MEXICO CITY, Oct 28 – Britain’s Lewis Hamilton celebrated his fifth Formula One world championship on Sunday after a Mexican Grand Prix won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for the second year in a row. The Mercedes driver, who equalled the five titles of late 1950s Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio with only seven times champion Michael Schumacher ahead of them, finished fourth while Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel took second place.
Hamilton, 33, had needed only five points to be sure of the title while four times champion Vettel had to win to have any hope of denying the Briton.
“That’s how you do it, just like that,” Hamilton heard Hollywood actor Will Smith say over the radio at the checkered flag, ignoring the fact that Hamilton had a far from comfortable afternoon at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.
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.
“It wasn’t won here, just throughout the season and a lot of hard work,” said Hamilton after doing smoking ‘donuts’ at the finish of an unusual race without a Mercedes driver on the podium.
“To complete this when Fangio did it with Mercedes is an incredible feeling and very surreal.”
In a nice sporting gesture, the Briton hugged Vettel and then ran back to the Mercedes garage to embrace his team mates one by one.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Verstappen’s team mate, retired from the race with a smoking engine after starting from pole position. (Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris)