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Hamilton seals fifth title

  • Published at 07:54 pm October 29th, 2018
Hamilton
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in action during the Mexican Grand Prix Sunday Reuters

In a nice sporting gesture, Lewis Hamilton hugged Sebastian Vettel and then ran back to the Mercedes garage to embrace his team mates one by one

Lewis Hamilton celebrated his fifth Formula One world championship and joined an elite trio of greats Sunday after a Mexican Grand Prix won by Red Bull's Max Verstappen for the second year in a row.

The Mercedes driver, who equalled the five titles of late 1950s Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio with only seven times champion Michael Schumacher above them, finished fourth while Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel was second.

Hamilton had needed only five points to be sure of the title while four times champion Vettel had to win to have any hope of denying the Briton.

Team boss Toto Wolff hailed Hamilton as a well-deserved champion.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was third, meaning the constructors' championship remained open at least until the Brazilian Grand Prix in two weeks' time with Mercedes' lead trimmed.

In a nice sporting gesture, Hamilton hugged Vettel and then ran back to the Mercedes garage to embrace his team mates one by one.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Verstappen's team mate, retired from the race with a smoking engine after starting from pole position.

Team principal Christian Horner described that eighth retirement in 19 races as "absolutely gutting', with Red Bull fretting about whether he would make it to the finish. "It was a shame to lose Daniel," said Verstappen, who had been angry Saturday after missing out on pole. 

The Dutch driver seized the lead at the start, with Hamilton also making a quick getaway to slot in behind with Ricciardo dropping to third.

But in a high-altitude race of attrition, with tyre wear playing a huge part in the outcome, the champion was unable to match the pace and had no need to take any risks either.

His Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas finished fifth but lapped by Verstappen.

As he crossed the line to take the title in Mexico for the second year in a row, Hamilton heard a message from Hollywood actor Will Smith come over the radio.

But the afternoon was one of his hardest of the season, the Briton off the podium for the first time since a race retirement in Austria at the beginning of July.

Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Renault, who had Spaniard Carlos Sainz retire early on, with Charles Leclerc seventh for Sauber.

Stoffel Vandoorne enjoyed a rare afternoon of success, finishing eighth for McLaren, while Sauber's Marcus Ericsson was ninth and Pierre Gasly 10th for Toro Rosso.