Max Verstappen has won the Mexican Grand Prix for Team Red Bull, while teammate Daniel Ricciardo retired with 10 laps remaining after starting on the pole.
Lewis Hamilton needed only to finish the race and he managed to run fourth, despite having a rough day. The only thing that could have delayed the inevitable when Sebastian Vettel, who ran second, needed to win and have Hamilton finish seventh or lower.
It is hard to imagine the number seven being part of Hamilton’s vocabulary. He has just the one DNF this year and outside of a fifth in the Canadian Grand Prix and a fourth in China and now this one is Mexico, he has finished every race on the podium, along with nine wins.
Ricciardo is nearly tied with Hamilton, if the comparison was one based on retirements versus victories. He has failed to finish eight times over the season and Mexico marked the fourth of those eight since he stunned everybody with his announcement that he was leaving Red Bull for Renault.
Daniel did have his eye on a seat with Mercedes or Ferrari, but when those teams did not offer a contract, Ricciardo had to settle for Renault.
Hamilton won his fifth F1 drivers’ championship, putting him level with Juan Manuel Fangio, to which Hamilton said of the achievement, “I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13 so to complete this – Fangio had done it with Mercedes – it’s an incredible feeling and very surreal at the moment.”
Anyone who viewed F1 racing as processional in nature, even when the championship is not yet decided, will see two more races in the 2018 fixture where Mercedes could win with a crash test dummy in the seat normally occupied by Hamilton.
Provided they start at the front of the grid, that is.