Verstappen wins at Mexico as Hamilton is crowned five-time champion

Lewis Hamilton achieved his fifth Formula 1 championship despite finishing out of a podium result in the Mexican Grand Prix, which was won by Max Verstappen.

Poleman Daniel Ricciardo was swamped by team-mate Verstappen and Hamilton on the opening lap and Verstappen went side-by-side with Hamilton to take the race lead.

Verstappen eased clear to a dominant victory ahead of the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen as Hamilton slipped down to fourth at the finish, but that was enough to clinch the championship with two races left.

Hamilton went into the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez knowing he only needed to finish seventh to secure the title and did not need to finish at all if Vettel failed to win.

Vettel started fourth and briefly dropped to fifth at the start as Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas mugged him into Turn 1, but the Ferrari driver fought back aggressively at Turns 4 and 5 to reclaim fourth position.

Hamilton tried to keep pace with Verstappen over the opening stint but gradually slipped back and came under pressure from Ricciardo, but held onto second until pitting on lap 11 of 71.

Ricciardo stopped on the next lap while Verstappen went one further, and the undercut gave Hamilton a brief reprieve from Ricciardo but not enough to come close to challenging Verstappen.

With the Dutchman looking untouchable out front, Hamilton started to be caught again by Ricciardo and Vettel after the long-running Ferraris finally stopped.

Hamilton edged clear again as the front runners negotiated the backmarkers, and a virtual safety car for Carlos Sainz Jr’s broken down Renault – which had been comfortably in the points but suffered a complete shutdown – put a temporary hold on the Ricciardo and Vettel scrap behind.

It re-engaged after a couple of laps and more heavy traffic allowed Vettel to size up his former team-mate before, on lap 34, throwing a superb move inside Ricciardo under braking for the first corner.

Vettel was four seconds behind Hamilton at this stage but made rapid inroads as Mercedes struggled to keep its tyres alive.

Five laps after he cleared Ricciardo, Vettel passed Hamilton at the same place when Hamilton attempted to defend, locked up and skated across the grass.

Mercedes brought Hamilton into the pits on the same lap, with Bottas following suit having lost sixth to Raikkonen in an identical lock-up/off-track incident at Turn 1 moments after Hamilton’s.

With the lead Mercedes out of the picture the race boiled down to a Red Bull vs Vettel fight, with Ferrari going aggressive by pitting Vettel for a fresh set of ultrasofts.

That brought him within ten seconds of Verstappen once Red Bull brought him in for fresh supersofts, but Ricciardo stayed out and kept track position ahead of Vettel.

That stunted Vettel’s bid to catch Verstappen and as Ricciardo’s pace held up in the closing stages Vettel looked unable to get close enough to launch an attack.

However, with ten laps ago smoke emerged from the rear of the Renault-powered Red Bull and Ricciardo went straight on at Turn 1, stopped and suffered his eighth retirement of the season.

Verstappen asked Red Bull if he needed to be worried or conserve the engine but he had a trouble-free run to the finish to record his second victory of the season.

Vettel and Raikkonen completed the podium as Hamilton struggled to fourth, frustrated with Mercedes’ lack of pace compared to its rivals.

Hamilton’s mood lifted swiftly, though, as he celebrated a fifth title that moves him level with Juan Manuel Fangio on the list of all-time championship successes.

Bottas completed the top five – a lap down – having stopped for a third time, setting the fastest lap of the race on hypersofts at the end.

Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth for the second race in a row as Renault secured best-of-the-rest honours behind the leading three teams.

Hulkenberg executed a one-stop strategy well to keep comfortably clear of Sauber’s Charles Leclerc in seventh.

Stoffel Vandoorne produced an unexpected boost at the end of a difficult season by rising to eighth in his McLaren, ending a run of 14 races without points that stretches back to Azerbaijan.

Marcus Ericsson made it a double-points finish for Sauber in ninth to vault the Swiss team above Toro Rosso into eighth in the constructors’ championship, despite Pierre Gasly rising from the back to score a solitary point.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in achieving this brilliant result with title number five. He becomes the most successful British driver in Formula 1 and equals the achievement of Juan Manuel Fangio.

As for Sebastian Vettel, this was a challenging season and the mistakes was very costly in terms of points. Hopefully next year he can cut out these errors and go for title glory for Ferrari.

