Verstappen wins Mexican Grand Prix as Hamilton takes title

Max Verstappen took race victory in a dramatic Mexican Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton survived a collision with title rival Sebastian Vettel to score his fourth world championship.

The Red Bull driver boldly passed pole-sitter Vettel into Turn 1 at the start, escaping contact with the Ferrari driver to continue and dominate the race at Mexico City.

But behind him, Vettel had suffered minor front wing damage, and Hamilton got ahead of the Ferrari through Turn 2. Vettel then tagged the right-rear tyre of Hamilton on the exit of Turn 3, further damaging his own wing and giving Hamilton a puncture.

That forced both drivers to limp back to the pits, leaving Verstappen clear to defeat Valtteri Bottas by 19.6 seconds to take his third Formula 1 win.

Though Vettel recovered to fourth position to cut Hamilton’s championship lead to 56 points, there are only 50 remaining in the final two races, meaning Hamilton won the championship despite only battling back to ninth.

While Hamilton struggled to close back up to the pack, Vettel made quick progress through the field, recovering up to seventh before the race was neutralised by the virtual safety car when Brendon Hartley’s retired with an engine problem.

Race leader Verstappen took the opportunity to pit from the lead, with Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, who had climbed up to third following early stops from Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez and Hulkenberg’s retirement with an engine issue.

The trio rejoined in the same positions, with Vettel and Hamilton also pitting for fresh Pirelli and taking ultra-softs and super-softs respectively with a little over half of the race to go.

The championship rivals restarted their recovery drives, with Vettel passing Kevin Magnussen to take seventh, while Hamilton passed Romain Grosjean, Pascal Wehrlein, Pierre Gasly and Marcus Ericsson to run P12.

Vettel lunged down the inside of Perez to take sixth at Turn 4 and made short work of Stroll into Turn 1 to snatch fifth, before setting off in pursuit of Ocon.

The Ferrari driver caught the Force India quickly and used DRS to blast past Ocon into Turn 1 for fourth place, with team-mate Raikkonen a further 24 seconds up the road with 14 laps to go.

When he heard the size of the gap, Vettel replied “Mamma mia, that’s a little bit too much” and he ultimately crossed the line fourth.

Hamilton, who came out on top in a brilliant battle with Fernando Alonso late on to take ninth, joins Vettel and Alain Prost on four world titles, with only Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio ahead on the all-time list with seven and five respectively.

Ocon equalled his best-ever Formula 1 result with fifth, ahead of Stroll, Perez and Magnussen.

Daniel Ricciardo recovered from starting P16 – following grid penalties for engine component changes, to run seventh early on, but his race lasted just five laps as he suffered yet more problems with his Renault engine.

Marcus Ericsson spent the early part of the race just inside the points, but retired in the closing stages after reporting a brake-by-wire failure and retiring the car.

Renault suffered a double retirement, with Carlos Sainz Jr stopping late on after reporting his car was pulling on the straights.

So a fantastic result for Red Bull and Mercedes. Max Verstappen winning his third race of the season while Lewis Hamilton achieved a dream result of four championship titles.

As for Sebastian Vettel. Brave fight back but alas, it was too much. Hopefully Ferrari can strike back with better reliability and no big mistakes next year.

Many congratulations to Lewis Hamilton. Now the most successful British Formula 1 driver with four titles.

Mexican Grand Prix race results, 71 laps:
1    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    71    1h36m26.550s
2    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    71    19.678s
3    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    71    54.007s
4    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    71    1m10.078s
5    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    70    1 Lap
6    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    70    1 Lap
7    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    70    1 Lap
8    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    70    1 Lap
9    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    70    1 Lap
10    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    70    1 Lap
11    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    70    1 Lap
12    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    70    1 Lap
13    Pierre Gasly    Toro Rosso-Renault    70    1 Lap
14    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    69    2 Laps
15    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    69    2 Laps
–    Carlos Sainz    Renault    59    Retirement
–    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    55    Power Unit
–    Brendon Hartley    Toro Rosso-Renault    30    Power Unit
–    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    24    Retirement
–    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    5    Retirement

