It’s hammer time! No one can touch Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton survived a cut from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and a push from Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in the first lap.
His car sustained damage to the rear right floor as he rolled over the grass and joined in fifth behind the other Red Bull of Alex Albon and Carlos Sainz Jr. of McLaren.
But even if he initially doubted his team’s hard tire strategy, he still groomed his Mercedes W10 at home, for his tenth victory of the season!
“Really kudos to him for making the tires last, that made the difference.” Said finalist Vettel of Hamilton’s measured and patient driving.
“It’s an incredible result,” said Hamilton, “We came here thinking we were on the back foot, but we got it. The race was pretty tough, but I kept my head down.
Mercedes has never been a clear favorite on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City. The track’s high altitude and high downforce suited Red Bull and Ferrari better than the German champions.
Verstappen had won the previous two times and was looking for three straight wins. But his meeting with Hamilton and his clash with Valtteri Bottas resulted in a flat right-back, leaving him to fight from the last.
He did it heroically on a set of hard tires for 66 laps! In fact, it 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 racing strategy and the Monegasque had only himself to blame for finishing the podium from pole position. “I have to get on the radio more and 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 the victory to poleman Hamilton by starting with faster flexible tires.
Perhaps the Briton will remember that loss and plan wisely this time around. All he has to do is score 4 points in Austin, leave the Five-Time-Fangio club and create his own Six-Time-Champion club.
It’s hammer time! No one can touch it.
The writer is a motorsport enthusiast who will cover the 2019 FIA Formula One ™ season exclusively for Indulge.