By H. Mayor – photo: f1.com | The F1 World Championship 2017 has a winner. With two races left to go, Lewis Hamilton wins his fourth world title and becomes an icon and an F1 legend . Hamilton is now level with Vettel and Prost and has just Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio above him. Mexico saw the materialisation of a foregone victory at another dramatic race very much in the style of this ever so thrilling World Championship which has put the excitement of the unexpected back into the sport after many years.
Far behind him are now the unremarkable results of last year, as Lewis Hamilton continues cultivating his legacy. He has won a comfortable victory despite a complicated start of the year when, back in May, he saw himself drop to 25 points behind Vettel right after the Monaco Grand Prix. He’s had a breathtaking track record since then: seven victories over the following 12 races in what seemed like an unstoppable growth which Ferrari has witnessed from first row.
Bottas’ role is also worth highlighting as he has fenced off top level rivals such as Rosberg and saved Hamilton some potentially challenging tête a tête finals. At Maranello they have been left with a feeling of underachievement and the hope of a better future, where they share out the top of the game with Mercedes in a more equal manner (the upcoming preparations over the winter period will be key). The third rival in line, Red Bull, must have the bitter-sweet aftertaste of having hit a competitive ceiling while counting with the unstoppable Dutch star amongst their ranks.
Back in Mexico all forecasts went up in the air during the first lap in the land of the Aztec. Vettel, desperate to use his very last opportunity, crashed against Vettel (pieces of the spoiler in the air and all) and touched Hamilton in the same move. Everything changed from then on and both aspiring champions carried their fight to the middle of the race, with not enough margin to recover. Max Verstappen raced out strengthened towards a solid and undisputed victory (perhaps a sign of things to come) and Valtteri Bottas performed once more his exceptional role as a wall against rivals.
Vettel was not able to recover after boxes. In a race that was already broken for him, he managed to hang on long enough to come in fourth and Hamilton’s drop to ninth position made no difference for him. The most romantic moments of this fantastic day, when the Briton raised once more the champion title, were those when he found himself in open battle with Fernando Alonso, reminders of the times when he was his top rival.