Mexican Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 71 1h38m28.851s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 71 17.316s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 71 49.914s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 1m18.738s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 70 1 Lap
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 69 2 Laps
7 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 69 2 Laps
8 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 69 2 Laps
9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 69 2 Laps
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 69 2 Laps
11 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 69 2 Laps
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 69 2 Laps
13 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 69 2 Laps
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 69 2 Laps
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 69 2 Laps
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 68 3 Laps
– Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 61 Retirement
– Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 38 Retirement
– Carlos Sainz Renault 28 Retirement
– Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 3 Retirement

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 358
2 Sebastian Vettel 294
3 Kimi Raikkonen 236
4 Valtteri Bottas 227
5 Max Verstappen 216
6 Daniel Ricciardo 146
7 Nico Hulkenberg 69
8 Sergio Perez 57
9 Kevin Magnussen 53
10 Fernando Alonso 50
11 Esteban Ocon 49
12 Carlos Sainz 45
13 Romain Grosjean 31
14 Pierre Gasly 29
15 Charles Leclerc 27
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 12
17 Marcus Ericsson 9
18 Lance Stroll 6
19 Brendon Hartley 4
20 Sergey Sirotkin 1

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 585
2 Ferrari 530
3 Red Bull-Renault 362
4 Renault 114
5 Haas-Ferrari 84
6 McLaren-Renault 62
7 Force India-Mercedes 47
8 Sauber-Ferrari 36
9 Toro Rosso-Honda 33
10 Williams-Mercedes 7

6 thoughts to “Verstappen wins at Mexico as Hamilton is crowned five-time champion”

  1. Mexican Grand Prix race review as reported by

    The champagne and the big trophy in Mexico City went to Max Verstappen, the Dutchman driving an exemplary race to repeat his 2017 victory at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. But while it was a fifth race win for Verstappen, it was a fifth title win for Lewis Hamilton, the British driver’s fourth place enough to see him crowned champion with two races to go, becoming only the third ever driver, behind Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher, to claim five world championships.

    Verstappen’s win was arguably the most polished of his career so far. He was incisive off the line to pip his pole-sitting team mate Daniel Ricciardo before enjoying a mostly lonely race out at the front of the field.

    Sebastian Vettel knew that his chances of staying in the title hunt were minimal coming into the race. But despite putting in a fine performance – including executing a terrific move on Hamilton on lap 39 – to finish second, it wasn’t enough for Vettel to deny Hamilton.

    The German inherited that second place after Ricciardo suffered his eighth DNF of the season, after his engine appeared to let go on lap 62. It was a cruel twist of fate for the Australian, who had himself looked a shoe-in to make his first ever podium appearance in Mexico City.

    Vettel was joined on the podium by his team mate Kimi Raikkonen, the Finn having had a mostly quiet afternoon but doing enough to deny Hamilton a podium finish on his momentous title-winning day. That left the Mercedes boys to finish fourth and fifth, Hamilton ahead of Valtteri Bottas, with Hamilton massively dropping his pace towards the race end to make it home safely and claim the championship.

    Some fine midfield performances saw Nico Hulkenberg take sixth – good news for Renault on a day when Haas failed to score – Charles Leclerc finish seventh, while the beleaguered Stoffel Vandoorne was eighth to equal his best performance of the year.

    But despite a crushing win for Verstappen to put Red Bull on top for the first time since Austria, the plaudits today have to go equally to Hamilton, the British driver now forming part of an exceptionally rare group of Formula 1 drivers.

    Less than 24 hours after his jubilation at taking pole position, Daniel Ricciardo’s dreams of converting that into a victory all but ended within the first five seconds of the Grand Prix start, as his RB14 bogged down horribly off the line. That allowed team mate Verstappen to launch himself into the lead while Lewis Hamilton pounced on Ricciardo’s misfortune to move himself into third.

    Once Ricciardo had got back up to speed, he was left to duke it out for third place with Valtteri Bottas into Turn 1. The Australian won out, demoting Bottas into the path of Sebastian Vettel. And after a string of first lap incidents that hadn’t gone the German’s way this season, this time Vettel was incisive, fairly muscling past Bottas through Turns 4 and 5, his front left tyre making the lightest of contacts with Bottas’ front wing before the Ferrari driver resumed in his well-earned fourth.

    Further back, contact between the Force India of Esteban Ocon and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg claimed an unlikely victim, as a piece of Ocon’s front wing skated underneath the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, ultimately causing the Spaniard’s retirement five laps later.