Drivers’ standings:
1    Lewis Hamilton    333
2    Sebastian Vettel    277
3    Valtteri Bottas    262
4    Daniel Ricciardo    192
5    Kimi Raikkonen    178
6    Max Verstappen    148
7    Sergio Perez    92
8    Esteban Ocon    83
9    Carlos Sainz    54
10    Lance Stroll    40
11    Felipe Massa    36
12    Nico Hulkenberg    34
13    Romain Grosjean    28
14    Kevin Magnussen    19
15    Stoffel Vandoorne    13
16    Fernando Alonso    11
17    Jolyon Palmer    8
18    Pascal Wehrlein    5
19    Daniil Kvyat    5
20    Marcus Ericsson    0
21    Antonio Giovinazzi    0
22    Pierre Gasly    0
23    Brendon Hartley    0

Constructors’ standings:
1    Mercedes    595
2    Ferrari    455
3    Red Bull-Renault    340
4    Force India-Mercedes    175
5    Williams-Mercedes    76
6    Toro Rosso-Renault    53
7    Renault    48
8    Haas-Ferrari    47
9    McLaren-Honda    24
10    Sauber-Ferrari    5

9 thoughts on “Verstappen wins Mexican Grand Prix as Hamilton takes title

  1. Niki Lauda questions Sebastian Vettel’s “aggressive” move on Lewis Hamilton at lap 1. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Mercedes F1 chairman Niki Lauda has questioned Sebastian Vettel’s “aggressive manoeuvre” that led to the German clashing with Lewis Hamilton at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix.

    Pole-sitter Vettel was passed by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen round the outside of the first corner on the opening lap, and was forced wide in the battle – which allowed Hamilton through as well.

    But Vettel clipped Hamilton’s right-rear on the exit of Turn 3, damaging his own front wing and giving the Briton a puncture.

    After both pitted early, Vettel fought through the pack to finish fourth, while Hamilton brought the car home in ninth for his worst finish of the year – which was still enough to make him 2017 champion with two races to spare.

    Asked about the “unusual” way in which Hamilton won the title, Lauda told Sky Sports: “Unusual? When you’re world champion, you’re world champion, it’s very simple. Nobody cares how you do it.

    “What I don’t understand is the aggressive manoeuvre of Vettel in the first corner, which hit Lewis hard. It was not his fault at all.

    “And then his drama started. But in the end it worked out fantastically.”

    Speaking post-race, Hamilton said he believed he had given Vettel enough room for the pair to avoid contact.

    “I had a good start. I don’t really know what happened at Turn 3 – but I gave him plenty of room.”

    Lauda praised Hamilton, who overturned a mid-season deficit to Vettel with a run of five wins in six races before clinching his fourth F1 title in Mexico, for getting the most out of a “difficult” Mercedes W08 this year.

    “Lewis was especially this year able to improve a lot,” said Lauda, himself a three-time world champion.

    “If you want to be a four-time world champion, you have to always get better and better and better. From last year to this year, he got much better.

    “It’s an incredible step forward. It’s a difficult car to drive, not so quick as last year, not so easy, and he really made it because of his own performance.”

  2. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo says the Mexican Grand Prix was “a grim weekend for a few of us” after all three Renault-powered teams suffered failures that put cars out of the race.

    Although his teammate Max Verstappen was able to control the race from the front to score an untroubled victory, Ricciardo charged into the top 10 from his 16th position on the grid, following an engine change and 20-place grid penalty.

    But Ricciardo was forced to retire after just a handful of laps, reporting over the radio an issue with the turbo as he toured into the pits.

    “Obviously the weekend’s turned to crap,” Ricciardo told NBC. “I did what I could at the start – it was pretty close, there was a bit going on – but I made quick progress. I told Helmut [Marko] this morning that I’d get up to seventh by the end of the first lap. I was a couple of laps off I think, but we got close.

