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Lewis Hamilton admits ‘horror’ way of sealing title in Mexico Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he did not seal his fourth Formula One world championship in an ideal manner while Sebastian Vettel has said that he does not fear the British driver and is determined for a better show next season.

other sports Updated: Oct 30, 2017 08:42 IST
Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
AFP, Mexico City
Lewis Hamilton,Sebastian Vettel,Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton had to fight back from last in the Mexico Grand Prix as he finished eighth and secured his fourth world championship.(REUTERS)

A relieved, if happy, Lewis Hamilton admitted clinching his fourth drivers’ world title in a tense and dramatic Mexican Grand Prix was something of a horror show.

The 32-year-old Briton, who thrilled an enthusiastic crowd with celebratory ‘donuts’ after completing his slow-down lap with a British flag in his cockpit, came home ninth to seal the championship.

Dutchman Max Verstappen, 20, won the race in convincing fashion for Red Bull, his second win of the year and third of his career while Hamilton’s title rival four-time champion Sebastian Vettel finished fourth.

“That was a horrible way to do it to be honest,” said Hamilton, who knew Vettel had to finish first or second to prevent him taking the championship.

The pair collided at the first corner on the opening lap when the German’s Ferrari hit the rear right wheel of Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Both cars were damaged and returned to the pits, Hamilton with a puncture and Vettel needing a new front wing.

“I was trying not to be too aggressive there in T1 and left a lot of space for the car behind,” said Hamilton who asked his team if it had been a deliberate move by Vettel, but there was no clear response.

“I’d like to say a big thanks to everybody in this team,” said Hamilton. “What you’ve done in the past couple of years is incredible. I’m so grateful. I kept coming back today and I am proud to race for all the team. I have tried this year to work hard and do all I can in this team. I try not to leave any stone unturned in my preparation and that is the team philosophy. We have won four constructors’ titles and that is so amazing, too. In this race, I was 40 seconds behind and you know that just feels like being in no-man’s land, but like I said I never gave up.”

Sebastian Vettel suffered damage on the first turn in the Mexico Grand Prix as he finished fourth. ( AP )

He added that he had no immediate thoughts of adding to his four titles -- only Michael Schumacher on seven and Juan-Manuel Fangio on five have won more.

“I am taking it one day at a time right now,” he said. “I am really happy to have won this one, my fourth. In the end, I want to make people happy. This is what is important and in my heart, I am so grateful for today. The crowd, here in Mexico, is just amazing. The fans here are the best in the world.”

Do not fear Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel insisted he has no fear of Lewis Hamilton who on Sunday equalled his mark of four world drivers titles.

The German finished fourth for Ferrari in the Mexican Grand Prix after an opening lap collision with Hamilton, who finished ninth for Mercedes.

Dutchman Max Verstappen won the race for Red Bull.

Sebastian Vettel has admitted that Mercedes were the better team in the 2017 Formula One season. ( AFP )

“I am disappointed, obviously,” said Vettel. “But it is not that important. It is more important to say well done to Lewis who has deserved the title and done such a superb job all year.”

Wearing dark glasses, the deflated Vettel hugged Hamilton and congratulated him personally in the post-race interviews pen.

“Yes, all congratulations to him. It’s his day today. He deserved it.”

Asked how he rated Hamilton in the pantheon of champion drivers, Vettel said: “Well, he’s up there with four titles so he deserves it, if you can count!”

He added: “But I don’t fear him. I like racing against him and I just wish I could have done more of it this year, but overall they (Mercedes) were the better bunch.”

First Published: Oct 30, 2017 08:38 IST