Verstappen toasts 'incredible' record 14th win of 2022 as booed Hamilton bemoans Mercedes tactics in Mexico

By Sports Desk October 30, 2022

Max Verstappen vowed to "go for more" after clinching a record 14th win of the Formula One season – as Red Bull's tactics earned plaudits from Lewis Hamilton.

Victory at the Mexican Grand Prix took Verstappen into the outright lead for the most single-season victories in F1 history, going past a mark previously jointly held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

Verstappen pitted to swap soft for medium tyres in the Red Bull on lap 26 and Hamilton came in soon after for Mercedes and went out on the hard compound after beginning on medium.

The British driver was not happy with that choice and openly questioned the strategy during the race, with Mercedes seemingly hopeful Red Bull were on a two-stop plan.

However, Verstappen made it to the finish, with the championship winner adding another garland in a staggering season, while Mexican team-mate Sergio Perez finished third.

A strong start from pole by Verstappen allowed him to have command of the race throughout.

"Of course that helped me out a lot for the rest of the race, to stay in the lead after turn one," Verstappen said.

"We were also on a different strategy to the cars around us, but it's an incredible result. The pace of the car was again really nice. We had to look after our tyres because it was a very long stint on the medium, but we made it work."

When the 14th win was pointed out to him, Verstappen said: "It's been an incredible year so far. We are definitely enjoying it and we'll try to go for more."

Two races remain in 2022, in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, and Hamilton may struggle to prevent Verstappen further stretching his wins record.

Hamilton was booed by the Mexican crowd, despite describing them as "amazing". The negative reaction to Hamilton appeared to stem from fans favouring Red Bull, given home driver Perez races for the Austrian team.

"It has definitely been a bit awkward this time around with boos all day, but nonetheless I have so much love for Mexico and the people here. What a great race and event this weekend," said the seven-time champion.

"I was so close in the first stint, but the Red Bulls were clearly too fast today and also maybe they had the better tyre strategy."

He reiterated the point he made to his team that Mercedes may have gone this one wrong.

"I'm not sure it was the right tyre at the end," Hamilton said. "I thought we should have started on the soft, but obviously we had the opposite tyre. It was OK in the first stint, but the hard tyre was just the offset. So, congratulations to Max, and it's great to be up here and separate the two [Red Bull drivers]."

Perez, the darling of the Mexico City crowd, said: "I gave my best. Today at the start I really pushed hard."

He pointed to overtaking being "so difficult", and that was shown in a race where there was precious little drama.

"Unfortunately it didn't work out today but still it's a good podium in front of this crowd," Perez said. "I really wanted more today but fair play, this still is a good day."

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate George Russell, resigned to missing out on a podium finish and complaining of worn tyres, pitted in the closing stages and produced the fastest lap of the race, a small consolation for the British driver.

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  • Lando Norris takes sprint pole in rain-drenched Shanghai qualifying session Lando Norris takes sprint pole in rain-drenched Shanghai qualifying session

    Lando Norris said it was “all or nothing” as he mastered a rain-hit qualifying to secure pole position for Saturday’s sprint race at the Chinese Grand Prix.

    In treacherous conditions in Shanghai, Norris tip-toed his McLaren to top spot, finishing 1.2 seconds clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in an all-British front row for Saturday’s 19-lap dash.

    For a moment Hamilton, who has endured his worst start ever to a season, looked to have taken a surprise pole when Norris’ best lap was chalked off for exceeding track limits at the final corner.

    But the stewards U-turned on their decision after it became evident the 23-year-old had not gained an advantage as he scrambled for grip while gearing up for his pole lap.

    Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso will line up from third for Saturday’s sprint race, one position ahead of Max Verstappen who struggled in the inclement conditions in his all-conquering Red Bull.

    “It was wild,” said Norris. “You always know it is going to be in a session like this.

    “You only have three laps. The first two I aborted so that last lap was all or nothing. I was nervous because I made a few mistakes, but you have to risk a lot and push and I was quick.

    “I got a good final lap in for pole so I am happy. I am sad it is not real qualifying, but it is good enough. It gets your heart going and it is what we wanted.”

    On Formula One’s return to China after a five-year absence, rain threatened throughout qualifying and it finally arrived for the decisive Q3 session.

    Charles Leclerc was the first to fall foul of the downpour when he lost control of his Ferrari. The Monegasque pirouetted through the gravel before hitting the wall at Turn 2 and breaking the front wing on his Ferrari. He had to settle for seventh.

    Verstappen made not one, but two uncharacteristic mistakes – driving off the road in his first attempt at pole, before later running through the sandtrap at the final corner.

    Mercedes’ wretched run had appeared set to continue here after George Russell was eliminated in 11th in the dry – but when the rain landed, Hamilton looked at home as he secured his spot on the front row.

    “I am so happy,” said the 39-year-old, who failed to finish inside the top six at any of the opening four rounds.

    “When I saw the rain coming I was getting excited because in the dry we are not quick enough. I thought I would have a better opportunity and that is when it all came alive.

    “Tomorrow depends on the conditions and if it is like that, maybe we will have a chance of being somewhere up there, but if it is dry the Ferraris and Red Bull will come by.”

    Earlier, the start of Q2 was delayed by several minutes following a second bizarre track fire of the day.

    Practice was red-flagged when a patch of grass next to Turn 7 caught fire. And in qualifying the grass was ablaze again, this time at Turn 5.

    Although both fires were quickly extinguished, the incidents – which the FIA believes were caused by sparks flying off the drivers’ cars – will be a concern for the sport’s bosses.

    Saturday’s sprint takes place at 11am local time (04:00 BST) ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s main event.

