Sergio Perez hit out at Max Verstappen after his Red Bull team-mate refused to hand him sixth place at Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, saying: "If he has two championships, it's thanks to me".

Verstappen overtook Perez following a late safety car at the Interlagos Circuit to take sixth, having been encouraged by his team to challenge Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in third and fourth, as long as he could first overtake Fernando Alonso.

With Verstappen unable to take points off the Ferraris, he was told to hand his position back to Perez, who is battling Leclerc for second place in the drivers' championship standings.

However, the two-time world champion failed to do so before telling race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase: "You guys don't ask that again to me, okay? Are we clear about that? I have given my reasons."

Perez was infuriated by Verstappen's failure to give way, exclaiming over team radio: "It shows who he really is."

Speaking to Sky Sports after finishing seventh – a result which leaves him level with Leclerc in the standings, Perez said: "I was told to let him by and that I was going to get the position back.

"I don't know what the complications were on his side. I have no idea, maybe you should ask him about it.

"I have nothing to say, really. After all I have done for him, it is a bit disappointing, to be honest. I am really surprised."

Perez went further when asked about the incident in Spanish by ESPN, declaring: "If he has two championships, it's thanks to me."

However, Verstappen told Sky Sports he remained willing to support Perez in next week's final race of the season, while refusing to explain his decision not to hand the place back. 

"I have my reasons for that, we just discussed that [in the debrief]," he said. "I think it was good that we finally just sat together and talked about it, and we'll just move forward from here.

"If we go to Abu Dhabi [next Sunday] and he needs support, it is not the end of the world. It is all about who finishes ahead, anyway. 

"If he needs the help, I am there, but it is good that we first talked about it now and cleared everything that was there and why I didn't do it."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, meanwhile, insists the team will prioritise Perez's battle for second next time out.

"We will go to Abu Dhabi to get Checo the second place and Max will support that," Horner told Sky Sports. "We won't talk about what happens internally, but the drivers shook hands on it.

"We work as a team, we race as a team and our priority is to help Checo get second in the championship. We will do the best we can to achieve that and if Max can help in any way, he will do."

George Russell led from the start in a dramatic, stuttering Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday to clinch his first Formula One win, holding off Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Having won the sprint race at the Interlagos Circuit on Saturday, Russell kept his composure while those around him clashed and collided in a race full of incident.

The race was halted by a red flag on the first lap, with Daniel Ricciardo crashing into Kevin Magnussen, and Hamilton was perhaps fortunate to come away unscathed and unpunished after a collision with Max Verstappen following the restart – which saw the world champion handed a five-second time penalty.

A second safety car was brought out after Lando Norris lost power on the track with 19 laps remaining, but another fine restart from Russell saw him see off Hamilton and claim a deserved maiden victory.

Sunday's race was dramatic from the start as Ricciardo and Magnussen crashed out as early as Turn 8 – and the restart brought another collision, this time between old rivals Hamilton and Verstappen.

Hardly strangers to battles and bruises down the years, Hamilton and Verstappen tussled on Turn 2.

Verstappen got around the seven-time world champion on Turn 1, but despite appearing to have the racing line on the inside on the next corner, it was the Dutchman who was punished after a significant collision – though both cars were able to stay in the race.

Charles Leclerc was also sent spinning into the barrier after an incident involving Norris, but the Ferrari was able to continue.

Hamilton recovered swiftly, with the Mercedes driver clawing his way ahead of Norris, Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez.

A three-second loss in the pits cost Verstappen further time, though the Red Bull's speed was on show as he quickly cruised back into the points.

However, Norris' vehicle failed him on lap 52, resulting in a second full safety car. Having seen his 11-second lead cut by that stoppage, Russell might have lost his nerve, but a wonderful restart propelled him out of Hamilton's DRS range.

Sainz came in third, leaving Leclerc dismayed, though the day belonged to Mercedes, who are aiming to cap a frustrating season with a flourish.

Team-mates tussle

There are few friends in F1, it would seem. While Hamilton was happy to congratulate his team-mate Russell on a maiden F1 success, there was frustration within the ranks of Ferrari and Red Bull.

Leclerc was begging Ferrari to instruct his team-mate Sainz to give way, and concede a podium place, in order to boost his chances of finishing second in the world championship.

Verstappen, meanwhile, ignored Red Bull's instructions to hand sixth place back to Perez if he was unable to pass Fernando Alonso. "I have given you my reasons," Verstappen said on the team radio. 