    “We put the new unit in, but something went wrong. Not really sure what it was or where that puts us for Brazil.”

    As well as Ricciardo, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was an early retirement from a point-paying position, before Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso caused a Virtual Safety Car when it pulled off the track just before half distance, after reporting he was “losing a lot of power”. The second Renault of Carlos Sainz was also forced out.

    When asked if he thought the issues were related to the altitude or temperatures in Mexico, Ricciardo replied: “Certainly something fundamental going on. We’ve been coming to Mexico the past few years so there shouldn’t be any surprises, I know the altitude and temperatures have been hard to stay on top of this weekend.

    “I don’t know if it’s this year’s spec of engine which is struggling up here – obviously it is, but why we’re not sure. So it’s been a pretty grim weekend for a few of us, it’s a shame to be out early again, so I guess it’s a bit of what Max experienced early in the year, yeah, it’s not so fun.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  3. Race winner Max Verstappen admitted that the Renault failures had him “worried”. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Mexican Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen says he was worried about finishing the race when he saw other Renault-powered cars retiring while he was leading comfortably.

    The Red Bull driver took a commanding win after grabbing the lead from Sebastian Vettel at the start, before the German collided with Lewis Hamilton, dropping both title rivals out of victory contention.

    Verstappen then pulled away from the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas to win, but retirements for four of the six Renault-powered cars made for a nervy race as Red Bull turned the engine down and asked the Dutchman to back off to protect his car.

    “I could see a lot of cars blowing up and retiring so I was definitely a bit worried,” said Verstappen, who claimed the third F1 win of his career.

    “We looked after our engine and everything seemed to work pretty well. I saw on the TV screen [teammate Daniel Ricciardo] had retired and I saw a Toro Rosso on fire.

    “I thought ‘oh God, don’t make this happen to me’ – we turned the engine down. I have a new engine so maybe that helped, but Daniel had a new one too.

    “I had my bad luck at the beginning of the year so I am very happy that this time nothing happened to me.”

    Verstappen said he was keen to bounce back from the disappointment and controversy of his United States Grand Prix penalty a week ago, and he praised the performance of his Red Bull RB13.

    “I knew the car was good but I didn’t know it was going to be this good,” he said, adding that he felt a “light brush” with Vettel at the start.

    “After last week I was fired up and motivated to do well, and after yesterday I was giving it everything.

    “I missed out on pole but I was determined to win this race, I gave it my all at the start and Turn 1.

    “I had a great slipstream and was able to get alongside [Vettel] on the outside, we had a little touch, but from then onwards I could do my own race.”

  4. Mexican Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    A tense afternoon in Mexico saw Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton secure a fourth drivers’ title and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a crushing third Grand Prix victory. Hamilton and championship rival Sebastian Vettel came together at the start, dropping both men to the back, and though the Ferrari driver recovered to fourth, the Briton’s ninth was enough to wrap things up with two rounds to go.

    Joining the fast-starting Verstappen on the podium were Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Behind Vettel, Esteban Ocon was fifth, split from Force India team mate by Williams’ Lance Stroll. Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, Hamilton and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso completed the top ten.

    It was drama from the off as Vettel, on pole, Verstappen and Hamilton headed three abreast towards Turn 1, before the Red Bull thrust ahead into 2, despite the left of the Ferrari’s front wing brushing his right-rear tyre.

    As they squabbled, Hamilton spotted his chance to go around the outside of Vettel, but he too saw his right-rear make contact with Vettel’s front wing – with far more serious consequences. As the championship leader limped back to the pits with a puncture, his only title rival also pitted for a new nose.

    With Verstappen rapidly pulling away from Bottas up front, Vettel rejoined in 19th and Hamilton 20th, setting up a tense afternoon in terms of the title’s destiny. But while Vettel was able to steadily claw his way back up the order, Hamilton struggled to extract as much pace from his Mercedes and by Lap 22 found himself lapped by the leader.

