The Mexican Grand Prix gave Max Verstappen another victory to add to his already impressive tally, but the main news came when Lewis Hamilton brought his Mercedes home in a curiously distant 4th position to secure his fifth World Championship.
The Mercedes lull in form is truly baffling, and some might say the rise to the top of Red Bull – who locked out the front row with Daniel Ricciardo taking pole position – equally so, yet Verstappen was on it from the word go.
At the start, the young Dutchman took the lead into the first corner and, bar the pit stop sections, would not be troubled at the front. His team mate’s poor luck continued, however, with Ricciardo pulling out with mechanical problems on lap 62 while looking set for at least 2nd place.
Tyre Wear Problems
The main problem for the drivers here was one of extreme tyre wear. Indeed, the Mercedes in particular was getting through rubber very quickly, and Red Bull had to warn Verstappen more than once to take care of his tyres.
In terms of action this was not the greatest race – although one suspects that had Ricciardo continued it may have been more of a fight at the front – and Sebastian Vettel did all he could to keep his and Ferrari’s title hopes alive, but ultimately second place was all he could manage.
Kimi Raikkonen drove another fine race to 3rd position, but in truth neither Ferrari nor Mercedes were ever in contention here.
Verstappen ultimately took the flag some 17 seconds ahead of Vettel, with Raikkonen in third, 50 seconds from the front. Hamilton cruised to a distant – almost a lap behind – 4th with his team mate Valtteri Bottas a lapped 5th.
Nico Hulkenberg brought the Renault home for more points in sixth position, with Charles Leclerc in the Sauber next. Stoffel Vandoorne finished a decent 8th with perhaps his best race of the season for McLaren, while Marcus Ericsson, for Sauber, and Pierre Gasly in the Toro Rosso took the final points. All from Hulkenberg down were 2 laps behind.
Hamilton now goes on record as having matched the great Juan Manuel Fangio with his 5th World Title, with only Michael Schumacher’s 7 titles still to beat.