Formula 1: Verstappen wins in Mexico as Hamilton clinches fourth Championship
Max Verstappen has won the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix after snatching the lead from polesitter Sebastian Vettel in the first two corners of the race. Starting from the front row, the Red Bull driver quickly took the lead after a brief bump with Vettel’s Ferrari. Vettel subsequently made contact with Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, causing damage to the Vettel’s front wing, and a puncture Hamilton’s right-rear tyre. However, Hamilton just managed to grab the points required to clinch his fourth Formula One Drivers’ World Championship, an equal number of titles to Vettel who was his main challenger this season.
The Vettel-Hamilton carnage gifted podium places to their teammates — Mercedes’ Valterri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen finished second and third respectively. Vettel ultimately made his way back up to fourth, but needed to finish first or second to remain in the running for the Championship. Finishing behind Vettel were the Force India of Esteban Ocon with an equal career-best finish of fifth, and the Williams of Lance Stroll, who earned eight points after starting 11th to take him ahead of veteran teammate Felipe Massa in the standings in his rookie season.
Ocon’s Force India teammate Sergio Pérez finished sixth in his home race, ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas in what started as a difficult weekend for the American team. Behind them in ninth was the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, scoring just two points, but enough to take the Championship with 333 points to Vettel’s 277. Even if Vettel wins the next two races, the most points he can score is 50 for a total of 227. Fernando Alonso brought his McLaren across the finish line in 10th, only his third points finish this season but a good result having started 18th due to grid penalties for taking on additional power unit components.
Felipe Massa finished just outside the points, bringing his Williams home in 11th, ahead of the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne and the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly in what was the Frenchman’s first Mexican Grand Prix. Rounding out the finishers were the 14th-placed Sauber of Pascal Wehrlein and the second Haas of Romain Grosjean.
The two Renaults of Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr failed to finish, as did the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley, and the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson. Ricciardo retired on lap five due to lack of power which was later traced to a broken turbocharger, having made it up from 16th to seventh. Hülkenberg retired due to electrical issues on lap 24. Hartley pulled over on lap 30, his car blowing smoke and fire and requiring a virtual safety car. Ericsson retired in the pits on lap 55 with his engine on fire as a result of cooling problems, possibly linked to the thin air at the high-altitude circuit. Sainz pulled into the pits to retire on lap 59 complaining of handling problems after flat-spotting one of his tyres.
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