It all came down to the Mexican Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton needed a 5th place finish to win his fourth world championship and Sebastian needed a win and for some sort of attrition to keep Lewis out of fifth.
Max Verstappen, who had nothing to lose and a win to gain, had a good start and got alongside Vettel to take the lead but not before the two came together clipping a chunk of Vettel’s front wing off. Lewis Hamilton got along side of Verstappen and Vettel, seeking to take advantage of the Verstappen/Vettel battle and take the lead, but also came together with Vettel causing a flat right rear tire on Hamilton’s car.
If there was a glimpse of keeping the championship battle alive to Brazil, this was it as Hamilton had to box and came out last. However, it still required Vettel, who also had to box for a new nose, to finish 2nd or better regardless of what Hamilton did. That was a tall order for Seb and Ferrari.
The compounding issue for Sebastian was that Lewis’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was running in second and that was going to be the biggest brick wall to Seb’s attempt to reaching second place. The issues Renault was facing with so many Renault-powered cars failing to finish sent shockwaves through Red Bull with Verstappen leading and for Ferrari, they needed Max to have a DNF to free up the second-place spot.
In the end, Sebastian had a terrific recovery drive and race but with Max Verstappen’s third grand prix victory and Valtteri Bottas securing second, the championship was Lewis Hamilton’s and it was his fourth world title. He’s the most successful British driver in history and that’s an incredible accomplishment for the kid from a couch in Stevenage! It’s a powerful message for all those kids sleeping on a couch in Stevenage…chin up, this could happen to you.
A big win, his third in fact, for Max Verstappen who managed to race his way past the corpses of Renault-powered cars to finish, nay, cruise to victory in Mexico. A gutsy move at turn one and the 20-year-old knew he had nothing to lose but a heck of a lot to gain. Without the 7 DNF’s he had earlier this season, it goes a long way for making up for it. Great job, Max! If you can get the car under you, there is a title with your name on it, son. You’re clearly the Tico Jones-Parker-Jankovich-Jones-Parker III of F1 (you’re welcome for the nod, Yahoo Fantasy Football). Doing things in a car that doesn’t really have a right to be there is a sign of a champion (Vettel in Toro Rosso, Alonso in Minardi, Schumacher in a Jordan) and Max is doing it, folks.
A big win for Lance Stroll who claimed 6th while his teammate languished in 11th. A great points result for Williams and great to see the Canadian back in the hunt.
A win for the Swede Marcus Ericsson who was running in the points and having a great race given his unresponsive car. Unfortunately, Marcus’s car gave up the ghost and he was out of the race.
A win for Force India as Esteban Ocon claimed 5th and Perez in 7th and this gives them fourth in the constructor’s championship. The VSC may have cost Ocon and podium but still a great result.
Also a win for Kevin Magnussen whose team, Haas F1, had a miserable weekend leading up to the race on Sunday. Kevin was running in top 10 most of the day and was also suffering with a stomach illness in the process.
Sure, it wasn’t a points position but Pierre Gasly had no running in his Toro Rosso and jumped in to get the car home. Not bad for a rookie. Also, a nice point for Fernando Alonso and McLaren and a good battle with Lewis Hamilton in the process. I really enjoyed the chippy battle he gave the 4-time champ. That was fun to watch. It’s also a good sing that McLaren have a terrific chassis and if they can get a decent shove behind them, they could be a contender next year in the hands of Alonso.
Ultimately it was a huge win for Lewis Hamilton who wasn’t happy with winning from 9th but while he was making a big deal out of never giving up in the race and battling back to ninth, that wasn’t really the winning element. It was his battling through adversity in the beginning of the year and his re-focused approach after the summer break that saw him driving better than I’ve ever seen him and he did an amazing drive in the second half of the season. Incredible job, Lewis, and congratulations on an amazing season and becoming one of the best in the sport.
Second place isn’t a fail but Valtteri’s pace, 20-seconds off the pace of Max, was a bit of a head-scratching moment. You could argue the same for Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen but he was caught up in some mid-field battles and it took a while to recover.
Not a great race for Pascal Wehrlein who is desperately seeking a ride in 2018 while his teammate, Ericsson, was running in the points at one part of the race. A fail for Sauber’s Ferrari-powered car for letting Ericsson down with a DNF.
A fail for Renault and their power unit with every team running a Renault had a DNF. Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and Brendon Hartley.
A fail for me because I guess I am getting old but a DJ and club mix on the podium quite honestly seems to be turning F1 podiums into a rave and not a respected sporting event. It cheapens the entire moment in my opinion. Is this X Games or a Formula 1 race? It’s not even a case of, “oh, it’s hip with the young kids” kind of thing…honestly. WTH? What next? Pole dancers and lap dances on the podium?
I may have missed what Romain Grosjean got his penalty for but if it was for running off the track and gaining an advantage in his altercation with Alonso, I may have overlooked something because it seemed to me that it was a bit of a mugging from Fernando.
One of those odd situations in which Lewis Hamilton, of all people, was getting blue flagged. Not something you normally see. I also noticed Lewis was very much in the same mindset of other drivers in his position before the race. The seat was too hot, the engine didn’t have power when he blipped the throttle. When you are this close to a title, every single thing screams at you as a point of failure. I can’t imagine the pressure Lewis or others in his position have felt ahead of a race that they could win the title. I’d be a nervous wreck.
Was Lewis Hamilton running back to Los Angeles to celebrate with his friends? He just took off and must have practically ran a complete lap of the circuit with fans and press running after him and falling down behind him with a keen body check from one dude in a white shirt, people tugging on his British flag around his shoulders. Good grief, what was that all about? It was like he was running through a den of lions wearing a ham suit.
I watched the race on the NBC Sports Live Extra app and just wanted to mention that with all the Lindsey Vonn commercials calling her unstoppable, I feel compelled to offer a correction. Lewis is unstoppable and Lindsey found that out last year at the USGP when her fawning over him was met with a cool brush off. Just FYI. Get in there, Lewis!
I’m also unclear on how the NBC app works because they switched the F1 feed over to NASCAR…doesn’t NASCAR have its own feed that people are watching? Why are we moving to NASCAR when a championship has just been won?
Also, I was watching the NBC app and perhaps I am old and not a keen observer but I missed the entire Virtual Safety Car period…when did that happen and how did I manage to miss that on NBC’s coverage? Was it for Hartley’s stranded car and I was at a commercial break watching Rutledge Wood acting like a 5-year-old at Outback steak house?
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||71||1h36m26.550s|
|5||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||70||1 Lap|
|6||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||70||1 Lap|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||70||1 Lap|
|8||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||70||1 Lap|
|9||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||70||1 Lap|
|10||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||70||1 Lap|
|11||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||70||1 Lap|
|12||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Honda||70||1 Lap|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||70||1 Lap|
|14||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber/Ferrari||69||2 Laps|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||69||2 Laps|
|–||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||55||Power Unit|
|–||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||30||Power Unit|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||5||Retirement|