Vettel's Mexico fightback not enough to keep title fight alive

Vettel's Mexico fightback not enough to keep title fight alive

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.

Lucas Pouille won his third title of the season and fourth overall after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 6-4 in an all-French final at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.

"The start itself was not great because I was high on the limiter but it turned out to be perfect because I had a good tow on Sebastian and went around the outside at Turn 1". It was so close through practice and I think it was the first time it has been this close between five or six of us which is exciting and puts us all under pressure.

Hamilton also passed his idol, Brazil's Aryton Senna, who won three titles before he was killed in a crash and is still considered one of the most skilled drivers in F1 history. Zobel made a two-putt par on No. 18 to send the match to extra holes and clinched the title with a par putt on No. 1. Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were the two slowest cars in qualifying. "Nobody cares how you do it", said Mercedes' non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, himself a triple champion. We had good long runs yesterday [Friday] and we'll have a strong car tomorrow [Sunday].

Four-time world champ Vettel qualified on pole position at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez on Saturday.

As he crossed the line, the relief was palpable.

Only two drivers have achieved more -- seven-time champion Michael Schumacher and five-time champion Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio -- while Hamilton leaves behind a cluster of five celebrated masters of the track on three apiece.

Verstappen was also involved in another incident which will be looked at by the stewards, who are investigating whether he blocked off Valtteri Bottas in the stadium section at the start of Q3.

"After last week I was very fired up and very motivated to do well", the Dutch driver told reporters.

On and off the track, he was fast, somewhat mercurial and occasionally tempestuous and this combination led to a fierce rivalry with team-mate and two-time champion Fernando Alonso, who left McLaren at the end of the year.

He performed as expected, but in this ruthless sport of Formula One, is that really enough?

He said: "Our long run pace is definitely better than our qualifying pace, so I'm not worried about that".

Red Bull were considered a distant third in the 'top three' teams this year. He was ruthless and clinical but could turn on the aggression when needed.

Race leader Verstappen took the opportunity to pit from the lead, with Bottas and Raikkonen, who had climbed up to third following early stops from Ocon and Perez and Hulkenberg's retirement with an engine issue.

"He's a worthy World Champion".

"It's very surreal", he said after wrapping up the title in Mexico.

The way Hamilton reeled in championship rival Sebastian Vettel in 2017 before blowing him away in the latter part of the season should settle any questions over who the finest driver of the current era is.

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