Tue, Oct 30, 9:33am by Staff Writer
Britain’s Lewis Hamilton was crowned the World Champion for a fifth time in Mexico on Monday (AEDT), after finishing fourth at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City.
Hamilton entered the season’s third last race needing only a top seven finish to secure the driver’s championship while Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel needed to win the race to keep the championship alive heading into the penultimate Grand Prix of the year in Brazil on November 12.
Vettel finished second behind Dutchman Max Verstappen who saluted in Mexico for the second time in as many years while Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium in third.
Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo started the race in pole position but lost ground from the start and was once again left frustrated, with yet another engine failure causing him to retire from the race with eight laps the go.
It was the eighth time this season that the Aussie hasn’t finished a race and his frustrations boiled over in the aftermath, calling his car “cursed” and going on to tell reporters that “I don’t think ‘frustration’ is the word anymore.”
The West Australian moves to Renault next season but with two races to go in a Red Bull he said that “everything feels hopeless” and “you know, honestly, now where I am, I don’t see the point of coming on Sunday.”
Ricciardo recovered from his poor start to get back to third position before white smoke appeared from the rear of his car, believed to be a hydraulic issue, robbing him of a podium finish.
McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne had a great drive, coming from 15th to secure just his fourth points finish of the season, ultimately crossing the line in eighth place.
At the other end of the spectrum was Hamilton, the 33-year old joins elite company with the fifth title of his career, equaling Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio who achieved the feat in the 1950s while only Michael Schumacher is ahead of him, as a seven-time champion.
The F1 circus now packs up and heads to Brazil, where Hamilton is the second favourite at $2.88 behind the favourite Vettel who is at $2.75 to salute at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit in Sao Paulo.
The constructors championship race is still alive after Ferrari trimmed Mercedes’ lead to 55 points in Mexico but Hamilton and his team can wrap up that title in Brazil’s most populous city in a fortnight’s time.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff will want his team to keep their foot on the throttle to ensure the silver arrows end up with the double.
Brazil Grand Prix Odds
Sebastian Vettel $2.75
Lewis Hamilton $2.88
Kimi Raikkonen $7
Valtteri Bottas $7
Max Verstappen $8
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