    Out front, Verstappen was in no mood to hang around, and immediately set to putting in quick laps to try and open up a gap to the chasing Hamilton. But tyres were clearly going to play a big role in this race, and Lewis Hamilton’s ultrasofts were looking angry by the time he became the first of the front-runners to pit on lap 12, Mercedes double-stacking Hamilton and Bottas together and giving both drivers supersofts, Ricciardo and Verstappen following suit on laps 13 and 14. That left the Ferraris running one and two until they too double-stacked for supersofts on lap 18.

    As the race settled into its rhythm, Verstappen was looking indomitable out front, pulling away from Hamilton as behind, Vettel, driving a great race, got after Ricciardo’s third place. Once again, the Ferrari man was steely, firmly shouldering his way through into Turn 1 to claim P3 on lap 34.

    And then, five laps later, came the confrontation that everyone had been waiting for, as Vettel closed in on Hamilton in P2. Would there be fireworks? Tyre-rubbing? Recriminations? Not this time, just some great wheel-to-wheel racing between two fine champions, Vettel DRS-ing past Hamilton into Turn 1 and then holding fast to take second. The championship might have been a step too far – but would a race win for Vettel be possible?

    It became slightly more likely on lap 62 when Ricciardo pulled off to the road and out of second place at Turn 1, after suffering his second technical failure in as many weeks to deny Red Bull a chance to take their first one-two finish since Brazil 2013 in the process.

    Unfortunately for Vettel, though, Verstappen was too far gone, as the Dutchman romped home to the fifth win of his career, with Raikkonen ending up a quiet third to help keep the constructors’ battle between Mercedes and Ferrari rumbling on until Brazil.

    Hamilton, despite knowing that a top-seven finish would be enough to take the championship, endured an unhappy Grand Prix, relaying a series of edgy messages back to his team about everything from his tyres to his lack of interest in Raikkonen’s current position, his pace nowhere near that of the Red Bulls and Ferraris ahead as he struggled with graining throughout.

    But as he rounded the final corner to claim fourth – his joint second-lowest finishing position of the year – it all ceased to matter, as Hamilton drove his way into the history books. And though Vettel had arguably been the better driver on the day, there was no way for the German to hide his dejection as he stood being interviewed following yet another championship bid going up in smoke.

    “It’s a very strange feeling right now,” said Hamilton. “To complete this, when Fangio did it with Mercedes, is an incredible feeling. It’s very, very surreal at the moment.”

    Further back, Haas endured one of their worst performances of the year as Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean finished as the final two runners, something that won’t have helped the American squad as they sought to claim Renault’s fourth place in the constructors’ standings. That dream became even more distant after Nico Hulkenberg emphatically claimed the ‘best of the rest’ mantle in sixth – although team mate Carlos Sainz retired on lap 31, having looked set for a major points haul himself – while Stoffel Vandoorne had one of his best performances of the year to finish eighth and claim his first points since Baku all the way back in April.

    But while it was Hamilton who was busy setting records, the ‘Driver of the Day’ vote quite rightly went to Max Verstappen, the Dutchman putting together one of his most convincing race performances to offset the stinging disappointment he’d felt at being beaten to pole by Ricciardo yesterday.

    “Amazing,” said Verstappen. “To be honest with you, I didn’t sleep very well last night, so I was really determined to win.”

  2. Re-write the record books – history has been made. To the names Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher you can now add Lewis Hamilton, who became just the third F1 driver to win as many as five world championships by finishing in fourth place in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.

    “It’s a very strange feeling right now,” beamed Hamilton after stepping out of his car following a trademark series of donuts. “I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13, to complete this, when Fangio has done it with Mercedes, is an incredible feeling. It’s a bit surreal at the moment…”

    For many, this season will rightly be remembered as one of Hamilton’s best. For long periods it was Ferrari, looking for a first championship since 2008, who were in the ascendency, their SF71H appearing both a quicker and a more adaptable machine than the Briton’s Mercedes, and Sebastian Vettel – himself chasing a fifth drivers’ crown – proving a formidable opponent for Hamilton.

    But after being beaten by the German in Belgium in August, a victory that had appeared to shift the momentum firmly back in the Ferrari driver’s camp, Hamilton moved into another gear – and Vettel simply couldn’t stay with him. A run of four victories in five races meant Hamilton arrived in Mexico for the third from last race of the year with a 70-point championship advantage, and needing simply to finish in the top seven to seal the deal, regardless of where Vettel finished.

