Lewis Hamilton wins Mexican GP but must wait for F1 title
October 28 2019 , 11:50 am
Lewis Hamilton won the Mexican Grand Prix with a superbly controlled drive in a tactical fight with Ferrari to move to the brink of the world title.
Hamilton will clinch his sixth championship at the US Grand Prix next Sunday as long as he does not lose more than 22 points to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton triumphed in a tense, slow-burn race of divergent strategies between the four Mercedes and Ferrari drivers.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was second, ahead of Bottas and Charles Leclerc.
The four men closed up in the final laps as their different tactics came together.
While Mercedes could congratulate themselves on gambling on a one-stop strategy with a long second stint to gain track position on Vettel and then hold off the German to the end, there will be questions over Ferrari’s decisions.
The Italian team twice gave up the lead, first with pole position winner Charles Leclerc, who was pitted out of first position after 15 laps to stick to a two-stop strategy decided before the race.
And Vettel took his strategy into his own hands to decide to do the same when Hamilton made his stop.
Ferrari had the chance to pit on the next lap and retain the lead, but Vettel suggested they “leave him to it”, a decision that meant they would stop later and try to come back at Hamilton at the end of the race on fresher tyres.
Vettel had tyres that were 14 laps fresher than Hamilton’s for the climax to the race, but the reigning champion was more than capable of holding the Ferrari back.
The US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. One of Hamilton’s favourite races, on a great track near a great city. Hamilton will surely clinch the title there – and he will be determined to do it in style, on a track where he has won five times in the last seven years.
Hamilton: “We came here thinking we were on the back foot but we pulled through, I had quite a bit of damage on the car so the race was quite a struggle but I kept my head down. It felt like a long second stint but I am so grateful today.
“I don’t mind (not clinching the title yet). I love racing and just take it one race at a time. This is a race I have wanted to win for some time and it has always been a bit tricky for us. everything held together and the team did the best strategy, holding off the Ferraris was not easy in the end.”
Vettel: “Surprisingly, the hard tyres worked really well. It was an intense race because there was no break.
“It was a good race but here and there with strategy we could have been a bit stronger.”
Bottas: “I enjoyed, considering yesterday. The start was quite tricky – I dropped a place. But I don’t think we could have done much more today.”