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Mexican GP 2018

OCTOBER 28, 2018

Race Notes - Verstappen wins in Mexico, Hamilton takes title

Max Verstappen, Mexican GP 2018
© RV Press

By Mark Karp

Max Verstappen took the lead into the first corner of the race, and held it through the end to win the Mexican Grand Prix, in Mexico City today in his Red Bull-Renault. Lewis Hamilton finished fifth and clinched the Drivers World Champion for a fifth time.

Verstappen won over Sebastian Vettel (17.3s) in his Ferrari, followed by his team mate Kimi Raikkonen (49.9s) in third place.

Verstappen takes his fifth career win.

Hamilton wins his fifth World Championship, and ties Juan Manuel Fangio, and is now second all-time behind Michael Schumacher with seventh championships.

Lewis Hamilton (78.7s) in his Mercedes stuggled with his tyres to finish in fourth, but took the title in the end. He was followed by his team mate Valtteri Bottas (1 Lap) in fifth place, Nico Hulkenberg (2 Laps) in the Renault was sixth, Charles Leclerc in the Sauber-Ferrari was seventh, Stoffel Vandoorne in the McLaren-Renault was eighth, Marcus Ericsson in the second Sauber was ninth and Pierre Gasly in the Toro Rosso-Honda finished in the final point position in tenth place.

Before the start, Daniel Ricciardo sat on pole with his Red Bull team mate Verstappen alongside. Hamilton and Vettel took row two, Bottas and Raikkonen row three, the Renaults of Hulkeberg and Carlos Sainz on row four, and the Saubers of Leclerc and Ericsson rounding out the top ten.

Drivers are hoping to complete the race on only one pitstop today, but with the track temperatures up to 30 deg celsius this might be tough to accomplish. The top three teams starting on ultrasoft tyres, Renault and Sauber on hypersofts. Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez and Fernano Alonso on supersoft tyres.

If Hamilton finishes in seventh place or better today, he will clinch his fifth drivers championship, no matther where Vettel finishes.

At the appointed time the grid came around on the formation lap, the lights went out and the race began with Ricciardo gets a slow start and Verstappen and Hamilton get past the Australian. Bottas and Vettel touch, but continue.

On lap 1, Ocon and Brendon Hartley pit fro damage.

On lap 2 Verstappen leads Hamilton, Ricciardo and Vettel,

Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m20.959s.

On lap 4 Alonso is smoking and he pulls off the track and retires with damage. The virtual safety car is deployed.

Pierre Gasly pits and changes to supersoft tyres, and rejoins last.

The virtual safety car ends and the race continues, with Vertappen in the lead by 1.8s.

On lap 7 Hamilton is complaining about his tyres, while Verstappen sets fastest lap at 1m20.923s.

At lap 10 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 5.2s, followed by Ricciardo (6.4s), Vettel (9.0s), Bottas (15.8s), Raikkonen (18.5s),

On lap 11, Hamilton, Bottas, Sainz all pit for supersoft tyres.

On lap 12 Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Vandoorne all pit for supersoft tyres.

On lap 13 Verstappen pits from the lead changing to supersoft tyres and rejoins in third.

Vettel leads over Raikkonen.

Perez passes Ericsson for seventh place. Sainz passes Ericsson as well.

Verstappen passes Raikkonen for second place, and sets fast lap at 1m20.299s.

On lap 17 Hamilton closes on Raikkonen in third, and passes him into the first corner for second place - Ricciardo follows him through for third.

Vettel pits from the lead for suoersoft tyres and rejoins in fourth, Raikkonen pits as well for supersofts and rejoins in sixth.

Leclerc passes Romain Grosjean for 11th place.

Perez and the two Haases yet to pit.

At lap 20 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 8.8 seconds, followed by Ricciardo (11.2s), Vettel (13.2s), Bottas (18.4s), Raikkonen (31.3s), Perez (49.5s), Sainz (54.0s), Hulkenberg (58.3s) and Kevin Magnussen (64.3s) in tenth place.

On lap 22, Vettel asks “what did you do with the front wing?"

On lap 24 Hamilton tells the team that he is struggling on his tyres.

