Published: Thu, November 01, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Hamilton remains on track for fifth world championship title

Hamilton remains on track for fifth world championship title

The British driver needed just seven points at the Mexican Grand Prix to put him out of reach of title rival Sebastian Vettel with two races to spare.

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning his fifth drivers' title during the F1 Mexico Grand Prix at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City on October 28, 2018. "I thought it was going to be enough with the problems we had, but it's still good to be second". Red Bull have only ever sealed pole at the high-downforce Monaco and Mexico tracks in the power-friendly hybrid era.

In last year's race, Hamilton clashed with Vettel off the line, but the Mercedes driver is eyeing an aggressive start on Sunday. I really do aspire to be like him as a strong black man and as a father and as a human being, doing what he did in the hard times and with the little that he had, I think that's testament to where we are.

The 21-year-old even frequently instructed his Red Bull team to turn his engine down after watching Ricciardo retire from the race with another mechanical failure.

But the 21-year-old endured no such problem in the closing laps of a race he led for the most part, having built up a cushion of nearly 15 seconds over Vettel. "Being behind the Red Bulls is not a bad thing".

The Englishman performed a series of celebratory doughnuts in his Mercedes for the 40,000-strong crowd in the former baseball stadium section of this unique Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez venue, before standing on top of the auto to salute them.

"I didn't sleep very well last night", said Verstappen.

"So, I don't know?- it really depends how we get away, but third place is a nice place to start because you get a good tow from the guys ahead".

Vettel's tilt for victory saw him pull off impressive overtakes on Ricciardo and Hamilton over the course of the race, but he ultimately finished as runner-up to Verstappen.

Verstappen led the way for nearly the entire weekend, leading every session bar Q1 on the way to the top-10 shootout, and the Dutchman took provisional pole after the first runs with a healthy 0.185-second margin while Ricciardo languished nearly 0.3 seconds further down the order.

"So I told him well deserved and to enjoy it - number five is something incredible".

Stoffel Vandoorne enjoyed a rare afternoon of success, finishing eighth for McLaren, while Sauber's Marcus Ericsson was ninth and Pierre Gasly 10th for Toro Rosso.

World championship leader Lewis Hamilton, pictured October 7, 2018, struggled with tyre-wear and lack of mechanical grip with his Mercedes auto as he and team-mate Valtteri Bottas were outpaced.

It was an admirable effort from Vettel to stave off the inevitable and keep the title race alive - just about - heading to Brazil for the penultimate race of the season.

His exit from the race marked the Aussie's sixth retirement in the past 11 grands prix.

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