Magnussen's weekend ends in sorrow 

Haas driver Magnussen took a shock pole in qualifying on Friday, though he went down to eighth in the sprint race. However, by Turn 8 on the first lap, the 30-year-old had crashed out.

Ricciardo, who could now face a grid penalty in his last race for McLaren, was to blame for clipping the back of Magnussen's car, with the Australian compounding the issue when he failed to avoid the spinning Haas, sending both vehicles into the wall and out of the race.

IN THE POINTS

1. George Russell (Mercedes)
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +1.529 seconds
3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +4.051s
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +8.441s
5. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +9.561s
6. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +10.056s
7. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +14.080s
8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +18.690s
9. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) +22.552s
10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +23.552s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 429
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 290
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 290
4. George Russell (Mercedes) 265
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 240

Constructors

1. Red Bull 719
2. Ferrari 524
3. Mercedes 505
4. Alpine 167
5. McLaren 148

Lewis Hamilton is planning to work alongside teammate George Russell to secure victory in Sunday's race in Sao Paulo, following a stellar showing in Saturday's Sprint.

Russell was a surprise victor after overtaking champion Max Verstappen to secure pole position for the race, while Hamilton rose from eighth to join his teammate on the second row.

It hands Mercedes their best chance of victory in 2022, after what has been a frustrating season for last year's winning side, as they look to end the season on a high in the final few races.

While Hamilton is still seeking to avoid this being the first season where he has failed to secure a single win, his priority is in getting the best result for the team and he is looking to unite with Russell.

"This just goes to everyone back to the factory, everyone here working on the ground working so hard this year," he said after the Sprint.

"This is an amazing result, for us to be on the front row tomorrow is incredible so from there we should be able to work as a team and hold off the guys behind.

"We are going to try as hard as we can. If we can have some good degradation tomorrow, hopefully some good weather we can have a good fight on our hands. A win here for Brazil would be incredible."

Russell was left surprised by his performance on Saturday and is wary of the threat that Verstappen poses, with the Red Bull ace sitting on the second row alongside teammate Sergio Perez.

"It's crazy to think we are both starting on the front row and Lewis did a great job starting coming from P8," he said.

"I'm sure Max is going to be flying tomorrow coming through the pack but we are in a luxury position and we can maybe split the strategy and go for the win."

Mercedes enjoyed a strong Saturday ahead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix as George Russell won the sprint race at Interlagos.

Kevin Magnussen was the surprise pole holder after his brilliant qualifying session on Friday, though the Haas driver, who had promised to go "maximum attack" slipped well down the grid.

Russell qualified third and delivered a brilliant drive to claim his first race win and get himself on pole for Sunday's grand prix.

Carlos Sainz of Ferrari clinched second, though a five-place penalty should see Lewis Hamilton join his team-mate at the front of the grid, although the result will be subject to a stewards' enquiry.

Hamilton will be investigated, along with Daniel Ricciardo and Zhou Guanyu, for his position in his grid box at the start of the sprint.

Should he retain his place in second, Hamilton – who is aiming to equal Michael Schumacher as the driver with the most wins at Interlagos (four) – will take his place on the front row for the first time in 2022.

Max Verstappen went out on mediums instead of soft tyres, and that decision backfired as he dropped from second to fourth, though the world champion will move up thanks to Sainz's penalty, which came as a result of the Spaniard clipping the Dutchman's Red Bull.

Sergio Perez, Verstappen's team-mate, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris will start ahead of Sainz, while Magnussen will have to settle for eighth.

For Mercedes, the omens are good, with 15 of the last 17 winners at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix having come from the front row, with eight of the winners having started on pole.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. George Russell (Mercedes)
2. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +3.995
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +4.492
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +10.494
5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +11.855
6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +13.133
7. Lando Norris (McLaren) +25.624
8. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +28.768
9. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +30.218
10. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) +34.170

Guenther Steiner knows Haas benefitted from circumstance as Kevin Magnussen claimed a shock pole position, but insisted it was not down to luck.

Magnussen will start at the front of the grid in Saturday's sprint race ahead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix after clinching his first Formula One pole.

The 30-year-old, who joined Haas this year in the wake of Nikita Mazepin's dismissal from the team, recorded the quickest lap of Q3 at the Interlagos Circuit, with the final session ended by a combination of a red flag and rain showers.

Yet Steiner was adamant Haas and Magnussen must take the credit.

"This is the sort of thing that you're scared to dream about. The whole team have been trying hard for seven years. Circumstances let us pull this one off," he told Sky Sports.

