Daniel Ricciardo snags pole from teammate Max Verstappen at Mexican Grand Prix
Oct 29, 2018, 00:50
Lewis Hamilton has won the fifth Formula 1 world title of his career after finishing in fourth place at the Mexico Grand Prix on Sunday.
Verstappen started from second place at last year's Mexican Grand Prix - and went on to triumph after taking the lead on the opening lap. The British driver tied the late Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina for second-most titles in F1 history.
All he needs is a P7, but surely Hamilton will want to score yet another victory as he looks to close on Michael Schumacher's record tally of 91.
Mercedes could also clinch the Constructors' Championship in Mexico if they outscore Ferrari by 20 points. But ever since his commanding win in Japan two races ago, circumstances have been conspiring to tease him.
For many, this season will rightly be remembered as one of Hamilton's best. And even with Ferrari's mechanical gains, Mercedes shows no signs of slowing down.
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"I'm really, really happy with it", said Hamilton.
It re-engaged after a couple of laps and more heavy traffic allowed Vettel to size up his former teammate before, on lap 34, throwing a superb move inside Ricciardo under braking for the first corner. "Some people have to do a two-stop, hopefully we get away with one stop".
"It's a very odd feeling right now", beamed Hamilton after stepping out of his auto following a trademark series of donuts. "I was just trying to bring the vehicle home".
After seeing team-mate Ricciardo retire with an engine issue eight laps from the end of the race, Verstappen told Red Bull to turn his power unit down if needed.
The order did not change after a round of very early pit stops as Verstappen built up a comfortable 10-second lead by lap 26 but Vettel then squeezed past Ricciardo into third in the 34th. He almost found it when he saw a gap between the Red Bulls and tried to take it. The Mercedes boss says the straight line speed mismatch could create some trouble in the first corner.
"The start was the key", Verstappen said. "I was determined to win today".
Lewis in prime position: While Hamilton was unable to score Mercedes' 100th pole position in F1, the champion-elect is in the prime position for Sunday's race, and on course, to secure his fifth world title.
The 29-year-old, who will jump ship to Renault from the 2019 season, delivered arguably the quote of the year in his post-race interview.
"They are free to race, but they have to keep it clean", he said. "I would have loved to hang in there a little bit longer".
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