Lewis Hamilton recovered from a first-lap off to win the Mexican Grand Prix but will have to wait at least one more race to clinch the 2019 Formula 1 title.
Hamilton had a trip across the grass at the start of the race after contact with Max Verstappen and fell to fifth, but he executed a one-stop strategy exceptionally to overhaul both Ferraris and score his 10th triumph of the season.
Sebastian Vettel was unable to attack Hamilton after losing track position through strategy and had to settle for second in lead Ferrari, with Valtteri Bottas third.
Poleman and early race leader Charles Leclerc fell to fourth as a two-stop strategy and a slow second stop cost him dearly.
Ferrari had control of the race in the early stages despite Leclerc being lightly nerfed by Vettel after running wide under braking for the Turn 4 left-hander and slowing right down through the tight right-hand turn that followed on the first lap.
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Behind, though, Hamilton had already suffered an early setback as Verstappen challenged him on the inside into the first corner.
Hamilton had already been crowded out by Vettel on the run down to Turn 1 as they chased Leclerc of the line, a move he branded “dangerous” but one that was not inspected by the officials.
At the first corner, Hamilton ran wide and had a big snap of oversteer on the outside kerb, which lurched his car to the right and put him and Verstappen on the grass between the Turns 2 and 3 complex after they banged wheels.
The incident dropped Hamilton behind Alex Albon’s Red Bull and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr, while Verstappen fell to eighth, behind Lando Norris and Bottas.
Hamilton’s win, with Bottas third, extended his championship lead by 10 points but he needed to add 14 points over Bottas to clinch his sixth title.
That means Hamilton now has a 74-point lead with 78 available in the final three races.
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