"It was not luck, it was well-deserved from the driver and from the team, being on the right tyres at the right time and Kevin putting a lap down when it was needed. 

"He was first out. You could say he had an advantage, but also he had a disadvantage as he had nobody to gauge things from because he was on his own.

"Kevin deserves a lot. The whole team deserves this and he's part of the team. We always work hard, we never give up and we keep on fighting."

It has been another tough season for Haas, who sit eighth in the constructors' standings, with Magnussen and team-mate Mick Schumacher having accumulated just 36 points between them.

They now have a chance to leave their mark with just two races remaining in 2022, while for Magnussen, he fulfilled a dream he might have thought had gone.

"I still can't really believe it," Magnussen told Sky Sports.

"What a phenomenal job the team did to put me out on the pit lane as the first car to give me the best piece of track. It was starting to rain so that was the crucial part.

"In this sport, at least I do go up and down. It's a lot of fun on days like this, that's for sure."

Magnussen burst onto the scene with McLaren in 2014, finishing on the podium in his very first race.

"I didn't know what to expect back then. I came in as this arrogant little kid thinking I was the king of the world," he added with a smile.

"I had a lot of lessons after that, showing how difficult it actually is in this sport. Now I'm on pole position so I'm just going to enjoy."

Surprise pole-sitter Kevin Magnussen pledged "maximum attack" as he aimed to "have some fun" in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix sprint race.

Haas driver Magnussen, who claimed a podium finish in his first Formula One race back in 2014, had never previously topped qualifying.

Yet he claimed a shock pole position on Friday, ahead of world champion Max Verstappen and Mercedes' George Russell, to ensure he will start Saturday's sprint race at the front of the grid.

Magnussen recorded a fastest lap of 1:11.674 before a combination of a rain shower and a red flag due to Russell spinning off ended the session.

"You're kidding, you're kidding, you're f****** kidding me! I've never, ever felt like this in my life," the Dane said on the team radio after being informed he was P1.

Magnussen, the first driver from Denmark to claim a pole in F1, had hardly composed himself by the time he was interviewed following the race.

"I don't know what to say," said the 30-year-old, who signed for Haas earlier this year after Nikita Mazepin had his contract terminated.

"The team put me out on the track at the exact right moment. We were the first out in the pit lane and did a pretty decent lap and we are on pole. It is incredible. 

"Thank you to Gene Haas and [team manager] Guenther Steiner and the whole team for this opportunity. 

"It has just been an amazing journey. It is incredible, thank you."

Asked about his plan for Saturday, Magnussen quipped: "Maximum attack, let's go for something funny."

Magnussen might still have his work cut out to hold off the Red Bull of Verstappen, who said: "We are still at the front. We just stayed calm from Q1 to Q2, then Q3 was where it was a bit more of a lottery but we are still on the front row."

Russell had to settle for P3 following his spin, though the Briton believes the sprint race provides Mercedes with a prime chance to beat Verstappen.

"Firstly, I'm happy to be P3 and congrats to Kevin," he said. "What an awesome job he did and Haas – they truly deserve it for all the efforts they have been putting in.

"P3 is not necessarily where we wanted to be but it's a very good place to be starting for tomorrow's sprint race. 

"I think it is our best shot at finishing ahead of Max and Red Bull if there are some mixed conditions. I think we are ready for a good couple of races."

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 1:11.674
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.203
3. George Russell (Mercedes) +0.385
4. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.589
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.683
6. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +0.751
7. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +0.830
8. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.937
9. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +3.927
10. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

Pierre Gasly says the "embarrassing" threat of a looming race ban is "a very unpleasant situation" as he prepares for this weekend's Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The AlphaTauri driver, who will move to Alpine next year, has amassed 10 penalty points so far this term, leaving him two shy of the threshold to automatically trigger a one-race suspension.

If he reaches a dozen at Interlagos, he will miss the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend, while his remaining points remain valid for a year, meaning he could still be banned next season - with Brazil the first of nine races where the threat of a ban looms over him. 

Gasly feels the sanctions have been tough on him however, and says he is in dialogue with the FIA to seek clarification on rulings in order to avoid incurring any time spent off-track.

"I'm not going to lie, it's a very unpleasant situation and quite delicate," he stated. "In some ways, [it is] a bit embarrassing to be standing in a position where I could be banned for a race after the season that I've [had].

"I don't really feel like I've been particularly dangerous over these last 12 months and that would definitely be a harsh penalty.

