Verstappen dominates Mexico, Hamilton seals championship

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguezmx

Max Verstappen has won the Mexican Grand Prix by dominating if from the very start. The Dutchman was unthreated after Vettel and Hamilton clashed and faced made early stops. As Bottas and Raikkonen completed the podium, Vettel didn't gather enough points to keep the championship alive, ensuring Hamilton took his 4th World Championship title.

The start of the race was immediately an impressive affair, with Vettel seemingly getting the best start. However, with the road to Turn 1 being fairly long, Verstappen came aside, and Hamilton as well. Vettel opted for the inside line but it was then Verstappen who took the lead through Turn 2. The close fight saw Vettel damage his front wing slightly through Turn 2 as he ended up a bit too close to Verstappen, who at the time was already clearly ahead.

As the two leaders fought, Vettel lost ground through Turn 2 and saw Hamilton get past round the outside on Turn 3. Vettel subsequently was once again too optimistic and managed to clip another bit of front wing off against Hamilton's right rear tyre. This forced Vettel to pit at the end of the lap, followed 15s later as he needed new tyres due to a right rear puncture. Both men changed to soft tyres.

This saw Verstappen lead the race at the end of lap 1, followed by Bottas, Ocon, Hulkenberg, Perez, Raikkonen, Stroll, Magnussen, Ericsson, Vandoorne, Grosjean and Alonso.

Vettel was 15th at the time and managed to get past Massa on lap 12. Hamilton ran completely at the back, behind Wehrlein and Sainz, another few who pitted to change for softs after the first lap.

Daniel Ricciardo waited until lap 5 to go to the pits, but it was to retire from the race.

As Vettel progressed past Gasly and Grosjean into 13th, Hamilton continued to trail Sainz in last position. In fact, on lap 22, he got lapped already by Max Verstappen.

On lap 20 and 21, Perez and Ocon pitted to change to soft tyres as well. This released Raikkonen onto a very clear piece of track ahead of him as he was seemingly badly held up. Ocon rejoined in 5th position, behind Stroll while Perez ended up 7th, in between Magnussen and Ericsson.

By lap 30, Hulkenberg was the second retirement of the day, and interestingly likely due to a battery problem as the German was told he had to jump off of the car, ensuring he did not ground the car while getting out of it. Hamiton made some progress to get past two cars. Vettel on the other hand had done a whole lot more and managed to move up into 8th after Ericsson pitted and he managed to pass Alonso.

On lap 33, Hartley's Renault became the third Renault engine to fail today. The retirement brought a nearly 2-lap period of VSC, triggering numerous pitstops. Verstappen, Bottas, Stroll and Hamilton changed to supersoft, Raikkonen to softs and Vettel and Alonso opted for ultrasofts.

Positions at this time, and around the halfway mark, were: Verstappen with a 9s lead over Bottas with Raikkonen in third, already 33s behind the race leader. Ocon followed in 4th, ahead of Stroll, Perez, Vettel, Magnussen, Alonso, Massa, Vandoorne, Ericsson, Gasly, Hamilton, Wehrlein, Grosjean and Sainz.

Past that VSC period, positions were mostly fixed, apart from Vettel and Hamilton cutting through the field. Vettel diligently went on to progress into 4th place, but when he arrived there and was informed about the 22s gap to Raikkonen ahead, he responded "mama mia".

Hamilton meanwhile moved up as well, but got stuck behind Alonso, who himself was shadowing Magnussen in the fight for 8th. 5 laps from the end, Alonso lost the DRS trail of Magnussen and eventually got passed by Hamilton after an impressively close but fair fight.

It was in any case enough for Hamilton's fourth World Championship title while Max Verstappen completed a majestic performance to win the race, completely unthreated and 20s ahead of second placed Bottas.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
133Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer711:36:26.55225
277Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG71+19.678s18
37Kimi RäikkönenFerrari71+54.007s15
45Sebastian VettelFerrari71+70.078s12
531Esteban OconForce India Mercedes70+1 lap10
618Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes70+1 lap8
711Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes70+1 lap6
820Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari70+1 lap4
944Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG70+1 lap2
1014Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda70+1 lap1
1119Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes70+1 lap0
122Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda70+1 lap0
1310Pierre GaslyToro Rosso70+1 lap0
1494Pascal WehrleinSauber Ferrari69+2 laps0
158Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari69+2 laps0
NC55Carlos SainzRenault59DNF0
NC9Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari55DNF0
NC28Brendon HartleyToro Rosso30DNF0
NC27Nico HulkenbergRenault24DNF0
NC3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer5DNF0