to the point where he could do a 21.3 on the last lap, how much quicker would he have driven, how much more would he have pushed the tyres over the previous 12 laps?”

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