Lewis Hamilton won a fifth World Championship and equal Juan Manuel Fangio’s achievement, despite struggling through a strange Mexican Grand Prix.
Starting from third on the grid, Hamilton knew a seventh place finish would secure the title, but at the end of the first corner he moved into second after capitalising on pole-sitter Daniel Ricciardo’s sluggish start.
But the altitude of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City caused problems for the Mercedes, with graining severely disrupting performance.
So much so Sebastian Vettel, who had got passed Ricciardo, had an easy job of demoting Hamilton back down to third. Soon thought Vettel came under attack from Ricciardo and on struggling tyres he inevitably locked up and ran off the track, allowing the Red Bull driver through.
Hamilton then had to pit for a new set of tyres, ending any chance of a podium. It was then a battle of the two Red Bulls and Vettel’s Ferrari, with Max Verstappen controlling after managing to get a free pit stop.
His team-mate Ricciardo was now the pawn in Red Bull’s strategy, slowing a rampaging Vettel down, as the German struggled to pass in the dirty air.
But an engine failure on lap 61 halted Ricciardo’s race, for the eighth time this season, from what was a sure podium.
As a result, Verstappen had to be cautious to avoid the same failure, and constantly asked his team on his radio; “Can we turn the engine down?”
His call was answered after the deployment of the virtual safety car put Vettel 14 seconds behind, and allowed the Dutchman to coast to his second Mexican Grand Prix win in as many years.
Vettel’s teammate Kimmi Raikkonen rounded off the podium in third, but it was Hamilton that took all the glory, bringing a troubled Silver Arrow home to finish fourth and wrap up another world title.
Words: Lee Pearson Subbing: Matthew Smith