¡Hola amigos! Bienvenidos a la F1esta.
It’s my turn to take the Top Dog reins this week and it sure was a difficult one to pick. Firstly I must congratulate Lewi5 Hamilton on securing his fifth world championship, what an amazing achievement.
There are plenty of options in the Top Dog basket this week to choose from, obviously Hamilton’s name is in there, but could it be Sebastian Vettel – the guy who was faced with a near impossible task yet never gave up… or maybe even Pierre Gasly, who managed to make up 10 places after starting from the back?
Well it’s actually a driver who is no stranger to being Top Dog, there’s only one person who could be awarded the #MAXico GP crown…
Yes, you’ve guessed it right, this week’s Top Dog is…
In every practice session Max was in a class of his own, repeatedly claiming his place at the top of the time sheets. The Mercedes and Ferrari drivers just couldn’t get close to him. However Max did find himself slip off the top for one vital moment, when his team mate delivered in the dying seconds of qualifying. A very disgruntled Verstappen was pretty much rendered speechless and perhaps this is what helped inspire him on track during the race.
Verstappen got off to a cracking start as he took the lead in the long run down to the first corner. Even with Lewis Hamilton breathing down his neck he managed to take the inside line to ensure he had the lead. That start almost guaranteed Verstappen the top spot on the podium, he just had to manage his tyres and bring the car home safe.
Mexico city has been celebrating Día de Muertos this month and we saw examples of spirits out haunting the track throughout the race with a number of DNFs, most significantly the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. This was obviously worrying because it was the last thing Verstappen needed when he had the top step in his sights. We heard a very cool and collected driver on the radio asking if there was anything he needed to do to prevent the same fate. I guess the drinks in Austin the week before must have contained a dose of maturity in them because this is surely not the same Verstappen we know from earlier this season?!
The celebrations for Verstappen seemed to be slightly overshadowed after the race with all the cameras focused on Hamilton. But you could tell there was a spring in this puppy’s step and he was ecstatic to add another Mexican win to his CV. Thanks Max for providing us with another classic race!
When I’m on top dog duty I like to award a second prize to a deputy dog, a driver who has given their all and deserves a little recognition. Congratulations Stoffel Vandoorne, you’ve got your paws on this week’s special medal.
It’s been a long and difficult run of non-point finishes for poor Vandoorne, but this run finally came to an end with a respectable P8.
Okay, so he may have been helped by a number of drivers who you’d expect to see in the top 10 suffering from DNFs, including Vandoorne’s team mate Fernando Alonso, but it was great to see him back up there in the points with a massive smile on his face.
With just two races left and the championship title done and dusted it may seem like there’s very little to play for now, but there’s still opportunities for drivers to get their names etched on the Top Dog trophy (so this may only be a hypothetical trophy but you get the idea).
Will we see a repeat winner or will someone in the F1.5 league claim it?
It’s just under two weeks to go until lights out at Interlagos, make sure you tune in and catch all the Badger features right here and on the usual channels.
All images via Pirelli F1 Media, used with permission