Motorsport 12 months ago

F1: Not the home race Esteban Gutiérrez had hoped for

Haas F1 Team driver Esteban Gutiérrez didn’t have the home race he had hoped for after finishing Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix all the way down in 19thplace.  This result capped a frustrating race weekend for the first-year team, as struggles in practice on Friday led to a disappointing qualifying performance on Saturday with neither driver getting out of Q1.

Gutiérrez started the 71-lap race from 17th in the 22-car field, and madeg some headway at the start, surviving getting sandwiched between the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson and the Manor of Pascal Wehrlein through turn one of the 4.304-kilometer (2.674-mile), 17-turn circuit. Despite contact that sent Wehrlein spinning off track and into Ericsson and then into the barriers, Gutiérrez emerged unscathed in 14th.

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The accident triggered the Virtual Safety Car (VSC), and after a handful of drivers headed to the pits for service, Gutiérrez remained 14th.

Shortly after the race went green on lap four, Gutiérrez battled the McLaren of Jenson Button and the Renault of Kevin Magnussen for 12th. By lap six, the duo had pulled away and Gutiérrez’s mirrors were filled with the charging Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo got by on lap seven to drop Gutiérrez to 15th, a position he held until his first scheduled pit stop at the end of lap 13. Off went the Pirelli P Zero Yellow softs tires Gutiérrez started the race with and on went a new set of White mediums. Sadly he dropped to 19th after his pit stop.

He then made his final pit stop at the end of lap 50, swapping the White mediums for new Yellow softs and his position remained unchanged all the way to the checkered flag.

“It was an incredible experience,” Esteban said. “We were pushing all the way, pushing all the limits we could with the car we had. I had to take care of the brakes as we were struggling with the cooling of them, so I had to brake a lot earlier than I would have liked to."

"This wasn’t ideal when trying to fight your way up the grid, but it’s the only thing we could do to finish the race. I wish we could have been able to deliver something better this weekend but, unfortunately, we were not able to this time. However, it was an amazing weekend – racing in my home country in front of all the Mexican people – and I really want to thank them because they’ve really made it a race to remember.”

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