Lewis Hamilton clinched his fourth Formula 1 world championship title with a ninth-place finish in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Series runner-up Sebastian Vettel finished fourth Sunday, but needed to win or finished second to remain mathematically alive.
After taking the lead in the championship race at the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton won three of the following five races. As Hamilton was winning, rival Vettel was struggling. Sunday, Hamilton survived an early scare to wrap up the title in Mexico after contact on lap 1 with Vettel left him with a flat tire. He later fell a lap down but rallied back. Vettel needed to finish second to keep the title fight alive, but could only manage fourth.
“Viva Mexico!” said Hamilton. “I did everything that I could. I had a good start and, well, I don’t really know what happened at turn 3 but I gave him (Vettel) plenty of room. But I tried as hard as I could to come back and just a big thank you to my family, to my team — Mercedes have been incredible for the last five years, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.”
Hamilton joins an exclusive club of champions with four of more championships to their name — a club consisting previously of only Vettel (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), Alain Prost (1985, 1986, 1989 and 1993) Juan Manuel Fangio (1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957) and Michael Schumacher (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004).
On top of this, Hamilton goes down in the history books as the greatest British driver to date — passing Sir Jackie Stewart’s three world titles.
“Honestly, it doesn’t feel real man. I mean, obviously, that’s not the kind of race that I want — when you’re 40 seconds behind or something — but I never gave up and that’s really, I guess, what’s important, what’s in my heart.
“I kept going right to the end, so I’m grateful for today and I just want to lift it up to my family and to God and, as I say, my team.”