Max Verstappen made it two consecutive victories at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez as he cruised to a routine win at the Mexican GP.
The Dutchman rewarded Red Bull’s weekend of dominance with maximum points, leading from the first corner to complete arguably his finest career win.
But the occasion will be remembered for the coronation of Lewis Hamilton’s fifth world title, with the Mercedes driver now joining the elite tier of Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher to have only won five or more titles.
Race - as it finished
The high altitude is known to starve engines and this meant there was a very good chance that the terrific chassis of the Red Bull cars would be competitive. Verstappen and his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, proved just that by locking out the front row on Saturday and with the former going on to dominate the race, similarly to that of last year.
Verstappen was untouchable out front as he and Hamilton also had a good start, initially moving ahead of Ricciardo. The Dutchman managed his tires and pace excellently and with the Ferrari and Mercedes team tussling with each other alongside Ricciardo’s Red Bull, Verstappen was able to build a lead and secure the win.
Mercedes and Hamilton ultimately did enough to secure his fifth World Championship and while there is no doubt he would rather have done so by winning the race, the tires were a huge challenge for both he and his teammate, Valtteri Bottas. This meant they had to manage them carefully, alongside their brakes and overheating engines whilst doing nothing silly in order to claim the title.
A good run to populate the remaining steps of the podium from Ferrari with both drivers managing to secure second and third and keep their Constructor’s Championship title fight alive for another race ahead of Mercedes. However, both teams would be somewhat disappointed with how far away they were from the Red Bull pace.
Nico Hulkenberg managed to convert starting seventh on the grid into a sixth place finish and all but secure the team’s fourth place in the Constructor’s Championship. Renault had a slow start to the season and were just eight points ahead of Haas, but in Austin and Mexico, where Hulkenberg has now rediscovered some form, they have extended their lead by a hefty 30 points.
Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a superb afternoon for bringing both Sauber cars home in the points with terrific defensive driving from both. Charles claimed a brilliant seventh with Marcus in ninth.
McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne secured points in eighth place and ended a 14-race streak of pointless results. Toro Rosso took tenth and 11th in their Honda-powered car and with the benefit of some attrition.
Vettel’s bravery and Ricciardo’s disappointment
Sebastian Vettel knew that his chances of staying in the title hunt were minimal coming into the race. But despite putting in a fine performance – including executing a terrific move on Hamilton on lap 39 – to finish second, it wasn’t enough for Vettel to deny Hamilton.
The German inherited that second place after Ricciardo suffered his eighth DNF of the season after his engine appeared to let go on lap 62. It was a cruel twist of fate for the Australian, who had himself looked a shoe-in to make his first ever podium appearance in Mexico City.
It marked another non-finish for Ricciardo, and surely he must have a few concerns about his future Renualt move with yet another reliability issue costing him a podium.
Five star Hamilton
Ultimately, Hamilton deserves a massive congratulations. Since his inaugural year back in 2007, he has been a demonstration of pure racing speed and talent- and with the support of an incredible Mercedes team behind him, he’s been able to dominate in previous years.
However this season, where Ferrari have pushed the German manufacturers to the test, Hamilton has not cracked under the pressure and produced some unstoppable performances.
It’s hard to disapprove of the Brit now being an all-time great.