    In the event, Hamilton was beaten by Vettel for the first time since Spa, and finished off the podium for only the fourth time this year as Mercedes had one of their more disappointing races of the year from a performance standpoint. But just as in Brazil in 2008 when the 71-time Grand Prix winner clinched a first drivers’ crown with fifth place, and just as in Mexico last year, when he claimed his fourth title with ninth, it mattered not.

    Hamilton is champion once more and will now rightly be considered one of the greatest drivers of all time.

    The question now is: Where will the winning end? With his Mercedes deal running until at least the end of 2020, Schumacher’s all-time titles record – once considered unbeatable – is now in sight. It will be fascinating to see what happens next…


  3. Despite winning the world championship Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are feeling “bittersweet” after “horrible race”. has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes Formula 1 team were left with a “bittersweet” feeling after the Mexican Grand Prix, with the Briton sealing his fifth world championship despite a “horrible race”.

    Hamilton started third and passed Daniel Ricciardo off the line, but neither he nor teammate Valtteri Bottas were competitive on race pace as they struggled to make their tyres last.

    Fourth place was ultimately enough for Hamilton to seal the title, but it marked his worst result since July’s Austrian Grand Prix, and he’d crossed the line over a minute and 18 seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen.

    “It was a horrible race,” Hamilton conceded in his post-race interview. “We were struggling. I was trying to hold on and bring the car home.”

    The Briton was somewhat reserved in his post-race celebrations, but said this was because he couldn’t wrap his head around becoming a five-time world champion.

    “I don’t really allow myself to be too emotional in public, but right now I just feel very very humbled by the whole experience,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.

    “It’s very very hard to realise it at the moment. It’s something that of course I dreamed of, but never in a million years did I think I’d be standing here today a five-time world champion. I never knew that was going to happen.

    Bottas finished a lap down on Verstappen in fifth, as Mercedes’ constructors’ championship lead took a hit – albeit the Silver Arrows remain 55 points clear of Ferrari with two races left to run.

    Team boss Toto Wolff said he was too “upset with the race performance” of his outfit to congratulate Hamilton over team radio.

    “It is all a bit bittersweet,” Wolff told Sky. “We had a very bad race we need to understand and in our mind that plays such a big role, but we should be happy with the championship.”

    Mercedes F1 tech chief James Allison likewise admitted it was difficult to fully enjoy Hamilton sealing the title after a poor showing by the team.

    “It has been a topsy-turvy sort of weekend,” Allison told Sky. “We have to remember that what we have achieved today we have achieved as the result of a whole year of effort.

    “Today was painful, painful indeed. But the overall achievement is magnificent and Lewis’ driving this year has been peerless so we have to be happy.

    “You have to remind yourself to be happy when you just took a bit of a pasting like that.”

  4. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel commented that the F1 title defeat was expected, but still feels painful. has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel said losing the 2018 Formula 1 world championship to Lewis Hamilton in the Mexican Grand Prix was “a horrible moment” even though he knew it was inevitable.

    Vettel needed to win at Mexico City with Hamilton eighth or lower in order to keep the F1 title battle alive.

    Though the Ferrari driver beat his rival on the day – finishing second as Mercedes struggled and Hamilton came home fourth – it was not enough to prolong the championship fight.

    “It’s a horrible moment,” Vettel admitted.

    “You put a lot of work in and even if you saw it coming – I did pay attention in maths so I could do the numbers – you hang in there as long as you can.

    “Three times now in my life I’ve had that sort of disappointment where you realise one day that you can’t win the championship anymore and those are not happy days.

    “You reflect on not one moment, but the whole year and the work that goes in, the effort that goes in from the end of last year until now.

    “We had our chances, we used most of them. Maybe some we did not. But in the end we were not good enough.”

    Vettel broke off his post-race interview on the track to go to congratulate Hamilton on his fifth world championship.

    “He drove superbly all year,” said Vettel of his opponent. “He was the better one of us two.

    “I told him it was well deserved and to enjoy it. Number five, I think it’s something incredible.

    “So I mainly congratulated him and asked him to keep pushing for next year and said I’ll do my best to fight him again.”

    Vettel started only fourth in Mexico, and briefly dropped to fifth behind Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas on the first lap, but gained ground by running long in his first stint.

    He then passed both Daniel Ricciardo and Hamilton on track before trying in vain to chase down leader Max Verstappen.

