Lewis Hamilton won title days after death of grandfather

Nov 01, 2018, 02:32
Lewis Hamilton won title days after death of grandfather

Daniel Ricciardo snatched pole position from Red Bull Racing teammate Max Verstappen with a brilliant final lap in a thrilling qualifying session for the Mexican Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, makes a victory sign after becoming Formula One Champion at the Mexico Grand Prix auto race at the Hermanos Rodriguez racetrack in Mexico City, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018.

Sebastian Vettel headed into the race knowing only a win and a finish of eighth or worse for Hamilton would be enough to take the title chase into the penultimate round of the season.

"It depends how we get away, but I am going to be fighting to gain a position".

Hamilton slotted in behind the Dutchman, with pole-sitter Ricciardo dropping to third.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who must win here to stand any chance of stopping Hamilton from claiming this year's honours, finished behind his rival in fourth. That's what I'm going to be doing. For the race start, it's all over the place with the pre-start.

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"I always believed we could win this championship, but it was one of the toughest", Hamilton said.

Red Bull suffered a hydraulics failure with Verstappen's vehicle in practice - and speaking to Sky Sports after the race, team boss Christian Horner said Ricciardo's race was ended by what was likely another hydraulics problem.

The Red Bull driver said immediately after the race that he felt "helpless" and that he was "done" with the RB14 for this season, but his boss believes he was speaking in the heat of the moment.

"To get a one two from a team point of view is awesome".

And the scrap looked on course to go down to the wire after the Ferrari driver returned from the summer break by winning the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Dutch driver seized the lead at the start, with Hamilton also making a quick getaway to slot in behind with Ricciardo dropping to third.

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"I know I'm emotional, but I don't see the point in coming for the last two races", he said.

"He did a superb job all year", Vettel said.

But Hamilton took the chequered flag in fourth to secure the championship with two rounds to spare.

The Dutchman was clearly frustrated by the result, deliberately bumping the second-place board with his auto as he arrived on the start-finish straight, and then bemoaning problems with his Red Bull machinery.

"I don't think "frustration" is the word anymore", he said. "Five (championships) is something incredible".

It was an admirable effort from Vettel to stave off the inevitable and keep the title race alive - just about - heading to Brazil for the penultimate race of the season. Pierre Gasly will be taking Ricciardo's place in a promotion from Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso.

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It was the 11th time in 23 race the Aussie has retired from an F1 race.