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5 things we learned from the Mexican Grand Prix

5 things we learned from the Mexican Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton sealed his fifth world championship on Sunday following an incident-packed Mexican Grand Prix.

The 33-year-old finished fourth at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to emulate Juan Manuel Fangio’s tally of titles.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things we learned from Sunday’s race.

1. Title number five is Hamilton’s best

There was no fighting back the tears, no wild scenes of celebration, but rather a quiet air of content about Hamilton on Sunday evening.

The Mercedes star had just secured his fifth championship, becoming only the third driver in Formula One history to do so, yet this triumph in the thin air of Mexico City didn’t possess the drama of his first title in 2008, or the relief of beating his bitter foe, Nico Rosberg at the season-decider in Abu Dhabi six years later.

Nor did it have the pantomime of his 2015 title triumph – where Rosberg threw a cap at Hamilton in the Austin cool-down room – or the fightback from last to ninth in Mexico in 2017.

Instead, this was simply a professional job by a driver at the peak of his powers. Hamilton hasn’t put a foot wrong on, or off the track this season (and we haven’t always been able to say that).

Yes, there was a feeling of inevitability about his championship here – the foundations of which were laid by his stunning win in Italy and sizzling pole lap in Singapore a fortnight later – but this is a man now comfortable in his own skin, performing at his very best, and surely destined for even greater success.

2. Too little, too late for Vettel

It goes without saying that Hamilton’s championship charge has been aided by Sebastian Vettel’s implosion, and, at the last count, the Ferrari driver’s nine significant mistakes this year.

Vettel’s display in Mexico was probably his best since the summer break, as he passed both Daniel Ricciardo and Hamilton en route to second place. Indeed, it may provide him with the confidence he needs to get out of his current malaise.

Vettel portrayed a crestfallen figure on Sunday night, and there can be little denying that the reputation of a driver, one which can boast 52 wins and four championships, has taken a severe battering.

How he responds in 2019 could now define his legacy.  But with his able rear-gunner Kimi Raikkonen to be replaced by Charles Leclerc – the young man Ferrari believe to be their star of the future – and Hamilton going from strength-to-strength at Mercedes, it could prove Vettel’s toughest fight yet.

3. Ricciardo rages after another DNF

What a difference a day makes.

After putting his Red Bull on pole, Ricciardo was then beaten to the first corner by his team-mate and eventual winner Max Verstappen, before he retired following yet another mechanical failure (his eighth of the year, which is more than any other driver) with just nine laps remaining.

Since he announced his shock move from Red Bull to Renault for 2019, his results have made for sorry reading: DNF, DNF, 6th, 6th, 4th, DNF, DNF. And on Sunday night, the Australian threatened to throw in the towel for the remainder of the year.

Where I am now, I don’t see the point of doing the next two races,” he said. “The car is cursed. I’m done with it.”

4. Alonso’s career ending with a whimper

A highlight of the Mexican Grand Prix was a local reporter, named Fernando Alonso, posing questions to the drivers.

“I never thought Fernando would be asking me questions,” Hamilton said with a smile. Yet, one wonders whether the real Fernando Alonso may be better off joining his namesake with a move to the media.

The double world champion qualified 12th here, but retired in the opening stages after running over debris from Esteban Ocon’s Force India.

He has now failed to finish in the points since the Singapore Grand Prix [four races], and with McLaren’s form unlikely to improve, it’s a streak which could extend into the final two rounds of his career.

5. Mexico race chiefs show how it’s done

The 2018 Mexico Grand Prix brought a bit of colour (PA)

Hamilton’s title triumph was watched by a sell-out 135,000 crowd at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with the Mexican race proving a runaway hit since it returned to the calendar in 2015.

Grid girls have been banned by F1, but organisers spiced up the show with live music and theatrics before the race, while the paddock was filled to the rafters, too. Bravo, Mexico.



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