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Lewis Hamilton Wins A Dramatic Mexico Grand Prix

Hamilton’s 10th win of the season, and 83rd of his career, was also a 100th for Mercedes as a constructor.

Lewis Hamilton won the Mexican Grand Prix for Mercedes on Sunday after a first-lap scare but the Briton will have to wait until next weekend’s race in Texas to secure his sixth Formula One world championship.

Hamilton’s 10th win of the season, and 83rd of his career, was also a 100th for Mercedes as a constructor.

The victory stretched his lead over Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas to 74 points with 78 to be won from the last three races — making the title a formality that will surely be wrapped up in Austin.

Hamilton had needed to score 14 points more than Bottas at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to win the title in Mexico, but managed only 10 more after the Finn made sure of third.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was a close second with team mate Charles Leclerc, who started from pole position and set the fastest lap but was undone by strategy and a problem pitstop, fourth.

“We came here thinking we were on the back foot, knowing it was a difficult race for us but we pulled through,” said Hamilton, who had not finished on the podium in Mexico for the past two years.

“I had quite a bit of damage on my car so the race was quite a bit of a struggle.

“I don’t mind (not taking the title in Mexico),” he added. “I love racing and I take it one race at a time.”

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.

Both Mercedes drivers lost out at the start, with Vettel squeezing out Hamilton, who had lined up third behind the two Ferraris. The Briton then banged wheels with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Hamilton tracked on the grass, wrestling with the steering wheel to prevent a race-wrecking spin, and returned in fifth place with Bottas losing a place to seventh.

As Leclerc led away, Red Bull’s British-born Thai rookie Alexander Albon made the most of the mayhem to slot into third place.

Verstappen dropped to the back of the field after contact with Bottas left the 22-year-old Dutch driver limping back to the pits on an empty wheel rim after a right rear puncture.

Verstappen, winner in Mexico for the past two years, carved his way back through the field to sixth at the chequered flag with Albon fifth.

Mexican Sergio Perez was seventh for Racing Point, to cheers from the sellout crowd.

Verstappen has to be given more space, says Hamilton

Max Verstappen has to be given more space on the racetrack than other drivers because of the risk of collisions, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton said after the pair banged wheels in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who won the race for Mercedes and is now one step away from wrapping up his sixth title, described the first lap coming together with the young Red Bull driver as ‘hair-raising’.

The Briton was forced onto the grass runoff, narrowly avoided a costly spin and dropped to fifth place.

Verstappen also clashed with Hamilton’s Finnish team mate and title rival Valtteri Bottas a few laps later, the Dutchman suffering a puncture that sent him to last place before he battled back to sixth.

“I think every driver is slightly different,” Hamilton told reporters. “Some are smarter. Some are very smart, aggressive and some are silly with it.

“Through those experiences of racing with people, you give some more space. And others you don’t have to, they’re quite respectful.

“But yeah, Max. It’s very likely you’re going to come together with Max if you don’t give him extra space. So most of the time you do.”

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.

Bottas said Verstappen, who has won two races this season and is famed for his bold and aggressive overtaking manouevres, had appeared seemingly out of nowhere and they touched.

“He got a puncture from that. I couldn’t really avoid him. I think he earned his own puncture definitely,” added the Finn.

Verstappen had qualified on pole position on Saturday but was then handed a three place grid penalty for failing to slow after Bottas crashed at the end of the session and brought out warning flags.

The 22-year-old had won the last two Mexican Grands Prix and arrived as a favourite for a hat-trick in front of a sellout crowd.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who finished second, was asked whether he treated Verstappen — a driver he has also clashed with a few times in the past — differently and whether he also thought him the most aggressive.

“Yes and yes,” replied the smiling four times world champion, sitting alongside Hamilton in the post-race news conference and making clear that he agreed with everything the Briton had said.

“Just copy and paste. It’s true.”

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