MX23RW : Wednesday, October 30 00:12:26| >> :600:123396:123396:

Mexican Grand Prix: Five things we learned as Lewis Hamilton closes in on title

Mexican Grand Prix: Five things we learned as Lewis Hamilton closes in on title
© Reuters
Lewis Hamilton was made to wait for the title.

Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of winning his sixth world championship after taking the chequered flag at Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix.

The British driver now needs to finish only eighth in Austin on Sunday to clinch this season's title.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from the 18th round of the campaign in Mexico.

History beckons for Hamilton

Hamilton took his victory tally for the season to 10, and his career total to 83, after he was crowned the surprise winner of Sunday's race in Mexico. It appears inconceivable that the British driver will now fail to move ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio, and to within one of Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven, in Texas in just six days' time. Indeed, an eighth-placed finish will be enough for Hamilton at a venue he has triumphed on five of his previous seven visits. Hamilton and his Mercedes team should never have been in the hunt to win in Mexico's capital city, with both Ferrari and Red Bull boasting superior machinery. But the tactical brilliance of Mercedes' pit-wall, matched with the superb Hamilton at the wheel, is an almost unbeatable combination – and it is why the Briton is on the brink of securing his fifth title in six magical years.

Vettel jokes Hamilton is lucky

Mercedes stopped Hamilton for tyres eight laps after pole-sitter Charles Leclerc, and 14 laps before Sebastian Vettel. It proved to be a mathematical masterstroke, with Hamilton expertly executing his team's one-stop strategy. But as Hamilton stood alongside Vettel in the television pen, the Ferrari driver joked that his rival was fortunate to take the spoils. "He got massively lucky by pitting for tyres so early," said Vettel, putting his arm around Hamilton. "If you are a woman on this planet and you have this guy giving you a massage like the way he treated his tyres, then it is pure magic." Vettel's jovial remarks could not hide the fact that his Ferrari team endured another underwhelming afternoon. They started one and two, but finished second and fourth. Ferrari might have the best car, but they are tactically well short of Mercedes. It is an area at which they must improve over the winter or face another season of woe in 2020.

Verstappen made to pay for mistakes

There is a solid argument to say that Max Verstappen should have won for a third consecutive time at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Verstappen put his Red Bull on pole, but then talked himself into a three-place grid penalty. He ran off the road with Hamilton at the second corner, dropping further down the field, before colliding with Valtteri Bottas on lap four and suffering a right-rear puncture. To his credit, Verstappen then completed the remaining 66 laps on only one set of tyres, while navigating his way from last to sixth. But the Dutchman, who last won at the German Grand Prix in July, will head to Austin wondering what might have been.

Steady Albon set to be retained by Red Bull

  • Belgium - Fifth
  • Italy - Sixth
  • Singapore - Sixth
  • Russia - Fifth
  • Japan - Fourth
  • Mexico - Fifth

Alex Albon made the first big mistake of his Red Bull career when he crashed out of second practice here on Friday. But the London-born rookie recovered to split the Mercedes drivers and qualify fifth. He ran as high as third in the race, but a two-stop strategy cost him two positions. Following his mid-season promotion from Toro Rosso, the 23-year-old has finished fifth, sixth, sixth, fifth, fourth and fifth. And it is that sort of consistency which is set to earn him a full season with Red Bull in 2020.

F1 bosses abandon reverse grids

Ross Brawn was frustrated by opposition to reverse-grid races
Ross Brawn was frustrated by opposition to reverse-grid races (David Davies/PA)

It emerged in Mexico that Formula One chiefs have been forced to abandon plans to stage reverse-grid races next year. The sport's American owners Liberty Media held talks with the teams about revamping qualifying in a bid to spice up the show. The proposal was to trial a reverse-grid race, determined by championship order, at three rounds next year. The outcome of which would settle the starting positions of Sunday's grand prix. Hamilton and Vettel were both critical of the plans, and their respective Mercedes and Ferrari teams are understood to have voted down the idea. Ross Brawn, F1's managing director, said: "The teams initially agreed with it and then two teams put their hand up at the last meeting and said they wouldn't. It's frustrating."

body check tags ::
Share this article now:
Instagram - Follow Sports Mole
Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race on the podium whilst wearing a sombrero on October 27, 2019
Read Next:
Jenson Button hails Lewis Hamilton's Mexico win as 'one of his best'
>

EFL Cup
La Liga
Serie A
National League
Scottish Championship
Scottish League Two
Coupe de la Ligue
DFB-Pokal
Belgian Pro League
EFL Trophy
Serie B
Scottish Challenge Cup
Argentine Primera Division
Liga MX

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!