Ricciardo 'robbed' as Hamilton equals legend with 5th title

Daniel Ricciardo’s rotten luck in the second half of the Formula One season continued on a day where Lewis Hamilton claimed the world championship at the Mexican Grand Prix.

For the eight time this season Ricciardo was forced to retire after looking on track to secure a podium finish.

Ricciardo started on pole but after an ordinary start things went from bad to worse.

The Aussie had driven beautifully to sit in second position when another engine failure saw his race come to an end with nine laps to go.

A puff of smoke signalled more bad luck and Ricciardo’s eighth ‘Did Not Finish’ (DNF) of the season, leaving fans to lament his constant misfortune.

Ricciardo’s 21-year-old Dutch tyro team-mate Max Verstappen secured a repeat of his 2017 triumph, notching his second win this season and the fifth of his career.

More heartbreak for Ricciardo as Hamilton celebrates a 5th world title. Pic: Getty

Hamilton claimed his fifth drivers’ world championship to draw level with legendary Argentinean driver Juan Manuel Fangio in the Formula One record books.

The 33-year-old Briton’s only remaining championship rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, who needed a victory, with Hamilton outside the top seven, to keep his hopes alive, finished second.

Hamilton’s success – the third time he has taken the title without finishing on the race podium – elevated him to a supreme club alongside Fangio with only seven-time champion Michael Schumacher ahead of him.

He was adding the 2018 crown to his championship wins in 2008, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Hamilton celebrated by executing ‘doughnut’ wheel spins for the cheering crowd before leaping out of his car and into the arms of his team.

After being congratulated by Vettel, Hamilton said: “It’s a very strange feeling, a very humbling experience. To complete this when Fangio did it as well, it’s a very surreal feeling.”

“”That’s how you do it – that’s how you drive, Lewis,” said Hollywood film star Will Smith on Mercedes team radio after Hamilton took the chequered flag.

Hamilton, who started third on the grid, struggled with chronic tyre-wear after making a strong start in his Mercedes and settled for a cautious cruise to the title without a podium finish.

Verstappen, upstaged by his Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo in qualifying on Saturday, came home 17.108 seconds ahead of Vettel after the luckless Australian pole-sitter retired with nine laps remaining.

Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen came home third ahead of Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Renault ahead of Charles Leclerc of Sauber, Stoffel Vandoorne of McLaren, Marcus Ericsson in the second Sauber and Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso.

For Ferrari, it was a first double podium success in Mexico since 1990 with Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell.

With AFP