Verstappen Wins, Lewis Hamilton Takes 5th F1 World Title at 2018 Mexican Grand Prix
The Red Bull youngster is now a five-time GP winner and Hamilton has solidified his spot amongst a selection of greats.
As of the end of the Mexican Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes-AMG is now a five-time world Formula 1 champion, and Max Verstappen is a five-time Grand Prix winner.
Polesitter Daniel Ricciardo got a poor launch when the red lights went out, allowing both Verstappen and Hamilton past. Tight racing in the opening stages of the race forced McLaren's Fernando Alonso to retire just five laps in, forcing the first Virtual Safety Car (VSC) of the race. Title leader Hamilton struggled with tire graining and became the first frontrunner to stop for tires, springing for a set of supersofts after 11 laps. His teammate Valtteri Bottas mimicked the move soon afterward, Ricciardo following in their footsteps a lap later and Verstappen the next.
Hamilton and Ricciardo threaded their way back around Kimi Räikkönen in the opening corners of Lap 17, having dipped behind during their pit stops. While they opened a gap to Kimi, title challenger Sebastian Vettel made a pit stop of his own, Räikkönen following at the end of his lap.
A second VSC came on Lap 31 when Renault driver Carlos Sainz Jr. pulled over in the stadium section of the track, his car expired. The VSC deactivated on Lap 32, permitting Vettel's attack on Ricciardo, which succeeded on Lap 34. Vettel took Hamilton five laps later through Turn 1, Hamilton putting up no fight. Homeland hero Sergio Perez of Force India disappointed his fans on Lap 40 with a race retirement, his first at the Mexican Grand Prix.
Ricciardo closed the gap to Hamilton over the following several laps, culminating in a braking lunge around Hamilton's outside into the first corner on Lap 47. The Brit overshot his braking point and sailed across the grass, relinquishing position to Hamilton. Hamilton complained that his tires were burned out and rolled into the pits for a set of ultra softs as Vettel rolled out on the same. Bottas cloned Hamilton's mistake while defending against Räikkönen, mowing the lawn in Mexico City and losing track position. Like Hamilton, he traded out his tires for some ultrasofts afterward.
With much of the race already run, Ricciardo's Red Bull began to emit smoke on Lap 61 and he coasted off the pit straight on the next trip around with an engine failure. This solicited the third VSC of the race, during which Bottas traded his tires for hypersofts and quickly set the fastest lap of the race.
Verstappen rounded the final corner to take his fifth Grand Prix win and the Driver of the Day vote. Hamilton followed to capture his fifth title, joining Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as the only other driver to achieve at least that many world championships in their career. A full list of finishers can be found below.
- Max Verstappen/Red Bull
- Sebastian Vettel/Ferrari
- Kimi Räikkönen/Ferrari
- Lewis Hamilton/Mercedes
- Valtteri Bottas/Mercedes
- Nico Hülkenberg/Renault
- Charles Leclerc/Alfa Romeo Sauber
- Stoffel Vandoorne/McLaren
- Marcus Ericsson/Alfa Romeo Sauber
- Pierre Gasly/Toro Rosso-Honda
- Esteban Ocon/Force India
- Lance Stroll/Williams
- Sergey Sirotkin/Williams
- Brendon Hartley/Toro Rosso-Honda
- Kevin Magnussen/Haas
- Romain Grosjean/Haas