Verstappen wins: Hamilton takes titleposted in F129 | 10 | 2017

    LEWIS HAMILTON SEALED his fourth Formula 1 World Championship, after finishing ninth in a dramatic Mexican Grand Prix, won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. (Related: Hamilton — "A horrible way to win title")

    The Dutchman stormed passed the Ferrari of polesitter Sebastian Vettel into Turn 1 immediately after the 800-metre dash to the right-hander when the five red lights went out.

    But while Verstappen went on to cruise to an incident-free race, comfortably finishing 19.6secs ahead of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, team-mate Hamilton and Vettel were both forced to pit at the end of lap one after suffering damage.

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    While the Ferrari required a new nose after suffering front wing damage, Hamilton was forced to limp back to the pits after his right-rear tyre suffered  puncture after being clipped by Vettel. Hamilton rejoined in last place.

    Vettel recovered to finish fourth, reducing  Hamilton's championship lead to 56-points. But with only two grands prix remaining, in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi, meaning only a maximum of 50 points are available, Hamilton won the championship.

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    Throughout the race, the Brit struggled to close back up to the pack, his car hampered by further aero problems at the rear of his car as a result of the first lap contact by Vettel. The German, by contrast, seared through the field  climbing up to seventh before the race was neutralised by the virtual safety car when Brendon Hartley's retired with an engine problem.

    Verstapppen, Bottas, and third-placed Kimi Raikkonen immediately pitted, and all three rejoined retaining their podium places. With a little over half of the race to go, both  Vettel and Hamilton also pitted, fitting ultra-soft and super-soft Pirellis respectively.

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    Both title rivals then restarted their recovery drives. Vettel passed Kevin Magnussen for seventh, while Hamilton passed Romain Grosjean, Pascal Wehrlein, Pierre Gasly and Marcus Ericsson to ease himself into 12th.

    Late on in the race, Hamilton won a thrilling dice with the McLaren of Fernando Alonso to take ninth, before taking the chequered flag and cradling his head in his hands as the reality of his achievement sunk in.

    Hamilton joins Vettel and Alain Prost on four world titles, one ahead of Sir Jackie Stewart’s three titles. Only Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio remain ahead of Hamilton on the all-time list, with seven and five respectively.

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    But while Hamilton and Verstappen celebrated their individual achievements, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was one of several drivers left questioning their Renault engines.

    The Aussie had climbed from 16th on the grid to seventh, but jus five laps into the race he was forced to retire when his engine stopped. Renault driver Carlos Sainz Jr was forced to stop late on after reporting his car was pulling on the straights.  Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg had retired earlier with an engine issue.

    F1 — Mexican Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City (Result):

    1. Max Verstappen NED Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer 71 laps

    2. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +19.6s

    3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari +54.0s

    4. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari +1m 10.0s

    5. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India-Mercedes +1 lap

    6. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing-Mercedes +1 lap

    7. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India-Mercedes +1 lap

    8. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas-Ferrari +1 lap

    9. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +1 lap

    10. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda +1 lap

    11.  Felipe Massa BRA Williams Martini Racing-Mercedes +1 lap

    12.Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren-Honda +1 lap

    13. Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap

    14. Pascal Wehrlein GER Sauber-Ferrari +2 laps

    15. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari +2 laps

    Retired:

    Carlos Sainz Jr ESP Renault Sport F1

    Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber-Ferrari

    Brendon Hartley NZL Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault

    Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport F1

    Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer

    Related: Hamilton wins USGP and closes in on title

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    Jim McGill

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