On lap 25 Lance Stroll pits for a second time.

On lap 26 Leclerc passes Magnussen for tenth place.

Red Bull reports to Verstappen, “this is not going to be straight forward to the end of the race Max, maybe one or two more stops.”, and “look after your tyres, there’s a lot of trouble behind."

On lap 28 Gasly pits for a second time, and runs in 19th.

Vettel is closing on Ricciardo in third, and looks for a way by him.

At lap 30 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 13.0s, followed by Ricciardo (19.7s), Vettel (21.6s), Bottas (30.1s), Raikkonen (37.8s), Perez (83.5s), Hulkenberg (1 lap), Leclerc and Magnussen in tenth place.

On lap 31 Sainz pulls off the track, and the safety car is deployed. Ocon and Perez both pit.

On lap 33 the VSC period ends and the race continues.

On lap 34 Vettel passes Ricciardo at the first corner for third place.

Perez is battling with Leclerc for eighth place, and Perez passes him.

At half distance Verstappen continues to lead Hamilton by 13 seconds, while Vettel is closing on Hamilton.

On lap 38 Hartley is closing on Ericsson for 12th.

On lap 39 Vettel passes Hamilton for second place at the first corner.

Perez is slowing with brake issues and he retires in the pits.

At lap 40 Verstappen leads Vettel by 14.3 seconds, followed by Hamilton (19.0s), Ricciardo (22.4s), Bottas (28.5s), Raikkonen (23.7s), Hulkenberg (1 lap), Leclerc, Magnussen, and Vandoorne in tenth.

On lap 41 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m20.263s. and then again the next lap at 1m20.260s.

Ocon and Hartley battle, both ending up with some damage.

Both Hamilton and Vettel complaining of vibrations with these tyres.

Ricciardo is closing on Hamilton in third place.

On lap 46 Magnussen pits.

On lap 47 Hamilton locks up his brakes going into the first turn and goes off the road and over the grass, and Ricciardo passes him for third place.

Vettel pits from second for ultrasoft tyres. Hamilton pits for ultrasoft tyres as well, Vettel rejoins in third, Hamilton sixth.

Bottas locks up just like Hamilton and Raikkonen passes him. Bottas pits for ultrasoft tyres.

On lap 49 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m19.522s.

At lap 50 Verstappen leads Ricciardo by 6.2 seconds, followed by Vettel (8.3s), Raikkonen (17.9s), Hamilton (31,8s), Bottas (48.1s), Hulkenberg (1 lap), Leclerc, Vandoorne and Ericsson in tenth place.

Hartley is handed a 5-second penalty for causing a collision.

Hamilton complains that something still is not right, as he is not able to keep pace with his rivals..

On lap 54 Gasly and Ocon battle for 12th.

Vettel on fresher tyres closes to under a second behind Ricciardo in second place.

On lap 57 Ricciardo sets fast lap at 1m19.462s.

At lap 60 Verstappen leads Ricciardo by 11.4 seconds, followed by Vettel (13.1s), Raikkonen (35.9s), Hamilton (53.4s), Bottas (75.2s), Hulkenberg (1 lap), Leclerc, Vandoorne and Ericsson in tenth.

On lap 62 Ricciardo’s Red Bull starts smoking and he slows and pulls off the track and retires with suspected hydraulic issues. The virtual safety car comes out once again.

On lap 63 Bottas pits for hypersoft tyres and rejoins still in fifth place.

The VSC period ends, and Verstappen continues to lead by 14 seconds, and tells the team that if they need to turn the engine down, that they should just do it.

On lap 65 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m18.741s.

They hold positions to the end with Verstappen winning over Vettel and Raikkonen.

On the cool down lap The Fresh Prince comes on the radio and tells Hamilton, “Hey Lewis, congrats man, thats how you do it baby, just like I taught you! That;s how you do it, just like that, that’s how your supposed to drive."

Hamilton takes the title, and after says he had, “a horrible race”, but that “a big thank you to my team. Bono said it wasn’t won here, it was won with a lot of hard wortk across a lot of races. It is an increadble feeling, and very, very surreal."