Mexico City returned to host its first F1 race in two years and produced another key moment in the 2021 title race. 

Aside from a dramatic start the race passed without too much excitement but that didn’t stop the raucous crowd from creating and sustaining a party-like atmosphere for the entirety of the event. 

Here are our winners and losers from the 18th round of the 2021 F1 season…

Winners 

Max Verstappen

A dominant and flawless victory from Max Verstappen puts him in a commanding position in the title race, strengthening his chances of a first world championship. 

Verstappen immediately swung the race in Red Bull’s favour with a storming start as he brilliantly swept past both Mercedes drivers and snatched the lead at Turn 1. 

From there, Verstappen was untouchable. He pulled clear from Hamilton with ease and cruised to his ninth victory of the season to move one step closer to his goal of winning a maiden world title. 

The win gives him a 19-point lead over Hamilton with 107 points still left up for grabs, putting him firmly in the driving seat heading to Brazil. 

A one-three finish for Red Bull boosted its own prospects in the constructors’ championship as it closed to just one point behind Mercedes. 

Pierre Gasly 

Another fine performance from Pierre Gasly, who converted his excellent P5 starting position into a convincing fourth in Mexico City. 

Gasly stayed out of trouble at the start to emerge in fourth behind the two Red Bulls and Hamilton’s Mercedes. 

The Frenchman executed his race to perfection and was rewarded with a ‘best of the rest’ finish and the best result he could have hoped for given that a podium was never on the cards. 

Gasly’s 12-point haul has significantly boosted AlphaTauri’s championship hopes, drawing the Faenza squad level with Alpine in the fight for P5. 

It was a lonely grand prix for Gasly, who crossed the line over a minute behind Verstappen, though he impressively finished well clear of the Ferraris. 

Ferrari 

It was mission accomplished for Ferrari in Mexico as the Scuderia comes away from the race holding third place in the constructors’ championship, having enjoyed a major points swing to leapfrog McLaren. 

Ferrari maximised its result as Charles Leclerc led home teammate Carlos Sainz in a strong fourth and fifth place finish as McLaren suffered a nightmare race. 

Not only has the race given a resurgent Ferrari the upper hand in the battle for P3, but the team can also be pleased with the teamwork of its drivers, who followed instructions to exchange positions. 

Despite appearing initially hesitant, Leclerc let Sainz past to have a go at Gasly, before the Spaniard returned the favour in the closing stages to restore the rightful order with the AlphaTauri driver ultimately proving out of reach. 

Sebastian Vettel 

A great end to a strong showing all weekend from Sebastian Vettel, who came away from Mexico with a handy haul of points for Aston Martin in seventh place. 

Vettel was a benefactor of the first corner carnage as Daniel Ricciardo’s faster McLaren dropped to the back, but that doesn’t take away from what was a well managed drive from the four-time world champion. 

The German has now secured back-to-back points finishes - adding to his teammate Lance Stroll’s score in Turkey - as Aston Martin looks to end the season on a positive note. 

Kimi Raikkonen 

F1 veteran Kimi Raikkonen recorded his fourth points finish of the season with a strong drive at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to nab some rare points for Alfa Romeo. 

Raikkonen lost out to teammate Antonio Giovinazzi at the start but a longer opening stint enabled him to get back ahead of the Italian and snatch a top 10 finish. 

The Finn never looked under threat from fellow world champion Fernando Alonso as he claimed his joint-best result of 2021, matching his efforts from Russia. 

Losers 

Lewis Hamilton and his title prospects 

For the third race on the trot, Hamilton lost important ground to Verstappen in the title race. 

Now 19 points adrift after his second straight defeat to the Dutchman, it is increasingly beginning to look like it will be Verstappen’s year. 

Hamilton conceded he had no answer to Red Bull’s “far superior” pace in the race as he lagged home over 16s behind Verstappen and only just pipped Perez to salvage second. 

Damage limitation it may have been, but Hamilton is in desperate need of something changing in his favour - and fast - if he is going to successfully retain his crown and seal a record-breaking eighth world title. 

Valtteri Bottas 

You have to feel sorry for Valtteri Bottas. Following a stunning pole on Saturday with one of the best laps of his F1 career, everything went wrong on Sunday. 

Through no fault of his own, his race was ruined within seconds when he was tagged into a spin by Ricciardo’s McLaren. 

Having dropped to the back of the field, it proved to be a frustrating and long afternoon for the Finn. With points out of the window, a couple of late pitstops turned the end of his race into a mission to deny Verstappen the fastest lap, which he eventually did. 

Bottas came under flak from Mercedes teammate Hamilton and team boss Toto Wolff for being overly cautious at the start and not doing more to prevent Verstappen from flying into the lead. 

McLaren

It was a race to forget for McLaren, with the Woking outfit finally losing its long-held grip on third place in the constructors’ championship. 

Ricciardo’s first-corner tangle with Bottas left him tumbling down the order and out of points contention, while Lando Norris already faced an uphill task starting from the back due to an engine penalty. 

Norris battled well to bag the final point on offer in 10th, but it was a poor result all things considered for McLaren, especially with Ferrari capitalising to jump into P3. 

Ferrari is now 13.5 points clear of McLaren with four races to go, and based on recent form, it is hard to see the latter being able to regain third. 

Alpine 

Alonso’s two-point haul was enough to ensure Alpine stayed fifth in the constructors’ championship for the time being, but the Anglo-French squad is on the cusp of being overhauled by AlphaTauri. 

Gasly’s excellent fourth place has seen AlphaTauri move level on points with Alpine, and given they have often had the quicker car, it seems only a matter of time before P5 will belong to Red Bull’s sister team. 

Points for Ocon were always going to be a tough ask given he started from the back, but Alonso will be disappointed he couldn’t catch Raikkonen in his slower Alfa Romeo. 

Antonio Giovinazzi 

It was a frustrating grand prix for Antonio Giovinazzi, who missed the chance to score points for just the second time this season despite finding himself running in a promising position early on. 

The Italian initially got the better of teammate Raikkonen and jumped up to an impressive sixth, but his race fell apart due to Alfa Romeo’s decision to pit him early. 

It backfired and left Giovinazzi, who appears on his way out of F1, losing valuable time in traffic.

Giovinazzi vented his frustration at his team over the radio after the race, saying in a sarcastic tone: “Hey guys, thanks for the great strategy.”