"I've been discussing it quite a lot with the FIA to try and find solutions because the way the regulation is written at the moment, it's quite strict on the drivers, even though it's not always related to dangerous driving."

"I hope we can find solutions out of the weekend to avoid ending up in a silly situation where I'll be banned for a race. That would be terrible for myself and definitely not the way. I don't think that's the correct approach."

Gasly's penalty points have mostly been amassed through collisions this term, including with Lance Stroll in Spain and Sebastian Vettel in Austria.

He was also handed points for exceeding red flag limits during a controversial Japanese Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are running out of time to claim a victory in the 2022 Formula One season, and the Brazilian Grand Prix could represent his best chance.

Hamilton has never gone through an entire season without securing at least one win in his storied F1 career, one which has seen him win seven drivers' championships.

Mercedes' much-maligned 2022 car has displayed signs of improvement in recent races, with Hamilton claiming successive second-place finishes at the United States Grand Prix and the Mexico City Grand Prix.

His hopes of turning those runner-up finishes into a place on the top step of the podium in Brazil will be boosted by his record in Sao Paulo.

Hamilton has three victories at the Interlagos circuit, including his dramatic triumph last season as he rattled off wins in three straight races to take his remarkable title fight with Max Verstappen to its infamous finale in Abu Dhabi.

The chances of a title battle akin to their engrossing 2021 duel disappeared a long time ago as Verstappen has claimed a dominant second drivers' championship, setting an F1 record for the most wins in a season with 14 to this point.

But Hamilton, who was made an honorary citizen of Brazil in the build-up to the race this week, will have his own piece of history to celebrate should he interrupt Verstappen and Red Bull's superiority.

A fourth win at Interlagos would see him equal Michael Schumacher for the most successes at the track, and it would surely be a popular one among the home fans.

FERRARI EYEING NEW POLE MILESTONE

While it has not translated into race wins, Ferrari have dominated qualifying in the 2022 season.

The Scuderia have claimed 12 pole positions - tying their best total for a single season from 2004 - and will set a new high if they top the timesheets on Friday.

But the pole-sitter this weekend may not start the race first, with the grid to be determined by Saturday's sprint.

SECOND PLACE STILL UP FOR GRABS

Despite not winning a race so far this year, Mercedes can still overhaul Ferrari and claim second place in the constructors' championship in one of the few remaining battles for position in the standings.

The Silver Arrows trail Ferrari by 40 points with two races remaining, but Mercedes do not appear to be confident of overhauling that deficit.

Strategy director James Vowles said in their most recent race debrief video: "We are here to finish second in the championship, and every single race that we can start pulling that points gap down is a success.

"In Mexico we took just 13 points out of them, so there are still 40 left to go with two races; fortunately, one of those is a sprint race. I think we have a package now, unlike the beginning of the season or the mid-season, that can really bring the fight to them.

"But 40 points is a tremendous ask – it will need us really having everything perfect, everything right – and Ferrari perhaps to give us opportunities to open the door for us to pick up second. What I can tell you is that we are not giving up until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Max Verstappen's "perfect" 2022 campaign is the most dominant he has seen during his time in Formula One.

Verstappen retained his world title with four races to spare by emerging victorious at last month's Japanese Grand Prix, and he has since posted wins in the United States and Mexico.

The Dutchman broke F1's single-season wins record – previously shared with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel – at the Mexican Grand Prix, securing his 14th race victory of 2022.

The numbers therefore back up Horner's claims this has been a season like no other for Verstappen.

Asked whether his driver had produced the best campaign in recent memory, Horner said: "There's been years of domination with Mercedes, but I think, as an individual driver, probably yes. 

"He's won the most grands prix in a year now, within 22 races. On top of that, he's won two sprint races, and he's not won all of them from pole position. He's had to fight and race for a lot of those victories.

"I think when we look back at the end of the year, it is an absolutely outstanding year that Max has driven. He hasn't put a wheel wrong. 

"He's been perfect throughout the season. It's incredible, the level of consistency that he's been able to achieve."

Last year, Verstappen became the first Red Bull driver to win the world championship since Vettel clinched the last of his four successive titles in 2013, and Horner believes he does not get the recognition he deserves. 

"They are two very different drivers, two phenomenally successful drivers," Horner said of Verstappen and Vettel.

"I think that what Sebastian has achieved in his career puts him among the greats and most successful drivers in the sport, but I think Max, what we're seeing today and this year, we're actually witnessing something very special. 

