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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Mexico City Grand Prix Talking Points: Advance Australia Fair, while Verstappen tastes sweet 16

The second part of the final Formula One triple header is done with as we leave Mexico with more records broken and some smiles for Aussie F1 fans.

There was also a sterling drive from an orange car and more pressure put on a certain driver who was trying to put on a show for his home race.

That means that there is always plenty to talk about, as you are about to find out in the latest edition of my F1 talking points.

Sweet 16 for Verstappen

16 wins in a season. What an incredible achievement. Max Verstappen, take a bow.

Sure it was never going to be a surprise that he would reach that target given the form he has been in this season, but it is still an almost unfathomable number to reach in a single season for wins.

To put that into perspective, 20 years ago in 2003 if Verstappen had won 16 races, he would have won every single race that year. Now we have more races on the calendar, so it is even more of an extraordinary achievement.

Also adding weight to his feat is the fact that he has won as many races this season as Stirling Moss did in his entire career, and more than the likes of Jack Brabham, Jenson Button, Graham Hill and Emerson Fittipaldi – all former World Champions.

I will also add that there are still three races to go this year, meaning he could end his season tally with 19 race wins in a single year.

No matter what you think of his dominance, these are remarkable stats that simply cannot go unacknowledged.

(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Nothing can stop Norris

After a hot run of four consecutive podiums, and six in the last ten races, the most in-form driver was by far Lando Norris.

However, that all looked to come to an end in Mexico after failing to make it out of Q1 and languishing back in 17th on the grid for the race.

From there though Norris put on a clinic, making his way through the field to storm to an impressive fifth place, and secure yet another ‘driver of the day’ award by fans.

It was a shame to see his issues during qualifying to prevent what would have easily been another podium for the popular British driver and stop what could have even been a challenge for Verstappen in the race.

One thing is for sure, nothing can seemingly stop him, making that win drought even harder to bear for his fans.

It will come, do not worry about that.

Ferrari falters again – but it is not all bad news

Another race, another Leclerc pole, another non-win. That is now ten consecutive races for Charles without converting his favourite place on the grid into a victory.

That is definitely a bitter pill to swallow for Ferrari fans, especially given the surprise nature in which the team not only took the pole on Saturday but locked out the front row with Carlos Sainz in second.

But despite not taking the chocolates on race day, it is still not all doom and gloom for the Scuderia. There are definitely positive signs to take from the performance and the continuity, which shows the team should easily be in a stronger position next year.

And as of now, it looks very likely the only team to beat Red Bull in 2023 will be Ferrari – something that will very much irk not only the Austrian team, but their other rivals for second in the top constructor in Mercedes, Aston Martin and McLaren.

Ferrari fans are very used to the “there’s always next year” scenario, but if things improve even just a little bit from the consistency that has come in the last few races, it perhaps might finally come true in 2024.

(Photo by Hasan Bratic/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Perez’s ice is nearly completely gone

The thin ice around Sergio Perez is very much nearly gone.

After such a strong start to the year, the Mexican has very much fallen deep into the second-seat Red Bull driver trap that has sadly cursed whoever has sat in it since Daniel Ricciardo left the team at the end of 2018.

It is a shame for Perez, who clearly had the best chance of winning his home race he ever has had in perhaps the greatest F1 car ever built. His mentality of ‘all or nothing’ at the start in order to achieve that very much could have gone the complete opposite way and this would be a very different entry. However it was not, it is not, and we find ourselves constantly talking about his future in the team and the sport in general.

There is no doubting his passion for the sport and his unwavering desire to improve to save his seat. Unfortunately when you are getting out-qualified by the guy who is breathing down your neck in a far weaker car, then that really does not make your passion enough to hold on much longer.

Three races remain to see if he can salvage his seat. It has happened before. For the thousands of fans who turned out to see him over the weekend and hope to see him return next season, let us hope he is able to do so.

Double Aussie delight

For the first time since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix, Australia had two drivers finish in the points at a Formula One Race. On that day, Mark Webber in his final race finished second, with Daniel Ricciardo in only his third F1 season, finishing 10th.

In Mexico, Ricciardo was seventh, one spot ahead of the man who is now managed by Webber, Oscar Piastri.

It was a great moment for Australian F1 fans, some of whom can still remember the dark pre-Webber days when our F1 fandom was fuelled by no Aussie drivers on the grid for nearly a decade.

It was also an incredibly important moment for Ricciardo, who shone all across the weekend. He was fourth in qualifying and then some incredibly strong driving on race day nearly saw him steal sixth from the far superior Mercedes of George Russell at the death. It was a race all Ricciardo fans had been hoping for since his return and one that has definitely put Red Bull (and Sergio Perez) on notice.

Never in F1 history have two Aussie drivers stood on the podium together. If results like this can continue to come and Ricciardo gets that promotion, it may come to fruition very soon.

This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here


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