Britain's Lewis Hamilton celebrated his fifth Formula One world championship after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the Mexican Grand Prix for the second year in a row.
The Mercedes driver finished fourth while his Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel took second place. The Britton has now equaled the five titles of late 1950s Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio with only seven times champion Michael Schumacher above them.
Lewis Hamilton had needed only five points to secure his title while four-time champion Sebastian Vettel had to come first to deny the Britton of his title. “It’s something I dreamed of, but I never in a million years thought I’d be stood here as a five-time champion,” Hamilton told Sky Sports television.
“I’m so grateful for everyone who helped me be here, to raise the bar and lift the cup. “It wasn’t won here, just throughout the season and a lot of hard work,” added the 33-year-old after doing smoking ‘donuts’ in front of a 130,000-strong crowd who witnessed a rare race without a Mercedes driver standing on the podium.
“To complete this when Fangio did it with Mercedes is an incredible feeling and very surreal.” Team boss Toto Wolff hailed Hamilton as a well-deserved champion. “He has really been the dominant driver this year,” said the Austrian.
In a heartwarming sporting gesture, Hamilton hugged Vettel and then ran back to the Mercedes garage to embrace his teammates one by one. “I think he drove superbly all year and was the better one of us two,” said the German, whose season unraveled after the August break. “I told him ‘well deserved’ and to enjoy it. Number five I think is something incredible.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, and Verstappen’s teammate, retired from the race with a smoking engine after starting from pole position. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was third, meaning the constructors’ championship remained open at least until the Brazilian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time with Mercedes’ lead trimmed.
(With inputs from Reuters)