MEXICO CITY — A round-up of the best talking points from the Mexican Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton clinched the 2018 world championship and Max Verstappen returned to the top step of the podium.
Mr Five Time: It’s been a foregone conclusion for a while, but Hamilton’s result was enough to secure his fifth world championship. Much like his drive to ninth here in Mexico last year, which clinched his fourth championship, it will not rank very highly on his list of his career drives, but his stellar performances leading into this means Hamilton did not need to produce an all-time classic to wrap it all up.
It doesn’t matter how he did it, this has been the most impressive season of Hamilton’s career so far. The scary thing for his rivals must be the fact he is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
The GOAT?: You’re going to hear a lot of it in the next few weeks and months, but Hamilton’s achievement this year has got tongues wagging about where he stands in relationship to Formula One’s other great champions. Whatever you think about him, his name is firmly in that conversation now and is likely to strengthen his credentials in the next few years.
Back to back for Max: Max Verstappen missed out the chance to become F1’s youngest-ever pole-sitter on Saturday, but he made amends in fine style on Sunday afternoon. Once he got the jump on the man who had denied him another record in the history books, teammate Daniel Ricciardo, off the line, he turned in a flawless display. The Dutchman is in the form of his life right now.
Déjà vu for Danny Ric: The Red Bull driver’s emotions changed completely in 24 hours. Daniel Ricciardo must be wondering what he did to upset Lady Luck after his Monaco Grand Prix victory, as his solid race ended with a Renault engine failure in the final stages of the race.
He might be leaving the team a the end of the year, but Christian Horner’s pained expression from the pit wall said all you needed to know: the team was so determined to see his difficult recent run come to an end in Mexico City.
Shock: It ended with a celebration, but this was not a good grand prix performance from Mercedes. Once the party stops, the inquest will begin.
Both its drivers endured a very difficult middle stint, locking up and running wide at Turn 1 as the tyres fell off a cliff. Tyre blistering was an issue in Austin but the team soon discovered that was caused by an imbalanced car — the fact it struggled much worse than Mercedes and Red Bull in the same department this weekend will be a cause for confusement and concern.
Shocker: The last few years of Fernando Alonso’s career have been difficult to watch, but this farewell tour is getting worse and worse. His car was caught up in an incident at the start which forced an early retirement.
Overtake of the race: Sebastian Vettel has come under a lot of criticism this year, but he deserves credit when it’s due — his move on Daniel Ricciardo on lap 33 for third position was superb. He closed in using the DRS and stuck his car on the inside of the apex, getting it done cleanly.
Driver of the day: This could go to a few people, but one name in the top ten stood out: Stoffel Vandoorne, who scored his first points of the season. The Belgian’s poor form has prompted his departure from F1 at the end of the year but it’s nice to see him secure a strong result before leaving McLaren.