Hamilton, Britain’s best
Mercedes driver becomes most successful British F1 racer with 4th championship title
Lewis Hamilton grabbed the British Union Jack for a “victory” lap, and then draped it over his shoulders. There was no way he was going to let it go.
Hamilton won his fourth career Formula One championship on Sunday with a ninth-place finish at the Mexican Grand Prix, a rare finish away from the podium but one good enough to win a title that makes him the most decorated British driver in history.
“It’s been a long journey,” said Hamilton, who won his first championship in 2008. “This week I’ve been reminiscent of where I came from, dreaming of being in Formula One.”
None of it came easy on Sunday in a race where he had to overcome a first-lap tire puncture and scramble to finish off title rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
It was a bump from Vettel shortly after the start that made an expected title more stressful than anyone at Mercedes expected.
The ninth-place finish was Hamilton’s worst of the season, but it also closed out Vettel with two races left.
“Not the race you wanted, but who cares?” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff radioed Hamilton after the race.
He passed Jackie Stewart for the most championships won by a British driver. Formula One’s first and only black driver also joined Vettel and Alain Prost as fourtime winners. Only Argentina’s Juan Miguel Fangio (five) and Germany’s Michael Schumacher (seven) have won more.
Hamilton also passed his idol, Brazil’s Aryton Senna, who won three championship titles before he was killed in a crash and is still considered one of the most skilled drivers in F1 history.
“It’s crazy to think I continue to put the Hamilton stamp, the Hamilton name, in the history books. Beyond my time there will be kids that read my name,” Hamilton said.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen got the win in Mexico for his third career victory and second this season.
Vettel made it an adventure for everyone.
The race began on a furious note, with Verstappen getting the edge through the first turn and Hamilton making a move to get past Vettel, who drifted left. Vettel’s left front wing clipped Hamilton’s right rear tire, damaging both cars and forcing both drivers to the pits for repairs.