Lewis Hamilton Claims Fifth Formula One Season Title, Finishing Fourth at Mexican Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton Claims Fifth Formula One Season Title, Finishing Fourth at Mexican Grand Prix

MEXICO CITY — Lewis Hamilton won his fifth career Formula One championship with a fourth-place finish Sunday at the Mexican Grand Prix, a race dominated by Max Verstappen.

Hamilton’s season championship was all but assured, and after a brief bid for the lead off the start and a scary run off the track late, he finished off the title with a drive further into the series record books. The Mercedes driver from England tied Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina for the second-most titles. Only Michael Schumacher of Germany, with seven, has more.

“I feel like I still drive with that fire that I had when I was 8 years old,” said Hamilton, who called Fangio “the godfather” and Schumacher the greatest. “I’m here for a few more years, so hopefully I’ll get close.”

The 33-year-old Hamilton won titles with McLaren in 2008 and with Mercedes in 2014, 2015 and 2017. He also clinched last season’s title in Mexico City.

Verstappen, a Red Bull driver, earned his fifth career victory and defended his 2017 race win.

This title, clinched with two races left, perhaps ranks among Hamilton’s best. For the second consecutive year, he fended off a strong challenge from Ferrari in a season in which the Italian team often had the stronger car. Sebastian Vettel finished second on Sunday, and his fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen took third. Hamilton had extended his deal with Mercedes through 2020.

“I always believed we could win this championship, but it was one of the toughest,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton’s drive was not the leisure trip he had hoped for, as he complained of problems with the car and tires much of the race. He even had a drive off into the grass when he missed the corner out of the long straight at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez. He got the car back on the track without any damage, except for a moment’s aggravation.

“A very, very surreal moment,” Hamilton said of his championship. “It was a horrible race. I was just trying to bring the car home.”

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