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|
|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|