Mercedes accuse Max Verstappen of ‘guessing’ in first-lap overtake at Mexican Grand Prix

Verstappen took an early lead after a bold, and eventually race-winning, move on the first corner in Mexico

Mercedes have accused Max Verstappen of “guessing and hoping for the best” at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Verstappen took an early lead with an ambitious move at the opening corner past Valtteri Bottas, who started on pole, braking late but able to squeeze past the Finn in the Mercedes.

The Dutchman would go on to claim victory in Mexico, extending his advantage over Bottas’ teammate Lewis Hamilton to 19 points in the race for the Drivers’ Championship.

While Red Bull team principal Christian Horner indicated after the race that Verstappen’s move had been premeditated, Mercedes motorsport strategy director James Vowles disagreed and suggested that the 24-year-old had got lucky.

“If you saw Verstappen’s comments afterwards it is quite clear he was going in there guessing and hoping for the best and it worked out for him,” said Vowles of the race-winning move.

“Verstappen’s start being good meant he was alongside Valtteri very, very quickly. The result of that is they ended up three wide incredibly quickly and early on during the run down to Turn 1.

“Now it was just a question of braking. Valtteri wasn’t on the optimal line, nor was Lewis.

“The grip on the right-hand side of the circuit is slightly worse than where Verstappen was on the racing line. Even so, the differences in braking should have been a few metres, not perhaps the difference that you saw ultimately the drivers braked where they thought they could.”

Both Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff criticised Bottas after the race, suggesting that he had “left the door open” for Verstappen, though the British seven-time champion would later go back on his comments and offer support for his teammate.

Bottas would spin after Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren collided with the back of him at Turn 1 and would eventually finish down the field in 15th place.

The Formula 1 season continues in Brazil this weekend with Verstappen looking to further his chances of a first world title with four races to come to conclude the calendar.

Verstappen was the winner of the last Sao Paulo Grand Prix in 2019.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in