British ace wins championship despite first lap clash with Vettel. Plus Elfyn Evans claims Wales Rally GB glory
James Attwood, digital editor
29 October 2017

Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton clinched his fourth world championship in the Mexican Grand Prix, despite only finishing ninth after a clash with title rival Sebastian Vettel at the first corner. Max Verstappen took a dominant win for Red Bull.

In pictures: the defining races of Lewis Hamilton's Formula 1 career

British racer Hamilton entered the event knowing that a fifth place finish would secure him the title, while Vettel had to finish second or better to keep his hopes alive.

Vettel had started the race from pole position in his Ferrari, with Verstappen alongside. The two battled for the lead heading into the first turn and clashed, allowing Hamilton to get a run on both. The Brit passed Vettel around the outside in the chicane, but the German slid wide and clipped Hamilton’s Mercedes, puncturing its rear tyre.

Hamilton had to limp back to the pits for new tyres, emerging in last place, and even found himself lapped by Verstappen. He then slowly worked his way up the order to take ninth place.

Vettel was also forced to pit for a new wing, and fought up through the field, but he could only make his way to fourth. That meant Hamilton clinched his fourth title, tying the number won by Alain Prost and setting a new benchmark for British drivers. Only seven-time winner Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio (five) have won more championships.

"I had a good start, and I don't really know what happened at turn three, but I gave him [Vettel] room," said Hamilton. "It wasn't the kind of race that I wanted, but I never gave up."

Verstappen’s victory was his second of the season, and the third of his career. Valtteri Bottas was a distant second in his Mercedes, with Kimi Räikkönen third for Ferrari.

World Rally Championship: Wales Rally GB

Elfyn Evans became the first Welsh driver to win the Wales Rally GB, capping an incredible weekend for the British M-Sport squad.

The 28-year-old from Dolgellau, with co-driver Daniel Barritt, dominated the event in his Ford Fiesta WRC from the moment the event moved into the Welsh forests on Friday morning. He built up a lead of almost a minute, then controlled his pace in the final stages, finishing 37.3 seconds clear of Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 WRC).

It was Evans's first World Rally Championship win, and made him the first British winner of Rally GB since Richard Burns in 2000.

Co-driving in a Fiesta R5 with Elfyn Evans

Evans’s M-Sport team-mate Sébastien Ogier finished third to secure his fifth consecutive championship title – but his first since switching to the privateer outfit after Volkswagen quit the sport ahead of this season.

With Estonian Ott Tänak finishing sixth in his Fiesta, M-Sport also wrapped up the manufacturers’ championship, beating the full works outfits from Hyundai, Citroën and Toyota. It was the first time Malcolm Wilson’s Cumbrian outfit had taken the title since 2007, when it ran the works Ford squad. 

Read more

In pictures: the defining races of Lewis Hamilton's Formula 1 career

Insight: the exciting future of the M-Sport rally team

Autocar Awards 2017: M-Sport's Malcolm Wilson honoured

Co-driving in a Fiesta R5 with Elfyn Evans

Our Verdict

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29 October 2017

Once again, F1 authorities were pitiful.

Vettel can crash another (I don't count anymore the times), can overtake outside the track (without any inquiry).

Because he's second... or red... Oh, I have a bad spirit.

Anyway, bravo Lewis xxxx

And Sébastien xxxxx


30 October 2017
It has become so blatant hasn't it! From Vettel's car its clear Lewis was right at the track edge, ahead and didn't turn in at all. The commentary team defended him buts clear his usual Red mist took over and slammed Lewis. Lewis was very mature as he is now and said later - I could have retaliated but every time I remember the young drivers watching and think no, I will set them a better example. Vettel needs therapy.

30 October 2017
You know what ? Having seen people like Jim Clark, Graham Hill, John Surtees, Dan Gurney, Pedro Rodriguez, Jo Siffert, Cris Amon , Bruce McLaren in their day, and driving all types of cars, I couldn't get the least bit interested in the whiney shower that call themselves F1 drivers these days.

30 October 2017

interested enough to post a comment rather than skip over the article

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

30 October 2017

The man of the match was of course Max Verstappen.

30 October 2017

Emmm maybe but Vettel and Hamilton were both effectively out, Bottas told to hold tight and don’t challenge anyone (just keep ahead of Vettel), Ricardo engine failure, Raikkonen hopeless nr 3 driver.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

30 October 2017

Hamilton and Vettel drive the best cars, Verstappen drives a distinctly lesser car.

That's why the latter takes a bit the shine out of the two main rivals, in my book anyway.

31 October 2017

Hamilton and Vettel may have had the best cars but that's irrelevant in this case as they both had to pit on lap one effectively putting them out of the race for 1st place.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

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