Friday, 16 November, 2018

Hamilton: Title sealed with 'horrible' race

Max Verstappen Mexican GP 2018 Max Verstappen Mexican GP 2018
Eugene Bates | 01 November, 2018, 14:41

Asked how he meant to celebrate his triumph, Hamilton replied: "It is going to sound really boring, but I just feel content and really happy, so I am looking forward to going to sleep". A furious jump off the line beat Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to the first corner, and Verstappen was off and running toward an easy race for his fifth career victory.

"A bit similar to last year where I could do my own race which helps a lot and I think this year was a bit more hard because of the tyres, they were easy to grain but of course I didn't have any traffic and it seemed like Lewis was struggling a bit more with his tyres so I had no pressure from behind for a very long time, " Verstappen added.

But such is the superior straight-line speed of Mercedes and, in particular, Ferrari that both Verstappen and Ricciardo face intense pressure at the start of Sunday's race.

Red Bull's 1-2 start was their first front-row lockout since the start of the hybrid engine era in 2014.

Former driver David Coulthard, who was conducting the interview with Vettel, took to social media to offer his congratulations, as did Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

That Ferrari calamity started a streak of six wins in seven races for Hamilton, who hit his usual second-half stride.

But the German could only manage second place, meaning Hamilton's fourth-place finish was inconsequential in his bid to retain the crown. "The auto, I'll let Gasly (his replacement at Red Bull next season) drive it, I'm done with it".

Lewis Hamilton moved level with Juan Manuel Fangio on five Formula One drivers' championships on Sunday in a Mexican Grand Prix that was won by Max Verstappen.

A four-time champion himself, Vettel opened the season with a strong charge of two straight victories only to see Mercedes snatch wins while their own auto faded for a long stretch.

Red Bull, revelling in the high altitude conditions which equalise engine performance, set the tone for the weekend on Friday when they comprehensively outpaced Mercedes and Ferrari in practice. Their teams are still battling for the constructor's championship.

Lewis Hamilton is world champion for a fifth time.

"He drove superb all year".

Vettel, needing to win to keep his hopes alive, was gracious in defeat, hugging Hamilton as the two greats shared a moment. "Five (championships) is something incredible". Ferrari's Vettel finished second.

"It's a bittersweet victory in that it is fantastic for Max (Verstappen, race winner) to have driven an outstanding race - absolutely outstanding race, but I'm pretty confident that Daniel would have been able to hold off Sebastian (Vettel) over those remaining laps".

"The vehicle. I'll let Gasly drive it, I'm done with it".

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

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