Lewis Hamilton secured his fifth World Drivers’ Championship crown after a low-key fourth place in the Mexican Grand Prix.
Heading into Mexico, Hamilton’s championship rival Sebastian Vettel needed to win the race with Hamilton finishing no higher than seventh.
While Hamilton’s fourth place result was poor in a season that so far has delivered nine wins, it was enough to get the job done regardless of where Vettel finished. In any case, the Ferrari driver came up short, in second place.
Vettel inherited that position with the late-race retirement of Daniel Ricciardo due to a power train failure on his Red Bull. Ricciardo had taken a sensational pole position in qualifying but was always chasing the race after bogging down at the start.
With Ricciardo’s race thus compromised, team-mate and fellow front-row starter Max Verstappen assumed the lead and raced on to a comfortable victory.
Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was third ahead of the Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Afterwards Hamilton described his emotions at having sealed his fifth crown after such an underwhelming performance as ‘bittersweet’ after what had been a ‘horrible race’.
A fifth title for Hamilton places him equal with Juan-Manuel Fangio on the all-time world champion honours list. Only Michael Schumacher, with nine titles, has won world motorsport’s highest honour on more occasions.
Only two races remain in the 2018 World Drivers' Championship, the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.