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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes braced for opening lap 'carnage' in Mexico

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes braced for opening lap 'carnage' in Mexico

Lewis Hamilton fears he will not win his fifth world championship in style after claiming the rampant Red Bull cars will be out of reach in Mexico. He even had a drive off into the grass when he missed the corner out of the long straight at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

With the lead Mercedes out of the picture the race boiled down to a Red Bull vs Vettel fight, with Ferrari going aggressive by pitting Vettel for a fresh set of ultrasofts.

After completing the race, Hamilton received an unexpected message over Mercedes' team radio from the Hollywood actor, who was mimicking the words he said to Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys. He's leaving the team for Renault in 2019.

Race victor Max Verstappen tweeted: "An wonderful performance to win five titles and he has clearly been the more consistent one of the two fighting for the title".

Defending champion Hamilton failed to top the podium in any of the first three races and a victory in Baku looked unlikely too until he capitalised on two strokes of fortune. Both drivers were reprimanded for risky racing moves and team tensions were high.

A puff of smoke signalled an engine failure and his eighth "Did Not Finish" (DNF) of the season while his 21-year-old Dutch tyro team-mate secured a repeat of his 2017 triumph, his second win this season and the fifth of his career.

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"All we could do was retire the vehicle". My fans have been awesome, my family have been so supportive, but most importantly Mercedes and my team, they have been the most incredible unit.

"You reflect on not one moment but the whole year, the work that goes in, the effort that goes in from the end of last year until now, we had our chances, we used majority, maybe some we did not, but in the end, we were not good enough". Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 1.14,7853.

The Australian is due to leave Red Bull for Renault at the end of the year, but on Sunday he said he was ready to turn his back on his troublesome vehicle even sooner than that.

Hamilton knows that both he and Vettel will share in seeking to avoid hitting each other at the start of the race - Vettel because he can only keep his title challenge alive by winning for Ferrari.

"Not really. Everyone's going to be barrelling into Turn One to gain, so it's a very, very fine line".

Hamilton then fought back to ninth place - a result that, even though he was lapped by race victor Verstappen, was still enough to secure the championship. "If not, I'll hold position".