Verstappen achieved his fourteenth victory of the year
Red Bull’s strategy, the key to victory
The Mexican GP F1 2022 was full of emotions in the fight for victory, especially in the first ‘departure’ in which Lewis Hamilton managed to keep pace with Max Verstappen. However, the strategy played its part today and Red Bull was ‘smarter’ than Mercedes in the choice of tires.
Toto Wolff warned yesterday about this race, in which they probably had the best chance of the season to win. And so it was. But Max Verstappen and Red Bull were once again one step ahead. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hannah Schmitz had a monument made in Milton Keynes.
The reigning world champion had a good start on the soft tires and made the first clear managerial action against Mercedes, who were running on the medium tires. The battle between the two seemed to be very close, but the relegation at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez was very low and the sharp ones did not seem like a good option.
In this situation, a soft-medium strategy was the best option for Red Bull; Mercedes, for its part, had the opportunity to do the same, but on the contrary, with a soft tire at the end of the race. A strategy that, by the way, worked like a charm for Daniel Ricciardo… but those at the star brand preferred the tough one. Error.
As the laps went by, with Lewis Hamilton unable to close the gap on Max Verstappen despite wearing ‘fresher’ hard tyres, the equation became clear. On the other hand, George Russell did not hesitate to convince on the radio that the softs were a better option, but they ignored it from the Mercedes wall.
In the end, the Dutch driver comfortably crossed the checkered flag in first place, more than 15 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton – they were less than two seconds at the end of the first leg – and not only claimed his 34th Formula 1 victory, but also the 14th of the year, so he set a new record.
A victory that in the end seemed easier than at the beginning, but everything has its own reason: strategy. Lewis Hamilton himself assured after the race that “the strategy was not disastrous, but the tires were not the right ones” and that “one of us should have started with the soft”.
Mercedes had a chance, maybe a remote one, as Verstappen’s pace was very high, but in terms of strategy they were not ‘good’. And in this sense, Hannah Schmitz, Red Bull’s head of strategy, is leading practically the entire season. She also set a record this year… and it’s no wonder that some Ferrari fans called her to join the team from Maranello before this Grand Prix.
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