They say all good things come in threes, but it didn’t ring true in Mexico City on Sunday as Lewis Hamilton didn’t secure his third consecutive World Championship, despite winning the race.
The Mercedes driver collected 25 points by collecting the race win, but team-mate Valtteri Bottas kept his mathematical chances at the championship alive by finishing in P3.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, sandwiched between the two Mercedes, finished the race in P2.
“What a job guys, thank you so much for all your hard work,” Hamilton commented on the team radio immediately after securing victory. “That was a tough race,” he added.
The Mercedes driver proceeded to celebrate his victory with donuts in the stadium section of the race track.
“This is a race I’ve wanted to win for some time and it’s always been a bit tricky for us,” Hamilton said in a post-race interview with 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button.
“We came here thinking we’re on the back foot, knowing it’s a difficult race for us, but we pulled through.”Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton’s race win was courtesy of a bold strategy from Mercedes, an aggressive one-stop, which forced him to draw out 48 laps on the hard tyre.
After surviving contact with Max Verstappen at the first corner, Hamilton spent the opening stint running in P3, with the two Ferrari’s cementing themselves at the front.
On lap 16, polesitter Charles Leclerc was placed on a two-stop, which ultimately turned out to be slower, as track position became paramount.
Hamilton captured the lead by majorly undercutting Vettel for a one-stop. Hamilton stopped on lap 23 while Vettel waited for lap 38.
Although both drivers ran a one-stop, the early stop gave Hamilton track position, and he nursed his tyres through to the end, finishing just seconds ahead of second-placed Vettel.
“It seemed like a long second stint, but man I’m so grateful for today,” Hamilton said.