Racing line: It’s Hammertime! No one can touch Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton survived a chop from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and a shove from Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in the opening lap.
His car suffered damage to the right-rear floor while he grass-tracked and rejoined in fifth position behind the other Red Bull of Alex Albon and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
But even though he initially doubted his team’s hard-tyre strategy, he still nursed his Mercedes W10 home, to its tenth win of the season!
“Really well done to him that he made the tyres last, that made the difference.” Said runner-up Vettel about Hamilton’s measured and patient drive.
“It’s an incredible result,” Hamilton reflected, “We came here thinking we were on the back foot, but we pulled through. The race was quite a struggle, but I kept my head down.”
Mercedes were never clear favourites in Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit. The high altitude and high-downforce nature of the track suited Red Bull and Ferrari more than the German champions.
Verstappen had won the previous two times and looked to make it three consecutive wins. But his run-in with Hamilton and subsequent clash with Valtteri Bottas resulted in a right-rear puncture leaving him to fight from dead last.
He did so heroically on a set of hard tyres for 66 laps! In fact, his was the only stint that was longer than the leader’s. For his marathon effort, the Dutchman was voted Driver Of The Day by fans online.
Ferrari miscalculated Charles Leclerc’s race strategy and the Monegasque had only himself to blame for finishing off the podium from pole position. “I need to come on the radio more and to help the team make the right decisions – like Sebastian did.” He said.
It was the third time in-a-row that the Italian team failed to convert pole to victory. Last year at the Circuit Of The Americas in Texas it was Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who denied pole-sitter Hamilton the win by starting on the faster, soft tyres.
Maybe the Briton will recall that defeat and plan wisely this time around. He only requires to score 4 points in Austin, to move out of the Five-Time-Fangio club and create his own Six-Time-Champion club.
It’s Hammertime! No one can touch him.
The writer is a motorsports enthusiast who will cover the 2019 FIA Formula One™ season exclusively for Indulge.