"I actually think his achievements sometimes don't receive the plaudits that they should, because I think what we've witnessed this year is an absolutely outstanding performance from a driver that is very much at the top of his game."

Lewis Hamilton is grateful to have been made an honorary citizen of Brazil and dedicated the achievement to boyhood idol Ayrton Senna.

The seven-time Formula One world champion received the honour during a ceremony at the Chamber of Deputies in Brasilia on Monday.

Hamilton delighted home spectators when holding a Brazilian flag from his Mercedes after claiming his third victory at Interlagos last year.

That is also the venue where the Briton won his first world title in 2008, and where he will return this weekend for the penultimate grand prix of 2022.

While Hamilton may still be seeking a first victory of a hugely disappointing campaign, the 37-year-old was all smiles as he received Brazil's legislative medal of merit. 

"I'd like to say a big, big thank you to everyone here, for all those who've moved mountains to make this day possible," he said. 

"It is honestly the greatest honour for me to be here receiving and accepting this citizenship. I really do feel like now I'm one of you, finally.

"The love that's grown since I arrived here in 2007, the experiences we've had and, particularly in 2021, it was one of the most special moments of my entire life. 

"I can't wait for us to continue to strive ahead."

Hamilton's seven world titles is the joint-most in F1 history, level with Michael Schumacher and four more than the late, great Senna.

"I really want to dedicate today, this honour, to Ayrton Senna – to Ayrton's family, to his friends and to his fans," Hamilton added. 

"For me, when I was five years old, I saw Ayrton race for the first time, and that was the moment I knew that I wanted to be a world champion, just like him.

"It was then that I knew and learnt about Brazil. It was then that I started to play FIFA as Brazil! 

"But really, through his eyes, I was able to see how passionate Brazilians were, and how deep it goes, the love and passion you have for your country, and how beautiful it is. 

"I'm so excited to spend some more time here."

Stoffel Vandoorne will join Aston Martin as a test and reserve driver for the 2023 Formula One season.

The Formula E champion will share duties along with F2 champion Felipe Drugovich, raising doubts over the future of Nico Hulkenberg.

German Hulkenberg, Aston Martin's current reserve driver, has been linked with a move to Haas.

Vandoorne, who made 41 Grand Prix starts or McLaren from 2016 to 2018, will continue driving for the DS Penske Formula E team for the 2022/23 season.

"It is incredibly exciting to be stepping into a reserve-driver role in Formula One – and I'm delighted to be doing it with Aston Martin,” said 30-year-old Belgian Vandoorne.

"I've watched with great interest how the team has developed and expanded operationally, and I know how incredibly determined it is to make progress in every area.

"Joining Fernando [Alonso], who I already know from my Formula One racing career, and Lance [Stroll], to help them develop and improve next year's car will be a terrific job.

"I'm really looking forward to the challenge – and reward – of working together with the whole organisation at Silverstone."

Daniel Ricciardo believes spending time away from Formula One could act as a "blessing in disguise" after seeing his chances of staying on the grid next year diminish.

Since McLaren announced an early termination of Ricciardo's contract in August, the Australian has seen several vacant seats filled ahead of next season. 

Only Haas now have an empty seat on the grid for 2023, but Ricciardo is not interested in joining the team.

Ricciardo offered a reminder of his quality when he overcame a 10-second penalty to finish seventh at Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix, and believes the opportunity to reflect on his achievements may allow him to return stronger in 2024.

Looking ahead to the 2023 campaign when speaking to Sky Sports, Ricciardo acknowledged: "I can confidently say I won't be on the grid, behind a wheel. 

"But I still want to be in the sport, I want to be working with a team, still with the ambition to be back on the grid in 2024.

"I feel like a bit of time away from a race seat will actually do me good, and then [I'll] try to rebuild something for 2024.

"The way the seasons are, it's pretty relentless, you don't really get a chance to rebuild.

"Everyone's different, but I truly believe that will be, in a way, a blessing in disguise for me. By doing less, I'll achieve more."

Ricciardo has been linked with a reserve role at Mercedes since conceding a seat was unlikely for next year, but the Silver Arrows' team principal Toto Wolff was giving nothing away when asked about a potential move.

"We very much like him; he's a great character," Wolff said. "But we are not in a position yet to decide who is going to do reserve and be third driver."

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.

Max Verstappen powered to a record 14th win of his championship-winning season as the Red Bull driver roared to victory at the Mexican Grand Prix.

