Mexico City : British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton on Sunday finished fourth in the Mexican Grand Prix to clinch his fifth world championship crown, equalling his tally with the legendary Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio.
“It’s a very strange feeling right now. I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13, to complete this, when Fangio has done it with Mercedes, is an incredible feeling. It’s a bit surreal at the moment,” Formula 1 quoted Hamilton as saying.
Hamilton was challenged for the majority of the season by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as the German chased a fifth championship title of his own. However, following Vettel’s victory in the Belgian Grand Prix in August, Hamilton won four out of the next five races to establish a 70-point lead at the summit.
With three races to spare, the 33-year-old needed a seventh-placed finish or better in Mexico’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit to seal the championship.
21-year-old Dutch racer Max Verstappen clinched his fifth career race win on the day with clinical driving that reflected his growing stature and bright future. Vettel’s second-place finish was not enough to mount a late challenge for the title, finishing ahead of Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen to consolidate the podium spots.
Becoming only the third racer in history to have five world titles to his name, Hamilton now lies within a touching distance of equaling German Michael Schumacher’s record of seven crowns.