    In the end it was academic. Vettel’s heroics provided superb entertainment for the viewing fans, but he knew only second would be enough to have any hope of denying Hamilton his crown – and it wasn’t to be.

    Hence Hamilton joins Vettel as a four-time world champion, with Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost the only other drivers to have achieved the feat.

    In the meantime, Verstappen’s stunning drive – he was almost 20 seconds clear of Bottas at the chequered flag – yet again surely marked him out as a champion of the future. Despite several of his fellow Renault-powered rivals falling by the wayside with technical issues, the Dutchman refused to slow down, setting fastest lap after fastest lap and never looking like being challenged.

    Team mate Daniel Ricciardo was the first to retire on lap six, followed subsequently by both Renaults, Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.

  5. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton feels he won the 2017 title in “a horrible way”. Motorsport.com has the full details.

    Newly-crowned Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says clinching his fourth title with a ninth-place finish in the Mexican Grand Prix was a “horrible way to do it”.

    The Mercedes driver made contact with Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel at the start of the race and got a puncture that relegated him to the back of the field.

    Unable to make much progress, Hamilton went on to finish a lap down on race winner Max Verstappen and five places behind Vettel.

    That was enough to seal his fourth crown, however, as the German driver needed to finish at least second to have a chance of delaying Hamilton’s title.

    The Briton reckoned he was not at fault for the clash with Vettel.

    “It was a horrible way to do it, to be honest,” Hamilton said. “But what can I do? I told you I wasn’t going to go easy at Turn 1. And I don’t think I was too aggressive or anything like that, I placed my car in the perfect position.

    “I’m looking forward to seeing the replay, but I left a lot of space for the car behind. So, you know, still I rise, that’s all I’m going to say.

    “I kept going, I kept going back, and… I think really I want to say a big thank you to all the guys back at Brixworth and Brackley. Guys, thank you so much for all your hard work.

    “Winning the constructors’ championship was already a huge feat, and helping me achieve this incredible accomplishment, I’m so grateful.”

    Hamilton admitted the nature of the circuit made it extra hard for him to try to recover after having dropped to the back.

    “I had no idea what was going to happen with the championship, to be honest, I was just thinking about getting further up and getting involved in the race,” he added.

    “And this is such a difficult track, if not the worst track, to follow. So trying to get past people was a disaster. But yeah, to be honest the feelings are so mixed right now.”

    Despite Hamilton clinching the title and teammate Valtteri Bottas finishing second, team boss Toto Wolff said he had “hated” the race and admitted the team was “rattled” after Hamilton’s incident.

    “I hated every bit of that race,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1. “It was really bad, and too long, and everything. I think we were rattled after the beginning, after the crash.

    “I think Lewis… in the car you don’t know what’s happening. Is Sebastian still in the race? Can he score points?”

    Wolff insists Mercedes never relaxed during the race, despite Vettel’s chances of finishing second looking extremely slim after he too had to pit on the opening lap to replace his front wing.

    “I think after a while we explained the situation to him [Hamilton] once it settled, and then we were all focussed on trying to make the best out of it.”

    “It’s like you have this massive gap in points and people say ‘it’s done’. But it’s not. It’s motor racing. Then you have this incident and Sebastian could have won, we could have DNFed, and then what’s next?”

    When asked what he had told Hamilton after the race, Wolff said: “I saw him in the back; I rarely hug half-naked, sweaty men, but it was still a good feeling. Ultimate happiness.”

  6. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel says Lewis Hamilton was “the better man and did the better job” to win the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Sebastian Vettel admits rival Lewis Hamilton was “the better man” in their battle for the Formula 1 World Championship, as the Briton levelled him on titles won in the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.

    Hamilton equalled Vettel’s tally of four world titles on a day when they collided in an opening lap clash that delayed both.

    Vettel needed to finish second in Mexico to keep the championship race open, but could only manage fourth, while Hamilton recovered to ninth.

