CAROL’S CORNER: Lewis Hamilton found his ‘balance’ in Mexico

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

By Carol M. Creasey

After a second place podium finish at the United States Grand Prix, which was promptly taken away from Lewis Hamilton when he was disqualified for excessive plank wear, his spirit was undaunted.

He declared that his original result was due to the improvements Mercedes made to the car, and he fully expected this improvement to show itself again in Mexico.However, during practice, Lewis was once again finding the car a handful. Qualifying was very up and down, he briefly topped Q2, but both Mercedes cars ultimately struggled in Q3, and the end result was Lewis in 6th and George in 8th. Leclerc and Sainz locked out the front row, with Verstappen 3rd, and Ricciardo 4th. Perez was 5th, and he really wanted to do well in his home race, as he had so much support from his fans.

At the start, Perez did an amazing launch, passing several cars, but unfortunately misjudged his position by cutting across the apex, hitting Leclerc in the process, and taking himself out. It was a sad situation for his fans, and some started to leave knowing that their home hero was out of the race.Lewis had been in the same row, but managed to avoid the carnage, and was now up to 5th place. He set his sights on Ricciardo, and after a while overtook him. He realised that the pace of his car was fast, and he was so buoyant, he told his team he had “balance”, something Mercedes engineers have been striving to achieve. Toto asked him if he was happy with the car, and he said he was.

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His mission was to overtake the Ferraris to keep the team in the second spot in the Constructors’ Championship. First there was Sainz ahead of him, and thanks to a good strategy and a quick pit stop, he came out ahead of him. He had Hard tyres on the car, but later after a red flag, he pitted again, and this time his team put Medium tyres on. Lewis was unsure whether these tyres would last him to the end, but Bono told him he thought he could do it. Bono was right, Lewis did a very brave overtake on Leclerc, and was soon 7 seconds up the road from him. He continued to expertly manage his tyres until the end of the race, and then on the last lap he posted the fastest time.

Although Verstappen once again won the race, Lewis and his Mercedes team felt that they were getting closer to challenging him. Russell finished in 6th, adding more points to the team’s total. Lewis is now 20 points behind Perez for 2nd place in the Drivers’ Championship.

Next up is Brazil, and Lewis will want to mount a serious challenge on Verstappen there.

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