The Dutchman matched Formula One's single-season wins record shared by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel when he snatched a 13th success last week in Austin at the United States Grand Prix, and in Mexico City he went one better.

Many in the crowd were willing on Verstappen's Mexican team-mate Sergio Perez, but he had to settle for third place and another podium, a repeat of his result last year at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Perez separated the Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton, who finished second, and George Russell, who took fourth, with the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in fifth and sixth.

It was a race that was bereft of drama, and the tone was set from the start. It was clean as pole-sitter Verstappen held off the Mercedes pair, with Hamilton nudging ahead of Russell in the early stages and Perez getting between the Silver Arrows as he climbed to third place.

That was how it finished, of course, and there was little to report of any import between the start and finish.

Hamilton had cast doubt on Mercedes' ability to get a first win of the season, and despite taking second and fourth, they never really looked like rivalling Verstappen for the win.

Three-quarters of the way through the race, Hamilton asked his team whether he was running on the wrong tyres and was told by the Mercedes garage they were confident in their strategy. At the finish, he again cast doubt on team tactics.

He had also pointed to power drop-offs. At that stage, Verstappen led Hamilton by just over 10 seconds, and Mercedes were counting on the Red Bulls needing second pit stops, but that prospect went away.

Russell complained over the team radio that his tyres were "gone" on the 67th lap but was told "his tyres will be more gone than yours" as he looked to close in on third-placed Perez. Little changed as the drivers remained in the same order through to the finish.

A joyful Verstappen said on team radio, after being congratulated for his record drive: "Double podium as well, that's amazing here in Mexico, well done guys."

 

The Max and Lewis show rolls on

Verstappen and Hamilton were first and second, but the gap was 15 seconds by the end of the race and it was barely competitive. What the result means, though, is they have now finished first and second in a race on 33 occasions, extending the record they established in Austin.

Red Bull, meanwhile, have stretched their winning streak to nine races, matching a team-best set in the 2013 season when Sebastian Vettel won the closing nine races of that campaign.


F1? It's a team game

With Verstappen and Red Bull already having the championships wrapped up, others are jostling for places in the drivers' and constructors' standings.

Mercedes entered this race 53 points behind second-placed Ferrari, with only races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi to come, and they had a strong day, raising hopes the Silver Arrows could yet finish as runners-up. The gap is now down to 40 points.

Ferrari's Leclerc saw his run of five consecutive podium finishes come to an end in a race where he was rarely a factor up front.

Max Verstappen knows pole position at the Mexican Grand Prix does not guarantee first place, as the Formula One world champion aims to claim a 14th win of the season.

Of Verstappen's 13 race wins in 2022, nine have come without the Dutchman starting on pole, which has seen him surpass Lewis Hamilton's calendar-year record (eight in 2019).

Verstappen will, though, start from the front in Mexico City on Sunday.

Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton qualified in second and third respectively, though Verstappen does not expect pole position to dictate who wins the race.

"I've started, I guess, everywhere except pole here, and we won the races, so it is always important to have a good start around here," Verstappen told reporters.

"I think our top speed is not too bad to defend, at least, when people are in the draft. We just need to focus on that and honestly, I think if we have a good race pace, then it will be a good fight. 

"We don't know [about the race pace] because we've been driving on these development tyres, so it's a bit difficult to tell. But I think the car we had [on Saturday], I'm expecting it to be alright."

Red Bull will match their longest winning streak in F1 should they clinch a ninth straight victory – only in 2013 have they achieved such a run.

Russell, who has enjoyed a strong debut season with Mercedes in a difficult campaign for the team, is hopeful of denting Verstappen's lead at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

"I think we were looking competitive. Similar to what Max said: we don't really know. But we think we've got a reasonable shot," Russell said.

"I think having Lewis and I there at the front gives us an opportunity to maybe do something different with the strategy.

"I don't think anybody really knows if it's going to be a one or two-stop. So, let's see what we can do."

Verstappen and Hamilton finished first and second respectively at the United States Grand Prix last week, becoming the pair with the most one-two finishes (32) in F1 history. 

Hamilton, however, understands the difficulties of challenging Verstappen, given Red Bull's superiority throughout the year – though an early attack at the first turn could be crucial.

"Naturally, it's always a tough race around here, with the track temperatures and tyres," Hamilton said. "These guys have been rapid all year long.

"Even at our best this weekend, still losing out to them through straight-line speed. It'll definitely be difficult to get by them, but we'll give it our best shot. And Turn 1 is an opportunity. So, we'll go for it."

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