Hamilton beats Vettel to F1 title again

The euphoria at Red Bull Racing was nearly enough to overshadow Lewis Hamilton qualifying third, which will be enough to win him his fifth world title if he holds that position to the end of the race.

Hamilton, who needed to finish only seventh at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to beat Sebastian Vettel to the title with two rounds to spare, spent much of the race at odds with his Mercedes team as he struggled for pace.

Hamilton secured his fifth career championship with a fourth-place finish. Just things are happening on Sundays that I've got no more explanation for.

The Red Bull cars have been flying all weekend in Mexico City's thin air, but for all the money, it looked as though it would be Verstappen, and not Ricciardo, who would claim pole. "I would have loved to hang in there a little bit longer".

He had been all smiles on Saturday after pipping Verstappen to pole position but made a poor start on Sunday with wheelspin dropping him to third. It's been a while since we had a pretty good weekend in general and we've been quick all weekend, from the start.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Verstappen's team mate, retired from the race with a smoking engine after starting from pole position.

"It's too early to say it's just going to be a race between each other, as nice as that would be", Ricciardo said.

In another horror mechanical malfunction, the Aussie pulled up trackside after his Red Bull lost power in a plume of smoke, just 10 laps away from finishing second.

While Hamilton was celebrating the peak of his career, Daniel Ricciardo was devastated. Engine failure has killed his vehicle in six of the last 11 races with two left on the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

All these retirements mean that since the summer break ended with the Belgian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo has scored just 28 points to championship victor Lewis Hamilton's 127, and his teammate Max Verstappen's 96.

"Number five is something incredible so I told him to enjoy it, and keep pushing as I need him to be at his best for us to keep fighting again next year".

"He deserves it. He did the best job this year".

"All eyes have been on Verstappen, he's dominated all the sessions but when it mattered most, Ricciardo delivered", racing expert Martin Brundle said.

It goes without saying that Hamilton's championship charge has been aided by Sebastian Vettel's implosion, and, at the last count, the Ferrari driver's nine significant mistakes this year.

All five will move up one place once Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly is sent to the back of the grid with a 20-place grid penalty for unscheduled engine and gearbox changes.

Ricciardo's retirement was his 11 in the last 23 races.

  • Stacy Allen