Vettel couldn't see Hamilton alongside at start of F1's Mexican GP

Vettel couldn't see Hamilton alongside at start of F1's Mexican GP

Vettel couldn't see Hamilton alongside at start of F1's Mexican GP

Lewis Hamilton drove to a near-flawless victory, but not yet a sixth drivers' world championship on Sunday when he claimed his 10th win of the season for Mercedes at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Hamilton produced an awesome effort to make his tyres last for 48 of the 71-lap race, but after Valtteri Bottas finished third, Hamilton - who needed his Mercedes team-mate to be fifth to be certain of the title - narrowly missed out on being crowned world champion here. The Silver Arrows opted for an impressive one-stop strategy with Hamilton negotiating a chaotic start, where he ran close with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen and even picked up damage with light contact with the latter, and delivering what he needed to do to make it work at a track where Ferrari and Red Bull appeared to have the edge. For Bottas to keep his slim hopes alive, the Finnish driver needs to win the United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton said in this instance he did not have any extra space to give but added that he did not think the collision was intentional. "Oh man, I'm so grateful for today". "We came here thinking we were on the back foot, knowing it was a hard race for us".

Bottas, who crashed heavily in qualifying and started sixth after a lengthy vehicle rebuild, said he could not have done much more on a slow-burning afternoon that was all about tyre management.

"And we saw Ricciardo going long on the hard tyres, I think he had 30-odd laps and was posting green lap times". Here are all the main stories from the Mexican Grand Prix where Lewis Hamilton won but Valtteri Bottas delayed his title celebrations for another week.

"I had quite a bit of damage on my auto so the race was quite a bit of a struggle", said Hamilton, referring to the consequences of an opening lap clash with Red Bull's Max Verstappen that he described as "hair-raising".

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"It was a good race, but here and there maybe with strategy we could have been a bit sharper". Ferrari's Charles Leclerc led from the start, with Vettel by his side.

Both Mercedes drivers lost out at the start, with Vettel squeezing out Hamilton, who had lined up third behind the two Ferraris but had to take avoiding action. Verstappen suffered a puncture and pitted.

Out at front, Alexander Albon was closing in on the leading duo of Leclerc and Vettel, when he dived into the pits on lap 15. The Monegasque, thus committed to a two-stop strategy, re-joined fourth, behind Vettel, Hamilton and Bottas.

Hamilton questioned over the team radio how early his stop was, although Mercedes was convinced that that the world champion could pull off what seemed a hard task. With Albon and Leclerc yet to take their second pit stops and Hamilton running on significantly older tyres, this seemed to put Vettel in a good position to fight for the win.

"My front tyres are dead", complained Leclerc, shortly before a slow second stop on lap 44 in 6.2 seconds.

Bottas now has to win in Austin with a fastest lap to stay in the mathematical reckoning while Hamilton need score only four points - an eighth place - to be sure of the title whatever his team mate does. A dramatic finish, governed by tyre wear, was in prospect.

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