Pirelli congratulates Hamilton on 4th F1 title, Verstappen on ultra/supersoft win in Mexico
Yesterday’s Mexican Grand Prix delivered Lewis Hamilton his fourth drivers’ title, not to mention a moment of bated breath in the very first round as Hamilton’s Mercedes made contact with the Ferrari of closest title contender Sebastian Vettel. The collision, comments Pirelli, added an extra tactical element to the race, as both protagonists were forced to deviate from the expected one-stop strategy.
After pitting for soft tyres at the end of the opening lap, both Hamilton and Vettel used a virtual safety car halfway through the race to switch on to supersoft (for Hamilton) and ultrasoft (for Vettel). The day’s proceedings then saw Vettel claw his way back to fourth place and Hamilton to ninth, however Vettel’s failure to finish in first or second place enabled Hamilton to claim to title.
Aside from Hamilton and Vettel, only Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Force India’s Sergio Perez stopped twice, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen the highest-placed competitor to use the soft (rather than the supersoft) for his second stint. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took victory in 1:36:26, changing from ultrasoft to supersoft tyres during his sole pit stop on lap 32.
“The collision on the opening lap and the virtual safety car meant that Hamilton and Vettel both had to diverge from the expected one-stop strategy, adding an extra tactical element to this race,” comments Mario Isola, head of car racing at Pirelli. “Keeping the tyres within the correct operating window was essential, with low degradation, minimal downforce in the thin air, and a slippery surface in Mexico, but Verstappen managed this perfectly to seal a textbook victory. We saw all three compounds used during the race, with teams implementing different strategies to react to the changing circumstances of this fascinating grand prix, and no issues whatsoever from the tyres. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for a well-deserved fourth driver’s title, following a stunning season.”