Max Verstappen said it was “crucial” he overtook the Mercedes cars at the start of Sunday’s Mexico City GP as he reflected on a victory that edged him further away from Lewis Hamilton in the duel for F1’s world title.
In a start-line move that Sky Sports F1’s Jenson Button said could prove to be “defining” in the final weeks of this year’s championship, Verstappen went three-abreast with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton on the long slipstream-friendly run to the circuit’s first corner – and brilliantly emerged ahead.
Verstappen went on to win at a canter ahead of Hamilton and told Sky F1: “It was crucial to get that start sorted and get them into Turn One.
“I never thought about it too much. I just said to myself ‘let’s see what happens’.
“Once we went three wide I knew on the outside exactly where I wanted to brake. I also knew if the guys tried to copy where I was braking they were not going to make the corner.”
Button, the 2009 world champion, was impressed with the move – and believes it could prove to be significant in the season’s final outcome over the next month.
“It was a brave, brave move around the outside of the Mercedes’,” said Button.
“He knew where to brake, he’d been braking there all through the weekend, and it was a lot easier on the racing line.
“But he had the confidence to turn in and know they were not going to tap him on the rear. It was a great move and it could be a defining moment in this championship.”
More to follow…