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Day After: Hamilton Crowned, Verstappen Stars

On a day where Max Verstappen once again staked his claim to the future, Lewis Hamilton did enough to ensure the present is all his.

It’s not often you see a driver off the podium who is happier than the man on its top step, but that was certainly the case on Sunday at the Mexican Grand Prix.

A race dominated from start to finish by Max Verstappen, it was Lewis Hamilton who left the biggest winner, with his fifth world title officially in the bag.

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Take nothing away from Verstappen, who capitalised on Daniel Ricciardo channelling his inner Mark Webber to drive a dominant race from start to finish, but Hamilton is undoubtedly the biggest story on a day that saw him enter extremely rarefied air.

Schumacher, Fangio, Hamilton. That’s the entire list of drivers with five or more world championships. Say what you want about the car under him, or the competition from other teams, but you don’t get to that number without being one of the greatest drivers ever, you simply don’t.

Ironically, Mexico was one of the few times this year Hamilton didn’t really make an impact, but it’s a testament to how good he’s been throughout the season that such a ho-hum finish can get him the title with two races remaining. Certainly, when he says he “can take the car to places that nobody else can“, you believe him.

And while there’s still work left to do in 2018 with Mercedes yet to clinch the constructor’s championship, part of being great is that the hype and expectation immediately begins again for the next title.

Sebastian Vettel is sure to come back more motivated than ever, and today’s certainly gave us a taste of what’s to come from Verstappen, but right now, you wouldn’t bet against another for Lewis Hamilton.

Quick Hits

  • It was a nice touch to see Hamilton pay tribute to his late grandfather, who passed away last Thursday. There’s no doubting he’d be very proud of his grandson.
  • I’ve always been a big fan of Will Smith, but that pre-recorded message to Lewis was just weird. There’s no need to shoehorn in an awkward celebrity cameo when we’d rather hear team and driver celebrate anyway.
  • A massive result for Sauber on Sunday, who now sit in eighth in the constructor’s standings after their double points finish on Sunday, three ahead of Toro Rosso. This performance could prove a multi-million dollar difference come December.

Driver of the Day

  • Stoffel Vandoorne: Starting P19 and finishing P8, the Belgian had a stellar drive, putting-in several overtakes and a herculean 59-lap stint on supersofts to secure his first points finish since Baku.

Worst of the Day

  • Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull: From P2 to out of the race after a hydraulic failure, the hits just keep coming for the Aussie. Did he punch a nun? Defile an Indian burial site? Bulldoze a house of mirrors? How else do you explain the run of bad luck he’s on? The Aussie has now run into reliability problems at twelve of this year’s 19 races, including eight DNFs – understandably he just looks defeated.

Quote of the Day

  • “I’ll let Gasly drive it, I’m done with it.” – Daniel Ricciardo, speaking in the post-race media pen.

Ouch. Although I’m not sure he’d want it either.