Venue: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Lewis Hamilton is expected to wrap up a fifth world championship in Mexico after missing the chance in America.
The 33-year-old needs just five points to close out the title, meaning seventh in Mexico City on Sunday will be enough to get the job done with two rounds to spare.
After he secured a brilliant pole, it was expected that Hamilton would be crowned champion in Austin, Texas, but a strategy error by Mercedes denied him a shot at victory.
The water pump on Hamilton’s car was also replaced before the race after a leak had been identified on team-mate Valtteri Bottas’ machinery.
A set-up issue, when his vehicle was hastily put back together, also came to light after the race, with the Briton saying it affected his performance.
Hamilton said: “You saw that the car was in a million pieces on Sunday morning, so that was not ideal for the race. If we didn’t have a morning like that our race outcome would have potentially been different.
“We had another problem which cost us time and the issue I was having with the car was the biggest outlier. Given I had this deficit I was having to push that much harder to recover the time I lost.
“No one is to blame. We take the blame together and we give ourselves a kick up the backside and realise that we have got to keep working and keep pushing. We will come back stronger.”
How the United States Grand Prix finished:
1 Raikkonen (Ferrari), 2 Verstappen (Red Bull), 3 Hamilton (Mercedes), 4 Vettel (Ferrari), 5 Bottas (Mercedes), 6 Hulkenberg (Renault), 7, Sainz (Renault), 8 Ocon (Force India), 9 Magnussen (Haas), 10 Perez (Force India), 11 Hartley (Scuderia Toro), 12 Ericsson (Sauber-Ferrari), 13 Vandoorne (McLaren), 14 Gasly (Scuderia Toro Rosso), 15 Sirotkin (Williams), 16 Stroll (Williams), DNF Leclerc (Sauber-Ferrari), Ricciardo (Red Bull), Grosjean (Haas), Alonso (McLaren)
Hamilton’s title coronation has to wait after he finished only third in Mexico, with Kimi Raikkonen claiming his first victory in more than five years following a dramatic race.
The British driver was handed the championship initiative when Sebastian Vettel spun on the opening lap, his eighth mistake of the season, after he banged wheels with Daniel Ricciardo, and dropped down the order.
Hamilton was second, after losing the lead to Raikkonen at the start, but seemingly had the speed to beat the veteran Finn in a straight shoot-out.
Yet the Englishman lost track position when Mercedes moved him onto a different tyre strategy, bringing him in on lap 11, while his rivals remained on track.
His rubber would not last the course, and after emerging from the pits for a second time, 12 seconds behind Raikkonen, and 10 down on Max Verstappen, who finished second after starting a lowly 18th, his thrill-a-minute charge ran out of steam.
Despite his troubles in a thrilling race at the Circuit of the Americas, Hamilton remains firmly in the box seat to emulate Juan Manuel Fangio with his fifth championship.
Indeed, Hamilton has retired just once this season, and has not finished lower than fifth in the 17 races he has completed. Mexico City was also the venue of his fourth title triumph last term.
Vettel, starting in fifth after he was penalised for failing to slow under red flags in practice, was out of contention for the win after just 13 corners.
“I have mixed emotions,” Vettel said. “I’m really happy for Kimi, but not happy with my race.”
Raikkonen, who recently turned 39, becomes the sport’s oldest winner since Nigel Mansell in 1994.
“It’s been a great weekend,” the Finn, who is leaving Ferrari at the end of the year, said. “It’s been a long time but here we are.”
Vettel is the 8/5 favourite for the race but we cannot look past Hamilton taking the title in style.
Verstappen produced a fine race in America and can claim another place on the podium at 18/25 while Bottas, Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate, has finished in the top three in two of the last three races here and is 37/20 to do so again.
Past Mexico Grand Prix results:
2017 Verstappen (Red Bull), Bottas (Mercedes), Raikkonen (Ferrari)
2016 Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg (Mercedes), Ricciardo (Red Bull)
2015 Rosberg (Mercedes), Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas (Williams)
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