As one of the closest races in a long time came to an end, it was Lewis Hamilton who crossed the line first in the 2019 Mexican F1 Grand Prix, taking him one step closer to securing his sixth drivers' title.
It was the two Ferrari's who claimed the front row of the grid, for the team's record 65th time, after Max Verstappen was demoted from pole for failing to slow down under yellow flags in qualifying on Saturday.
Charles LeClerc lead teammate Sebastian Vettel off the line, with Hamilton being squeezed out by the latter after a blistering start. The Ferrari duo went one-two into the first corner, with Max Verstappen and Hamilton making light contact as they went through, side-by-side. The touch pushed them onto the grass, allowing Alexander Albon and Carlos Sainz to claim the third and fourth spots respectively.
Lap 4 offered up more drama as Kimi Raikkonen found himself squeezed between George Russell and Kevin Magnussen with nowhere to go. The debris from this contact brought out the virtual safety car for a brief moment.
When the race restarted, Verstappen edged past Valtteri Bottas into the Foro Sol Stadium but didn't leave the Finn with any room. The Mercedes' front wing made light contact with the rear tyre of the Red Bull, causing it to deflate. To add insult to an already brutal injury weekend for Verstappen, he has already passed the pit lane, forcing him to nurse his car around the entire track for a new set of rubber.
Albon, sitting in third place for the first time in his career, pitted on Lap 15 for another set of mediums, with LeClerc doing the same the following lap in a two-stop strategy.
With the Ferrari of Vettel and the Mercedes of Bottas pushing out in front, Hamilton pitted on Lap 24 for a set of hard rubber, indicating his intention to push through to the end without another stop. It wasn't long before he was on the radio, questioning the team's strategy with concerns that the tyres would not survive the remaining 47 laps.
Eventually, on Lap 38, Vettel pitted for his single stop, as Bottas did a lap earlier, but their lead wasn't enough to hold off the undercut by Hamilton. LeClerc had an awful time during his second stop, with the right-rear wheel refusing to affix correctly. He rejoined in fourth and, with just 10 laps to go, the top four were separated by only three seconds.
Although it was a nail-biting race to the chequered flag, the positions would remain unchanged. Albon claimed fifth with Verstappen, climbing a mountain from dead last, finishing sixth overall.
P7 went to an exultant Sergio Perez at his home GP with Daniel Ricciardo hot on his heels. The latter drove 50 laps on a set of hard tyres, fighting his way through from 13th on the grid at the start.
Daniil Kvyat crossed the line in P9 but was issued a 10-second penalty for putting the Renault of Nico Hulkenburg into the wall on the final lap. This saw Kvyat drop to 11th overall, with Pierre Gasly taking P9 and Hulkenburg P10.
With this win, Hamilton now needs just four more points for his sixth world title, so be sure to tune in to 2019 United States Grand Prix at Austin's Circuit Of The Americas in Texas on 3 November.
Check out the highlights of the 2019 Mexican F1 Grand Prix here.
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