Lewis Hamilton clinches 'surreal' Formula One title

Virginia Santiago
October 29, 2018

Daniel Ricciardo's smile beamed its brightest in months, while his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen steamed.

Mexico's long front straight can offer ideal slipstream battles at the start as the teams jostle for position.

Lewis Hamilton will line up from third on Sunday's grid, but Vettel, alongside the Brit in P4, could only get his Ferrari to within two tenths of the Red Bulls.

Hulkenberg executed a one-stop strategy well to keep comfortably clear of Sauber's Charles Leclerc in seventh.

The 21-year-old Dutchman, who could on Saturday become the youngest pole-sitter in Formula One history, finished more than one second clear of any driver in non-Red Bull machinery.

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Hamilton dropped to fifth behind Raikkonen who also just had one stop, and complained again about tyre problems by saying via team radio "something is definitely not right when I have fresh tyres and still can't match their times".

"I've gotta relax a little".

Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas suffered a suspected hydraulics failure with Mercedes braced for a possible engine change and a race against time to get the vehicle ready for qualifying. A glum Verstappen could not hide his feelings.

"The whole qualifying was crap", the youngster told the global television audience. Finishing second in a race with your major rival in fourth would usually be a good day but when it means that your championship challenge is over nonetheless, it puts a far more negative spin on things.

Lewis Hamilton received a message of congratulations from Will Smith after winning the fifth F1 title of his career on Sunday.

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"To be as close as I am, I'm really quite happy", Hamilton said. "We had a hard day yesterday and it was a big improvement". "I got a great start".

"We were really quick, then today I was just determined to have a good start". "We hadn't had the cleanest run through practice and I just knew putting the lap together would be crucial as always", said Ricciardo, who whooped in delight as he realized what he had done. "Maybe that will help".

Kevin Magnussen couldn't improve his time for Haas, anchoring him to 18th. It was Haas' first double exit from Q1 since the same race in 2017.

He is now ahead of all his contemporaries, with Vettel on four titles and Fernando Alonso on two.

All of the top teams ran on ultra-soft tyres, on which they will start the race, leaving the faster, but much less durable, hyper-softs for the top-ten shootout, which began with both Ferraris out eagerly.

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