Sebastian Vettel gracious in defeat, congratulates Lewis Hamilton on fifth F1 title

Sebastian Vettel gracious in defeat, congratulates Lewis Hamilton on fifth F1 title

Sebastian Vettel gracious in defeat, congratulates Lewis Hamilton on fifth F1 title

Vettel must win the Mexican Grand Prix and hope Hamilton finishes P8 or lower to ensure the World Championship title battle continues in Brazil.

Realistically, though, the party should start for Hamilton on Sunday as he becomes only the third man in the history, after Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher, to achieve five world titles.

Mercedes have won every single championship since turbo hybrid engines were introduced into F1 in 2014, which raises the real possibility that Hamilton could soon match Schumacher's all-time record of both championships and race wins.

He celebrated by executing "doughnut" wheel spins for the cheering crowd before leaping out of his vehicle and into the arms of his team.

After his fourth place ensured the title Hamilton said he was still struggling to take it in.

Although he ended the day with the drivers' title, it was not a race Hamilton will look back on fondly.

"I'm really, really happy with it", he said.

"I knew the pace was in the vehicle - Max showed that all weekend - I just knew it was putting together a clean lap at the end".

"I just feel very very humble, of course I dreamed about this but I never thought I'd be standing here as a five-time champion".

"I think he drove superb all year and was the better one of us two, I told him well deserved".

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Vettel added: "We need to stand there, accept it and say congratulations. We would have liked to have hung in there longer, but it was not to be".

Hamilton went into the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez knowing he only needed to finish seventh to secure the title and did not need to finish at all if Vettel failed to win.

"How am I going to be fitter?"

It is Ricciardo's third career pole and the team's first lockout since the United States Grand Prix in 2013.

Verstappen's performance was described as "incredible" by Red Bull boss Christian Horner, and the Dutchman has admitted he used his frustration from qualifying - he missed out on pole to Daniel Ricciardo by two-hundredths of a second - to spur him on in the race.

"The start was the key", he said after the finish.

"I'm quite happy though, I think we got more or less everything out of the vehicle".

"It was a shame to lose Daniel". "From that moment on we wanted to make sure that mine couldn't retire, even if that meant to turn down the power on the engine, just to be on the safe side. A party tonight? No, I'm going home!"

Vettel and Raikkonen completed the podium as Hamilton struggled to fourth, frustrated with Mercedes' lack of pace compared to its rivals.

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