    Speaking to NBC after the race, Vettel said: “I’m down, obviously. It’s tough to cross the line and realise that you’re not in the fight anymore. That sums it up.

    “The rest isn’t that important, whatever happened today, the most important thing is it’s Lewis’s day – he was crowned world champion and he deserves that.

    “Overall he was the better man and did the better job, simple as that.”

    On the subject of Hamilton drawing level on four titles, he said: “I would have loved to go up on him, but it’s his day, it’s his year and he deserves that.

    “For us, obviously we’re left with whatever is left. Right now, it’s disappointing. Next year will be a different story, as we all start again, but right now, in these moments, you need to give credit to the best man and that is him this year.”

    When asked by Sky Sports to rate Hamilton as a competitor, Vettel replied: “I don’t fear him. I like racing with him, obviously I would have liked a little bit more of that this year. But overall, you know, they were just the better bunch.”

  7. Lewis Hamilton admitted he was struggling to take in the enormity of his achievement after sealing his fourth world championship crown with a battling drive in Mexico.

    Having started third, the Mercedes driver was quickly relegated to dead last after a tangle with title rival Sebastian Vettel at Turn 3 led to him nursing a puncture. He eventually fought his way through to finish ninth at the chequered flag, which with Vettel finishing only fourth proved enough to clinch the title.

    “Honestly it doesn’t feel real,” said Hamilton. “It was a horrible way to [clinch the title] to be honest, but what could I do?

    “I wasn’t going to go easy at Turn 1 and I don’t think I was too aggressive or anything – I placed my car in the perfect position. I’m looking forward to seeing the replay because I left a lot of space for the car behind. But I kept going, kept coming back.

    “Today was unusual – being 40s behind was horrible, it was like being in no man’s land. You just have to think forwards to the future. I had no idea what was happening with the championship to be honest – I was just thinking about getting further up and getting involved in the race. This is the worst track to follow, so trying to get past people was a disaster.

    “I just want to say a big thank you to the guys back at [the Mercedes factories in] Brixworth and Brackley.

    “Winning the constructors’ championships was already a huge feat, and helping me achieve this incredible accomplishment, I’m so grateful.”

    Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff admitted that Hamilton’s early drama had initially left the team in a state of shock.

    “I think we were rattled after the beginning, after the crash,” he explained. “For Lewis, in the car, you don’t know what’s happening – ‘is Sebastian still in the race? Can he score points?’

    “I think after a while we explained the situation to him and then we were all focused and trying to make the best for him. You have a massive gap in points and people say it’s done, but it’s not – it’s motor racing. You have this incident and Sebastian could have won, we could have DNF’d and then what’s next?

    “[The damage to Hamilton’s diffuser] cost quite some performance. It’s also an explanation why we struggled to make it through the traffic. We saw on the data that the car wasn’t in great shape. We were overheating on the brakes – like everyone else I guess – but it was just about making it to the end.”

    With his fourth world title, Hamilton becomes the most successful British driver in history in terms of championship success. He also joins an elite group of five drivers – including Juan Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel – to have won four or more titles.

    “I try to not leave any stone unturned – and that’s the philosophy the whole team have had,” Hamilton said. “As a driver I’m always trying to raise the bar.

    “Just the other day I was reminiscing about growing up in Stevenage, and watching TV and one day dreaming of being in F1. Here we are, 25 years later or whatever it is and I’m four-time world champion.

    “A big, big thank you to all the fans. Thank you for your continuous support.”

    Source: Formula1.com

  8. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen commented that this Mexican win was ‘one of my easiest races’. Formula1.com has the news story.

    Mexico winner Max Verstappen has admitted that once the first-lap dramas were over, Sunday’s race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was among the most straightforward of the Red Bull driver’s F1 career.

    Starting second on the grid, Verstappen seized the lead at the start despite minor contact with polesitter Sebastian Vettel through the opening turns, and from there he never looked back, dominating the Grand Prix to take victory by almost 20 seconds.

