Despite not finishing on the podium, Lewis Hamilton took his fifth Formula 1 World Championship title on Sunday making him level with Juan Manuel Fangio on the list of all-time, most successful, winners.
The Mexican Grand Prix started with Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull on Pole. He was soon overcome by teammate Verstappen and Hamilton. Hamilton raced away from 3rd on the Grid to go wheel to wheel with Verstappen into the first corner, with Verstappen leading the race into turn 1. Chaos ensued at the back and McLaren driver Fernando Alonso was forced to retire after a piece of Esteban Ocon’s front wing landed in his radiator, causing his car to overheat.
Hamilton managed to hold onto 2nd, despite being under pressure from Daniel Ricciardo, until pitting on lap 11.
In lap 39 Vettel took advantage of a careful Hamilton and overtook him taking the battle for 2nd.
Lap 47 saw Hamilton defending his position against Daniel Ricciardo causing him to lock up and run wide over the grass. Both Mercedes cars struggled to keep their tyres alive, throughout the race, as Hamilton was heard on team radio complaining about the tyres and his teammate Bottas experiencing a similar lock-up situation as he was battling Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
With 10 laps to go smoke had begun to emerge from Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull causing him to retire for the 8th time this season. A disappointing race, again, for the Australian driver. His teammate max Verstappen remained strong throughout the race and was untouchable for the squabbling drivers behind him as he took his 2nd victory of the year, 5th race win of his F1 career. Sebastien Vettel secured 2nd place with fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen taking the final place on the podium.
Hamilton obtained his 5th world championship title by bringing the car home in fourth. It was a shame not to have a podium place but that didn’t halt the celebrations. Hamilton managed a series of celebratory doughnut spins and was praised on team radio by actor Will Smith saying, “That’s how you do it baby, just like that”. Sebastien Vettel also took the time to congratulate his rival with a friendly embrace after the race.
It was a tense race for Hamilton and fans were on the edge of their seats until he had passed that chequered flag. Hamilton has now become the joint second, most successful, driver in F1 history. Equalling or surpassing Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 world championships now seems within reach for the 33-year-old Brit.