    “In the beginning I couldn’t go at the pace. The first couple of laps obviously I was in the pack, so it was very difficult,” Vettel explained.

    “Then I sat back a little bit and wanted to go a bit longer, which worked well.

    “It gave us the advantage in the second stint. I was a bit surprised when others pitted and how much they dropped off.

    “For me it was not so much of a problem, maybe because I saved more in the beginning.

    “After that we had very good pace and at the end of the first stint we were also a little bit faster than Max.

    “In the second stint obviously we had a different goal and I had to go through two cars, which we managed to do, and then from there it was very far to Max and we had nothing to lose.”

  5. Former Mercedes driver and 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg believes Lewis Hamilton can target Michael Schumacher’s records following title number 5 in Mexico. has the full story.

    Nico Rosberg says Lewis Hamilton can realistically target Michael Schumacher’s Formula 1 records of 91 race wins and seven world championships before the end of his current Mercedes contract.

    Hamilton sealed his fifth world title in the Mexican Grand Prix, and he currently has 71 wins to his name, and another two years on his deal with Mercedes.

    “For Lewis now, with five titles, unbelievable,” said 2016 world champion Rosberg, in a message of congratulations he posted on his YouTube channel after the race.

    “It’s crazy to think, and equalling [Juan Manuel] Fangio [as a five-time world champion] – crazy.

    “He can seriously go for Schumacher’s records now. He’s got two more years on the contract, and Schumi is only two titles away, 20 race wins away, even that’s possible in two years.

    “It’s amazing. He can really try to become statistically the best of all-time, which is unreal, but it is a possibility, and I’m sure he’s going to be motivated by that.”

    Rosberg said it was irrelevant that Hamilton sealed the title with a disappointing race where Mercedes was way off the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari.

    “Today’s race was not the best way to finish the season for Mercedes in a race like that, but whatever, it doesn’t matter – who cares,” he added. “The big picture counts.

    “You all really deserve it, phenomenal job, especially this year because Ferrari, on average, maybe even had the better car.

    “To go with such pressure, to come so strong through the middle part of the season, develop the car so strong, amazing effort.

    “After the midway part of the season it really went two ways: Sebastian really struggling, making mistakes, his team making mistakes as well.

    “Mercedes and Lewis [were] getting everything perfect, it just completely went apart in a big way.

    “That’s why it’s now such a big difference in the championship, and it’s finished so early. I hope everybody is going to have a great party tonight!”

  6. Daniel Ricciardo was left feeling “helpless” and ready to hand over his “cursed” Red Bull Formula 1 car to Pierre Gasly after another mechanical problem robbed him of a podium in Mexico.

    Ricciardo, who will be leaving Red Bull at the end of the year to join Renault and will be replaced by Toro Rosso driver Gasly, retired from the Mexican Grand Prix while fighting off Sebastian Vettel for second place late on.

    His exit from the race marked the Aussie’s sixth retirement in the past 11 grands prix.

    “I don’t think ‘frustration’ is the word anymore,” Ricciardo told TV crews after the race. “Everything feels hopeless.

    “You know, honestly, now where I am, I don’t see the point of coming on Sunday, I don’t see the point of doing the next two races.

    “I haven’t had a clean race or weekend in so long. I’m not superstitious or any of this bullshit, but… the car’s cursed. I don’t have any more words.”

    Ricciardo had taken pole but bogged down badly at the start, allowing teammate Max Verstappen and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton through.

    He said: “Helpless I think is the best word.

    “Even today, you know, the starts have been good all weekend, the practice starts, and for the race start, it’s all over the place with the pre-start.

    “Just things are happening on Sunday which I’ve got no more explanation for. The car… I’ll let Gasly drive it, I’m done with it.”

    Red Bull had suffered a hydraulics failure with Verstappen’s car in practice – and speaking to Sky Sports after the race, team boss Christian Horner said Ricciardo’s race was ended by what was likely another hydraulics problem.

    “We need to get the car back [to be sure] but you can see the smoke come out of the back of the car, 10 laps from the end,” he said.

    “Just gutting for him because he had driven a great race on old tyres, holding off Sebastian [Vettel] before that tell-tale sign of smoke.

    “All we could do was retire the car.”

    Horner said Ricciardo’s misfortune soured what was Red Bull’s best race in a while, as Verstappen romped to victory.

    “The thing that feels bittersweet is we should’ve have had the both up there,” he said.


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