Mexico F1: Verstappen’s race, Hamilton’s title and an early bath for Hartley

Autosport

Max Verstappen took victory in a dramatic Mexican Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton survived a collision with Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to clinch his fourth world championship.

The Red Bull driver boldly passed pole-sitter Vettel into Turn 1 at the start, escaping contact with the Ferrari driver to continue and dominate the race at Mexico City.

But behind him, Vettel had suffered minor front wing damage, and Hamilton got ahead of the Ferrari through Turn 2. Vettel then tagged the right-rear tyre of Hamilton on the exit of Turn 3, further damaging his own wing and giving Hamilton a puncture.

That forced both drivers to limp back to the pits, leaving Verstappen clear to defeat the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas by 19.6 seconds to take his third F1 win.

Though Vettel recovered to fourth place to cut Hamilton’s championship lead to 56-points, there are only 50 remaining in the final two races, meaning Hamilton won the championship despite only battling back to ninth.

While Hamilton struggled to close back up to the pack, Vettel made quick progress through the field, climbing up to seventh before the race was neutralised by the virtual safety car when Brendon Hartley’s retired with an engine problem.

Race leader Verstappen took the opportunity to pit from the lead, with Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, who had climbed up to third following early stops from Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez and Hulkenberg’s retirement with an engine issue.

The trio rejoined in the same positions, with Vettel and Hamilton also pitting for fresh rubber and taking ultra-softs and super-softs respectively with a little over half of the race to go.

The title rivals restarted their recovery drives, with Vettel passing Kevin Magnussen to take seventh, while Hamilton passed Romain Grosjean, Pascal Wehrlein, Pierre Gasly and Marcus Ericsson to run 12th.

Vettel lunged down the inside of Perez to take sixth at Turn 4 and made short work of Stroll into Turn 1 to snatch fifth, before setting off in pursuit of Ocon.

The Ferrari driver caught the Force India quickly and used DRS to blast past Ocon into Turn 1 for fourth, with team-mate Raikkonen a further 24 seconds up the road with 14 laps to go.

When he heard the size of the gap, Vettel replied “Mama mia, that’s a little bit too much” and he ultimately crossed the line fourth.

Hamilton, who came out on top in a brilliant tussle with Fernando Alonso late on to take ninth, joins Vettel and Alain Prost on four world titles, with only Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio ahead on the all-time list with seven and five respectively.

Ocon equalled his best-ever F1 result with fifth, ahead of Stroll, Perez and Magnussen.

Daniel Ricciardo recovered from starting 16th – following grid penalties for engine component changes, to run seventh early on, but his race lasted just five laps as he suffered yet more problems with his Renault engine.

Marcus Ericsson spent the early part of the race just inside the points, but retired in the closing stages after reporting a brake-by-wire failure and retiring the car.

Renault suffered a double retirement, with Carlos Sainz Jr stopping late on after reporting his car was pulling on the straights.

Race result

POSDRIVERCARLAPSGAP
1Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault711h36m26.552s
2Valtteri BottasMercedes7119.678s
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari7154.007s
4Sebastian VettelFerrari711m10.078s
5Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes701 Lap
6Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes701 Lap
7Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes701 Lap
8Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari701 Lap
9Lewis HamiltonMercedes701 Lap
10Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda701 Lap
11Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes701 Lap
12Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Honda701 Lap
13Pierre GaslyToro Rosso/Renault701 Lap
14Pascal WehrleinSauber/Ferrari692 Laps
15Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari692 Laps
Carlos SainzRenault59Retirement
Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari55Power Unit
Brendon HartleyToro Rosso/Renault30Power Unit
Nico HulkenbergRenault24Retirement
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault5Turbo

Drivers’ standings

POSDRIVERPOINTS
1Lewis Hamilton333
2Sebastian Vettel277
3Valtteri Bottas262
4Daniel Ricciardo192
5Kimi Raikkonen178
6Max Verstappen148
7Sergio Perez92
8Esteban Ocon83
9Carlos Sainz54
10Lance Stroll40
11Felipe Massa36
12Nico Hulkenberg34
13Romain Grosjean28
14Kevin Magnussen19
15Stoffel Vandoorne13
16Fernando Alonso11
17Jolyon Palmer8
18Pascal Wehrlein5
19Daniil Kvyat5
20Marcus Ericsson0
21Antonio Giovinazzi0
22Pierre Gasly0
23Brendon Hartley0

Constructors’ standings

POSCONSTRUCTORPOINTS
1Mercedes595
2Ferrari455
3Red Bull/Renault340
4Force India/Mercedes175
5Williams/Mercedes76
6Toro Rosso/Renault53
7Renault48
8Haas/Ferrari47
9McLaren/Honda24
10Sauber/Ferrari5

Mexico F1: Verstappen’s race, Hamilton’s title and an early bath for Hartley

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