  • Lando Norris lands sprint race pole position at Chinese Grand Prix Lando Norris lands sprint race pole position at Chinese Grand Prix

    Lando Norris mastered a rain-hit qualifying to secure pole position for Saturday’s sprint race at the Chinese Grand Prix.

    In soaking conditions at the Shanghai International Circuit, Norris finished 1.2 seconds clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in an all-British front row for Saturday’s 19-lap dash.

    Hamilton looked to have taken top spot after Norris’ best lap was deleted by the stewards only for it then to be reinstated.

    “Simply beautiful,” said Norris after he was informed of his pole. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso qualified third, one place ahead of triple world champion Max Verstappen, who ran off the road on numerous occasions.

    Rain threatened throughout qualifying and finally arrived for the decisive Q3 session.

    Charles Leclerc was the first to fall foul of the torrid conditions when he lost control of his Ferrari. The Monegasque pirouetted through the gravel before hitting the wall at Turn 2 and braking the front wing on his Ferrari.

    Verstappen also made an error, falling off the road in his first attempt, before then running through the sandtrap at the final corner. The driver, who has dominated Formula One, had to settle for fourth.

    Hamilton has had a season to forget – statistically, at least, the worst of his career so far. But for a moment here, he topped the time charts only to see Norris edge him out with an impressive lap.

    Norris’ time was initially chalked off for exceeding track limits but after the British driver, 23, complained he “didn’t go off anywhere”, the stewards u-turned on their decision.

    “It was tricky,” said Norris. “You always know it is going to be in a session like this.

    “You only have three laps. The first two I aborted so that last lap was all or nothing.

    “I was nervous because I made a few mistakes, but you have to risk a lot and push and I was quick.

    “I got a good final lap in for pole so I am happy, sad it is not real qualifying, but it is good enough. It gets your heart going and it is what we wanted.”

    Mercedes’ wretched run looked set to continue after George Russell was eliminated in 11th but when the rain arrived, Hamilton looked at home to secure his spot on the front row.

    Elsewhere, Carlos Sainz finished fifth for Ferrari ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez with Leclerc seventh.

    F1 is back in China following a five-year absence and home favourite Zhou Guanyu sent the home crowd happy after he qualified 10th.

    Earlier, the start of Q2 was delayed by several minutes following a second bizarre track fire of the day.

    Practice was red-flagged when a patch of grass next to Turn 7 caught fire. And there was a similar incident in qualifying, this time at Turn 5.

    Although both blazes were quickly extinguished, the incidents – which the FIA believe were caused by sparks flying off the drivers’ cars – will be a concern for the sport’s bosses.

    Saturday’s sprint takes place at 11am local time (04:00 BST) ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s main event.

  • Daniel Ricciardo admits he does not deserve his F1 seat if poor form continues Daniel Ricciardo admits he does not deserve his F1 seat if poor form continues

    Daniel Ricciardo said he has been assured by Red Bull that he is not set to lose his seat – but admitted if he continues to get his “arse whooped” he does not deserve to be in Formula One.

    Following a troubled start to his first full season back on the grid, Ricciardo, 34, arrives for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix as a driver under pressure.

    Ricciardo was handed a reprieve by Red Bull’s junior outfit, RB, midway through last season, after he was dumped by McLaren.

    But he has failed to get up to speed in 2024, out-qualified by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda at every event, and without a point to his name.

    He also crashed out on the first lap in Japan a fortnight ago, and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner – integral in bringing him back into the fold – said here in Shanghai that Ricciardo has “under-performed” so far this season.

    It has even been suggested that a failure to turn his troubling form around could see Ricciardo replaced by Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson as early as the next race in Miami.

    But in an interview with the PA news agency, Ricciardo said: “Everybody in the team is shutting that down. The black and white, is that I have a contract.

    “However, I have to earn my spot. I don’t want these results to continue for a year, and for me to say: ‘well I should be here because it is on paper’. I am not going to be happy with that. At the end of the day, if I am getting my arse whooped I don’t deserve to be here.

    “I want to get back to a place where I know I can be, and I feel confident I can get there. I am aware I have to get the results. But from my side, I am not a rookie trying to prove something or to establish myself. I do have a history in this sport. I do have a track record that says I can win.

    “But if we get to December and I have not been able to extract that then maybe I will be like, ‘fine I am done with this’ or ‘I am not good enough’, but I certainly don’t feel like that in my heart.”

    Ricciardo’s stock fell after two poor years with McLaren, and his career looked over when his contract was cancelled at the end of 2022. But an upbeat Ricciardo believes his troubled spell with the British team has allowed him to remain positive amid his current disappointing run.

    “I went through this at McLaren and I bought into the noise because I ended up losing the belief,” he said. “I would question myself: ‘F***, maybe I have lost that edge? Maybe I can’t do it anymore?’

    “But now I sit here in a different place because I do feel rejuvenated. That is why it is frustrating because in my head it makes no sense.

    “If I do well here and in Miami, all of a sudden it is forgotten about. I don’t get caught up in it, but deep down, I know I have to do better.”

    Ricciardo announced at his comeback race in Hungary last year that his dream is to return to Red Bull where he raced to seven of his eight career wins between 2014 and 2018.

    But recent results have seen him looking over his shoulder, rather than as a potential replacement for Sergio Perez, who is out of contract at the end of the year, or even Max Verstappen, whose future with the all-conquering, but scandal-hit team, remains uncertain.

    “Is it still a goal (to re-join Red Bull)? said Ricciardo. “Of course. But where I sit right now, I don’t want to talk about it because I know I have to do better.

    “I am also aware that if I start talking about that, all the responses, will be like, ‘mate, focus on where you are’, which is the truth.

    “And look, can anything happen in F1? Yes. But my prediction is that Max stays (at Red Bull).”

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