Lewis Hamilton is a five-time F1 world champion

Lewis Hamilton is a five-time F1 world champion”

"You put a lot of work in and okay, I did pay attention in maths, so I could make the numbers, but still you hang in there as long as you can". But could he go on to match Schumacher's tally of seven? For much of this year, Ferrari had the best auto and Sebastian Vettel put it to good use early on.

Hamilton went into the race needing only a seventh place finish to clinch the championship, and eventually came home fourth behind race victor Max Verstappen, with Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen completing the top three.

In a strangely subdued race, most drivers suffered in the heat and attempted to conserve tyres, with Hamilton flying off the line but then struggling to maintain speed and eventually coasted over the line to get the points he needed to claim his crown. And even with Ferrari's mechanical gains, Mercedes shows no signs of slowing down. He got the auto back on the track with any damage, except for a moment's aggravation on his historic day.

"Thanks, legends", shouted a wildly happy Ricciardo over team radio before adding later: "I knew it was in there somewhere - I just knew the pace was in the vehicle - Max showed that all weekend".

Hamilton said afterwards: "I feel very humbled by this whole experience".

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De Gea couldn't do much to stop Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty but had a decent outing in between the sticks. He surges into the area but sees his rising effort brush the fingertips of De Gea on its way over.

Verstappen's performance was described as "incredible" by Red Bull boss Christian Horner, and the Dutchman has admitted he used his frustration from qualifying - he missed out on pole to Daniel Ricciardo by two-hundredths of a second - to spur him on in the race.

Hamilton could have let the Red Bulls ride off from the start, but he'd promised to look for a shot to grab the lead.

Ricciardo's race ended late with engine failure. The straight line power nosed his vehicle in front until Verstappen cut under him at the first corner.

"I felt like I couldn't push the auto to its limit", Verstappen said.

Pilot "Red bull" Daniel Ricardo became the victor of the qualifying heats at the Grand Prix of Mexico.

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Vettel's only hope of delaying the seemingly inevitable is to win while Hamilton need only score five points - a seventh-place finish. But his chance for a win was too far off, Max just too far up the road. A bump from Vettel at the first turn punctured a tire which relegated him to ninth.

On their first runs, Vettel clocked 1:14.970, another record, before Hamilton went second, just 0.052 seconds adrift - until Verstappen blitzed to provisional pole in 1:14.785, almost two-tenths clear.

"The left front tyre is going to be bald", Hamilton moaned over the radio.

"It is not easy today but well deserved for him and I want to congratulate Lewis. I still wasn't convinced, it wasn't the cleanest (lap), but once I heard I got pole I got to relax a little", added the Australian, who is leaving Red Bull for Renault at the end of the year.

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