Lewis Hamilton won his fifth F1 championship on Sunday with a Fourth place finish in the Mexican Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the GP while Vettel and his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen came second and third. It is Hamilton’s second championship in a row
Hamilton entered the 71 lap race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez with a 70-point lead over Sebastien Vettel, who came second on the day.
Hamilton now matches Italian F1 legend Juan Manuel Fangio with five wins. He also sealed his last F1 title in Mexicio last season.
Only Michael Schumacher with seven F1 titles is ahead of him after his latest triumphant season.
‘To complete this when Fangio did this with Mercedes is an incredible feeling and very surreal,’ he said.
The 33-year Briton made a superb start to the race, moving from third on the grid in his Mercedes to overtake pole sitter Daniel Ricciardo and nearly forcing his way into the lead.
But Verstappen kept ahead and slowly pulled away from Hamilton and his other challengers to secure the fifth victory of the burgeoning F1 career for the 21-year-old Dutch prodigy.
‘The start was very important. From there onwards I could do my own race,’ he said. ‘I hope we can be a bit closer to Mercedes next season,’ he added.
Hamilton endured an uncomfortable afternoon, struggling for grip with his tire choice and needing only a seventh-place finish to guarantee the title. A fourth finish was good enough to cap a brilliant season regardless.
Lewis Hamilton received a great ovation from the crowd at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after clinching the world crown.
‘It was a horrible race, I really don’t know what happened, I was just holding on trying to bring the car home,’ he admitted.
The unlucky Ricciardo later suffered another retirement in a year blighted by bad luck, allowing Hamilton to reclaim the place, with his teammate Valtteri Bottas in fifth.
The home crowd had to deal with the disappointment of losing Mexican driver Sergio Perez when he was forced to retire in his Force India, while the retiring Fernando Alonso was out on the first lap after debris hit his McLaren.
Vettel, needing to win to keep his hopes alive, was gracious in defeat, hugging Hamilton as the two greats shared a moment.
‘It’s not an easy day, but well deserved (for Hamilton) so congratulations to him and his team they did a great job.’
Vettel’s hopes of a fifth world title dissipated in the second half of the season, while Hamilton revved to nine out of ten podium finishes to seal his record F1 title.
Vettel was gracious in defeat.
"I told him it was well deserved and to enjoy it. Number five, it's something incredible. He drove superbly all year. He was the better one of us two"— Formula 1 (@F1) October 29, 2018
– Sebastian Vettel pic.twitter.com/hxL6x6UujX
‘We were just not good enough,’ he admitted in the post-race media conference.
With two rounds remaining in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, the only issue outstanding is the constructors’ championship, with Ferrari cutting the gap on Mercedes to 55 points after Mexico