Mexican Grand Prix 2018: Fourth Place and a Reason to Celebrate for Lewis Hamilton
Mexican Grand Prix 2018
Fourth place—and the 12 points that go with it—is all what Lewis Hamilton needed to secure the World Drivers' Champions for the fifth time in his career.
The Mercedes star described his performance in the Mexican Grand Prix 2018 as "horrible" after producing his worst result since the Austrian Grand Prix. However, while he may not be happy with fourth place, the trophy is what matters at the end of the day.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the crown at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez with a scintillating display, while Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second and more disappointment despite his effort to keep the title fight alive.
Highlights of the game
Horrible race, great result
Hamilton needed to finish at least seventh in order to clinch the title, and he achieved both despite struggling for the most part of the race.
Starting third from the grid, Hamilton battled with tyre wear and vibration throughout. He was the first one to take a pit stop, on Lap 12, to change to supersoft tyres, but the tyre problem continued to hound him as he found himself in trouble again midway through the contest
The Brit driver climbed up to second, but he held the spot for only a quarter of the race. Vettel surpassed him on Lap 39—no thanks to his tyres—and Hamilton was hammered more misery when he locked up on turn one and headed to the grass on Lap 47.
Fortunately, he was able to recover and returned to the track, though on fourth and behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.
Hamilton eventually pitted and rejoined the race in sixth with 24 laps to go. He moved up to fifth and gained some breathing space when his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, changed to fresher tyres. After that, he benefitted from a Ricciardo retirement to move to fourth en route to the title.
"The race itself today was pretty horrible. I got a great start and was really working my way up, but then we were really struggling with the tyres, both Valtteri and I. I was just trying to hold on and bring the car home," Hamilton said via ESPN after the race.
Verstappen dominates, Vettel tries
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen lifts his Mexican Grand Prix 2018 trophy alongside second placer Sebastian Vettel
While Hamilton won the season, Verstappen ensured that it wouldn't be the double victory that the Mercedes driver was aiming for.
The Mexican Grand Prix 2018 odds at SBOBET pointed to a Verstappen win, and the 21-year-old more than lived up to expectations.
The Dutchman took the lead right into turn one of the opening lap, overtaking his Red Bull teammate Ricciardo who was in pole position. Verstappen never looked back after that and was barely threatened in the race.
Verstappen was ahead of Hamilton by 10 seconds on Lap 26, and his lead over the chasers got only bigger as the race progressed.
Put simply, there wasn't much of a battle up front, as Verstappen ended the race with a 17-second lead over the second-placer.
Vettel—fourth from the starting lane—knew that the only way to keep his slim title chances alive is with a victory in Mexico, and he undoubtedly entered the race with the determination to win.
The German ace got a much-needed break when Ricciardo retired due to engine failure with 10 laps to go. He seized the second spot after the incident, but it was a little too late as Verstappen was already ahead by 15 seconds at that point.
Vettel finished second while his Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, grabbed third. Mercedes' Bottas, on the other hand, settled for fifth.
Hamilton is now a five-time world champion, allowing him to surpass F1 legend Alain Prost and Vettel who were previously tied with him with four.
The 33-year-old also equalled the great Juan Manuel Fangio. He is only two behind the record of Michael Schumacher.
Even more remarkable, this victory only shows Hamilton's dominance over the past five years. He has now won four titles in the last five seasons, with then-Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg the only one breaking his streak with a surprise run in 2016.
While Hamilton's win took the headlines of Mexican Grand Prix 2018 news, Ricciardo's unfortunate finish also received some spotlight.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo in action during the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix
As mentioned, the Australian driver received another "Did Not Finish" tag after an engine failure forced him to retire. Even more frustrating was the fact that he is on pace for a podium finish with just a few laps left in the race.
It was his eighth retirement in 19 races this season, and after this incident, it's no wonder why he chose to leave the team.
Battle of the constructors
Back-to-back one-two finishes in the Russian Grand Prix and Japanese Grand Prix put Mercedes well ahead in the Constructors' championship. However, their four-five finish in Mexico, coupled with Ferrari's second and third, give the Scuderia a chance to surpass them in the final two races this November.
Only 55 points separate the two teams, and Ferrari can spoil the Mercedes party by winning the top two spots in the remaining contests and preventing the Silver Arrows from making it to the podium.
Up next is the Brazilian Grand Prix in mid-November followed by the final race in Abu Dhabi a week before December.
As cited, the battle for the constructors and the other standings is the only thing left to play for, though that should still make the final races interesting.
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This message was edited by SBOBET on 08-Nov-2018 @ 1:54 PM