F1: Verstappen takes the race, Hamilton takes the title

Lewis Hamilton won his fourth world title to become the most successful British driver in F1 history. Via Getty Images.

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) may have won the Mexican Grand Prix, but all eyes were on the ninth-place finish of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), which was just enough for the British driver to take the 2017 title and become a four-time world champion.

At the start, Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) led from pole ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton on the approach into the first turn. The Dutchman forced his way past the Ferrari at Turn 2 to take the lead, leaving the door open on the outside of the following turn for Hamilton.

However, as the Mercedes driver went past, Vettel was fighting his car to combat the oversteer on the exit of Turn 3 and consequently hit Hamilton’s rear wheel with the front wing.

The after effects of this caused Hamilton to pick up a puncture and pit at the end of the opening lap, as did Vettel for a new nose cone and tyres; both of whom opted for the soft compound.

Back at the front Verstappen led comfortably from Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), with his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo moving up from sixteenth to eighth place within the first few laps. Unfortunately, his efforts were in vain as he would soon retire due to an engine issue.

As Vettel began to move up the field and attempt to keep his championship chances intact, Hamilton struggled to make progress and was lapped by Verstappen before he eventually got passed Carlos Sainz Jr. (Renault) for eighteenth.

Despite the drop in overall pace, Mercedes reported that there was no suggestion of harm to the car on the telemetry, although it was later revealed that the car did in fact have a damaged diffuser.

The Virtual Safety Car was deployed as the race reached its midpoint after Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso) became another driver to retire with engine difficulties. This caused a chain reaction of pit stops, with Verstappen maintaining his lead ahead of Bottas.

Further back, Vettel changed onto another set of soft tyres as he had used up his ultra-soft tyres earlier in the weekend, whilst Hamilton changed onto a set of super soft tyres.

The German needed to finish in second to stay in title contention for the penaltimute race in Brazil, but was too far behind and ended up in fourth place, with Verstappen victorious ahead of Bottas and Kimi Rӓikkӧnen (Ferrari).

In addition to this, Hamilton managed to salvage ninth place which was enough to secure his fourth Formula One world championship but admitted “It was a horrible way to do it”.

Vettel also congratulated his rival on his success, stating “Lewis has done a superb job all year and deserves to win the title. Congratulations to him. It is his day”.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon managed to equal his best finish Formula One with fifth, ahead of Lance Stroll (Williams) and team-mate Sergio Perez.  

Kevin Magnussen managed to beat Hamilton to eighth place in the Haas, closing their gap to Renault in the constructors standings, with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso claiming the last point in tenth.

As well as Ricciardo and Hartley, the Renault’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Sainz Jr. retired because of an engine failure, as did Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.

2017 Mexican Grand Prix Official Classification:

Pos. Driver (Nationality), Team Time/Reason for Retirement
1 Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing TAG-Heuer 1:36:26.552
2 Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Mercedes AMG Petronas +19.678
3 Kimi Rӓikkӧnen (FIN), Scuderia Ferrari +54.007
4 Sebastian Vettel (DEU), Scuderia Ferrari +70.078
5 Esteban Ocon (FRA), Force India-Mercedes +1 Lap
6 Lance Stroll (CAN), Williams-Mercedes +1 Lap
7 Sergio Perez (MEX), Force India-Mercedes +1 Lap
8 Kevin Magnussen (DEN), Haas-Ferrari +1 Lap
9 Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG Petronas +1 Lap
10 Fernando Alonso (ESP), McLaren-Honda +1 Lap
11 Felipe Massa (BRA), Williams-Mercedes +1 Lap
12 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL), McLaren-Honda +1 Lap
13 Pierre Gasly (FRA), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault +1 Lap
14 Pascal Wehrlein (DEU), Sauber-Ferrari +2 Laps
15 Romain Grosjean (FRA), Haas-Ferrari +2 Laps
Not Classified
Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP), Renault Engine Failure
Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Sauber-Ferrari Engine Failure
Brendon Hartley (NZL), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault Engine Failure
Nico Hulkenberg (DEU), Renault Engine Failure
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer Engine Failure


2017 Formula One Drivers’ Standings after Round Eighteen:

Pos. Driver (Nationality), Team Points
1 Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG Petronas 333
2 Sebastian Vettel (DEU), Scuderia Ferrari 277
3 Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Mercedes AMG Petronas 262
4 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Red Bull Racing TAG-Heuer 192
5 Kimi Rӓikkӧnen (FIN), Scuderia Ferrari 178
6 Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing TAG-Heuer 148
7 Sergio Perez (MEX), Force India-Mercedes 92
8 Esteban Ocon (FRA), Force India-Mercedes 83
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault/Renault 54
10 Lance Stroll (CAN), Williams-Mercedes 40
11 Felipe Massa (BRA), Williams-Mercedes 36
12 Nico Hulkenberg (DEU), Renault 34
13 Romain Grosjean (FRA), Haas-Ferrari 28
14 Kevin Magnussen (DEN), Haas-Ferrari 19
15 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL), McLaren-Honda 13
16 Fernando Alonso (ESP), McLaren-Honda 11
17 Jolyon Palmer (GBR), Renault 8
18 Pascal Wehrlein (DEU), Sauber-Ferrari 5
19 Daniil Kvyat (RUS), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault 5
20 Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Sauber-Ferrari 0
21 Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA), Sauber-Ferrari 0
22 Pierre Gasly (FRA), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault 0
23 Brendon Hartley (NZL), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault 0