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Ricciardo endures calamitous Mexico GP as Hamilton secures title

29 October 2018

Hamilton and Vettel line up side-by-side on the grid finishing behind the dominant Red Bull pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has won his fifth Formula One world title on Sunday.

"It is a shame to lose Daniel and I think we could have had a 1-2 or at least two cars on the podium", Verstappen said. "I would have loved to hang in there a little bit longer".

As they began to emerge for their final laps, Bottas was passed, on the run to Turn One, by Vettel while Hamilton delayed his out-lap - clear signs of the competitive tension between Ferrari and Mercedes.

By matching Fangio, Hamilton is now the joint second most successful driver of all time, with only Michael Schumacher two titles ahead. But could he go on to match Schumacher's tally of seven?

"I was not expecting to be up as high as we have done", said the Briton. In my mind it is just another day of fighting and I have more races to win, it is not over.

With the lead Mercedes out of the picture the race boiled down to a Red Bull vs Vettel fight, with Ferrari going aggressive by pitting Vettel for a fresh set of ultrasofts. He lost it by 0.026 seconds.

"It's a very unusual feeling right now", Hamilton said.

"The start was the key", he said after the finish.

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"I am very happy with this win", he admitted. He even had a drive off into the grass when he missed the corner out of the long straight at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Verstappen is the defending race champion and dominated the three rounds of practice.

The pole was only the third of Ricciardo's career and both of those previous ones came in the tight and twisty confines of Monaco. He's leaving the team for Renault in 2019. Both drivers were reprimanded for risky racing moves and team tensions were high.

Stoffel Vandoorne produced an unexpected boost at the end of a hard season by rising to eighth in his McLaren, ending a run of 14 races without points that stretches back to Azerbaijan in April. "Hopefully we're in a quicker auto all day". We had our chances, we used a lot of them but some we did not.

Verstappen asked Red Bull if he needed to be anxious or conserve the engine but he had a trouble-free run to the finish to record his second victory of the season.

Hamilton also lined up third in Mexico a year ago with a fourth title his for the taking.

A fourth consecutive race victory for Hamilton all but confirmed he would be the eventual title-winner too as Vettel could only finish sixth having made contact with Max Verstappen.

Vettel's tilt for victory saw him pull off impressive overtakes on Ricciardo and Hamilton over the course of the race, but he ultimately finished as runner-up to Verstappen.

"The vehicle was quick here past year but after today I think we are more competitive than 2017". If there's an opening and an opportunity to take it, I'll take it.

Ricciardo endures calamitous Mexico GP as Hamilton secures title