    “Of course the start was very crucial,” said the Dutchman after his third F1 triumph. “I went round the outside, so that worked out well and from there on I was basically looking after the tyres.

    “The car performed brilliantly in the race, so a big thanks to Red Bull as without them this wouldn’t be possible. Of course you know after last week this is a perfect race. It was cruising, it was great.”

    Verstappen conceded that his cause was not harmed by both Vettel and Lewis Hamilton being forced to pit after their own contact in that initial tussle for the lead, but his subsequent pace was such that he never looked like being beaten.

    “That was good to see for me,” he said of the Vettel-Hamilton clash, “and from there on I just pulled away and did my race.

    “I was confident that the car was going to be good, just looking at the long-run pace lap times. We just had to make sure the balance of the car was correct to be able to sustain that.

    “The start itself was not great as I was very high in the limiter which is not great and I don’t know why but it worked out perfect as I had a good tow from Sebastian and then went round the outside at Turn 1.

    “From there on I was just doing my own race to be honest. This was one of my easiest races of my whole career.”

    So easy in fact that Verstappen suggested he was looking for other ways to entertain himself in the latter stages of the race.

    “I was so far in front I was like let’s cut the corner so we get a five-second penalty and make it interesting,” he joked. “But no, it was a good race. I’m very happy about that and after last week this is a good result.”

    Verstappen’s win, his second of the season, means he closes to within 30 points of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen – who finished third – in the battle for fifth place in the drivers’ championship, on 148 to the Finn’s 178.

  9. Fernando Alonso believes newly-crowned Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton had it “too easy” on his way to the title in 2017.

    Hamilton had been embroiled in a close fight at the top of the standings with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for much of the year – but as Vettel’s championship challenge unravelled in the end, the Briton romped to his fourth world title, sealing it at the Mexican Grand Prix with two races to spare.

    Alonso feels that Hamilton did not have a particularly hard time en route to becoming champion this year, suggesting that the absence of former teammate Nico Rosberg – who retired after beating Hamilton to the crown in 2016 – left him with a clear run a the championship.

    “It was very easy this year, no opponents,” Alonso said. “Last year he had Nico until the last race, fighting every single race.”

    The Spaniard – who reckoned after qualifying that McLaren had the best chassis of the F1 grid in Mexico – said he hopes the Woking-based team’s impeding switch from Honda to the more-powerful Renault engines will give Hamilton a challenge in 2018.

    “This year was too easy,” the Spaniard reiterated. “Mercedes four races to the end constructors’ champion, Hamilton three races before the end drivers’ champion.

    “Hopefully McLaren-Renault will change this easy time for them.”

    Having started the Mexico race from 18th due to engine penalties, Alonso fought his way through the pack to finish 10th, scoring a solitary point to bring his 2017 tally to 11.

    “I think it was good – overall we start last, we finish in the points, which is a good target for us,” he said. “I think we had the speed all weekend, the car kept feeling very nice, very good handling, and good balance throughout the race.

    “I think we lack a little bit of straightline speed to attack or defend, so we [were] stuck behind the Sauber [of Marcus Ericsson] for half the race and then we could not pass [Kevin] Magnussen. And we are very vulnerable when we are in front of people.”

    With Hamilton forced to fight his way through the pack after an early-race puncture, Alonso got to battle the Mercedes man for ninth place in the closing stages of the race.

    He managed to keep the Briton behind for several laps, but eventually had to yield.

    “At the end with Hamilton, as soon as you start battling, you lack a bit of straightline speed,” Alonso said. “We tried to brake a little bit later every time, tried to defend the position but it was not possible.”

    Asked whether the late-race battle was a way of reminding Hamilton about himself, Alonso said: “I think he knows, he knows. He knows also how strong the McLaren car [is] in the corners, he saw also today.

    “I think next year hopefully we can give a little bit harder time to him.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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