Max Verstappen says it would’ve been “interesting” to see how his two-stop strategy would have unfolded without the mid-race stoppage in the Mexico Grand Prix.

Starting third, Verstappen executed an excellent launch to slice in between the Ferraris, positioning his car to the inside on the approach to Turn 1 to seize the lead.

Verstappen had extended his advantage over Charles Leclerc to 4.6s when Red Bull pitted him to discard his Medium tyres for a set of the Hard compound at the end of Lap 19.

Having saved two brand-new sets of Hards, the Dutchman reveals that securing first place at the start initially aided his prospects as he was always intending to stop twice.

“I think that start definitely made it a bit easier for me in the first stint as well,” he said. “Also, because I was going to do a two-stop, so that, of course, gave me those extra couple seconds that would look great on the plot anyway, if we would have made it happen.

“So, yeah, just the tyres around here, it’s always very hard to manage, but I think we had quite decent pace in them. And then of course, we opted to box a bit earlier. And yeah, I think also on the Hard tyre, we were quite competitive, and I closed a lot of that pit stop back down.”

Emerging in seventh, Verstappen had scythed through the cars ahead yet to pit, resuming in the lead once Leclerc, who had run a longer stint, finally pitted on Lap 32.

One lap later, however, Kevin Magnussen’s high-speed shunt into the barrier at Turn 9 prompted the Safety Car to intervene before being upgraded to a full red flag stoppage.

“I think it would have been quite interesting to the end, you know, to see how much faster I could have gone a new set of Hard tyres,” he added. “Yeah, I think the strategy was looking great.

“But then, of course, we had the red flag. So basically, everything that we did, we could throw in the bin and start over.”

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium. 29.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Race Day.

Despite remaining on the Hard tyre he had fitted before the suspension, Verstappen nailed the second start of the race to comfortably retain the lead into Turn 1.

“It was all about having a good start and trying to keep the lead into Turn 1, which we did,” he continued. “And after that it was just pace management to the end to keep the tyres alive, looking after the car, the brakes, you know, everything.”

He added: “Well, for me, it was quite clear that we had to do the last stint on that Hard tyre. Luckily, it had only done one lap. So that helped.

“But of course in the start, normally, the Hard tyres is a bit more difficult to get off the line, but we actually had quite a decent start on that tyre as well.”

Although Lewis Hamilton on the Medium compound overhauled Leclerc, Verstappen progressively increased his superiority to take the chequered flag with a 13.8s margin.

The three-time champion’s fifth victory in Mexico City also marked his 16th win of the 2023 season, surpassing the record number that he managed to achieve last season.

“It’s been another incredible season. I mean, the car has been unbelievable to drive in most places,” he exclaimed. “So, you know, when you then, as a team, work really well together and you try not to make too many mistakes over the whole season, then you can achieve something like this.

“So of course, I’m very proud of the achievement, because I think after last year, when I won 15, I was like, ‘well, if I can ever try and replicate something like that, I will be very happy’ and now we are here with 16.

“So yeah, just very happy with everyone’s performance in the team, you know, for the whole year for basically not making a lot of mistakes.”

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