Vettel wants Hamilton at his best again in 2019

Kristopher Nichols
October 29, 2018

But could he go on to match Schumacher's tally of seven? Speaking on Sunday evening, he said he was ready to hand the auto over to his replacement at Red Bull next year, Pierre Gasly.

But Verstappen certainly controlled his emotions on Sunday, fighting off Lewis Hamilton at the start before displaying vast maturity and race guile to take the chequered flag, 17 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

There were hearts in mouths in the Mercedes garage, as Hamilton came within inches of touching Raikkonen as they slammed on the anchors for Turn 1, before the Brit held his nerve on the outside of the left-handed Turn 2, to make his way past the Ferrari at the ensuing right-hander.

Hamilton said he'd like to go for a win to punctuate a season championship, but he doesn't give himself much of a chance to do that Sunday.

After being congratulated by Vettel, Hamilton said: "It's a very unusual feeling, a very humbling experience". He even had a drive off into the grass when he missed the corner out of the long straight at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. How can I just be better all round, a better driver in the vehicle but also with my team, in the garage, with the engineers, back at the factory, trying to be a better son and friend?

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Verstappen's team mate, retired from the race with a smoking engine after starting from pole position.

But the 21-year-old endured no such problem in the closing laps of a race he led for the most part, having built up a cushion of nearly 15 seconds over Vettel. The straight line power nosed his auto in front until Verstappen cut under him at the first corner.

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Hamilton started a trend, with Ricciardo and Verstappen following suit on laps 12 and 13.

Previous year he and Sebastian Vettel clashed at the opening chicane after the Ferrari driver had made contact with eventual victor Max Verstappen. "I was determined to win today".

Hamilton's celebrations were muted as his friend was denied the chance to follow up his 2017 win in Russian Federation with another triumph, but it proved to be another key victory en route to the title. A bump from Vettel at the first turn punctured a tire which relegated him to ninth. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) - 1.15, 3307.

The two had a costly collision in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that knocked both cars out of the race.

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

"I still wasn't convinced it was the cleanest lap, but I've got to relax a little - I'm tripping major nut-sack right now".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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