Dutchman Max Verstappen won today’s Mexican GP, but unfortunately for him he got very little love as Sebastian Vettel failed to finish 1st or 2nd and as a result Lewis Hamilton could not be beaten in the world championship, so he celebrated his championship win in the stadium. Then he took off on a run which saw him run around the final two corners and back to his garage with the Union Jack around his neck.God knows how a good number of spectators made it onto the track but they pursued the man on foot with their iPhones.
After the obligatory press conferences shortly after the podium presentation, Mercedes held a celebration photo opportunity in front of their garage. There was a massive number of cameras all held by men keen to capture the moment. I was right in the middle of the craziness and it was hectic. Clive Mason from Getty Images walked away from it with a cut to the bridge of his nose but I thoroughly enjoyed be part of the mayhem, I couldn’t stop thinking how lucky I was to be so close to the champ and part of a great moment in motor racing history.
Harking back to the start of the day though, I snapped some drivers arriving and got this great look from Lance Stroll. Out in the Fanzone I found drivers with abnormally large heads.I can confirm that Mexico wins the “largest number of grid girls” prize thus far this season. They were immaculately turned out too in backless outfits. The drivers’ parade saw the boys (well most of them) wearing sombreros, with their names on them. Daniel Ricciardo flashed a smile for me,and Valtteri Bottas was keen to show his off to the media.Then several hundred people took part in the Day of the Dead parade which was to say the least, colourful! For the start of the 18th race of the 20-race season, I made the long journey, via foot and golf cart, to the inside of turn 2 and there was action as the field negotiated the right angle corner on the first lap. Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel had run wide but Max ended up being able to get around the 2nd corner in front of Vettel and would go on to win. A few laps on, Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean came together on the same corner and in the pic below you can see carbon fibre bits flying about.This chunk sat where it fell for the remainder of the race. Now, on lap 19 I witnessed something I’ve never seen prior and it was indeed moving! Almost everyone in the stands around the track, raised one arm with a clenched fist. There was no audio cue, it just happened. Why?
It was a mark of respect for those who died in the Mexican earthquakes earlier this year. I had been advised to be on the lookout for it during lap 19 and when I glanced up at the large screen and saw 19/71 I was overwhelmed to see everyone raising a fist in total silence. Lap 19 was chosen because the second earthquake to hit was on September 19.
The fist symbol has been adopted because it was a sign used by earthquake rescue crews to signal the need for silence as they tried to find survivors. The pic below is something special to me, both visually stunning and poignant.
I moved to turn 6 and on the way captured this shot of Verstappen overtaking Sainz while doing about 250km/hr. On about lap 28 I was seated on the ground shooting low through an opening and when I went to get up, I was surprised to find an F1 video cameraman right behind me shooting me shooting the cars above. I asked him if he’d gotten what he wanted and he said no and could I stay there. I agreed and after the race while editing in the media centre, I glanced up at the right time to see me on screen in a slow motion shot I think for about 7 seconds. I can’t wait to get home and watch my recording of the race to see if the Canity.com (one of my companies) logos are visible.
While at this part of the track I took this pic after my lovely wife texted me to tell me where she was sitting. She’d made some local friends in the stand and stayed the whole race. Can you find her?After a long walk back to the media centre and up to the top level of the stadium I shot the last two laps, parc ferme and podium celebrations from here. Straight after the drivers had finished spraying champagne, the staged rotated to reveal a DJ belting out some thumping dance tracks for the crowd who’d now moved on to the track although I couldn’t help but think the flames were a little too close to the Paddock Club guests. You can see some of them racing to get away from the heat.I came to Mexico a little wary as I’d been told that theft and crime were rampant. I’m thankful to say that I saw none of that but did meet some of the most charming and welcoming people. The event is a cracker, that’s a given but it is the people that make this race special and I take my hat off to all of them.
Look out for my Best-Off pics tomorrow and we’ll correspond from Sao Paulo in 11 days. Adios F1 amigos.