Lewis Hamilton's wait for a third consecutive and sixth overall Formula One championship will continue, despite winning the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Brit and Max Verstappen made contact in the first corner, but the championship leader didn't suffer any damage and took the lead thanks to intelligent pit-stop timing. Despite a late push from Sebastian Vettel, he held on to the lead, but Valtteri Bottas' third-placed finish was good enough to keep the title fight alive.
Charles Leclerc was the fastest man on track for most of the race, but a botched pit stop robbed him of the win. He finished fourth, ahead of Alex Albon and Verstappen, who completed an impressive comeback after his incident with Hamilton.
The next race will be the Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday, November 3.
Here are the final race results:
The race had a spectacular start, with contact between the two Ferrari drivers and a minor incident with Hamilton and Verstappen in the very first corner. While Leclerc and Vettel didn't lose any ground after touching, their rivals did:
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🚦AND IT'S LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO🚦 ￼ A chaotic few opening corners! Verstappen and Hamilton touch, Albon jumps up to third, and the two Ferrari's bump!💥 📺Live on Sky Sports F1 📱Live on the App and Sky Go: https://t.co/BFwOUmJQSn 💻Live blog: https://t.co/CkqLNAZAQx https://t.co/vuR8GvmJJq
The incidents and debris immediately brought out the Virtual Safety Car, and shortly after racing resumed, Verstappen was involved in another dust-up. He picked up a puncture while overtaking Bottas, forcing him into an early pit stop and ruining his plans.
Ferrari held the two top spots after the early chaos, with Albon running third and matching their pace.
Further back, Verstappen ran fastest and soon overtook Lando Norris after an unfortunate pit stop:
Albon and Leclerc soon dove into the pit lane, moving Vettel into the lead and Hamilton into second place. The Brit appeared to be on a one-stop strategy, forcing Ferrari into a difficult decision with Vettel, who was doing a great job managing his tyres.
Leclerc quickly gained ground on Bottas on his fresh rubber, while Hamilton went for the undercut on Vettel with a fast stop from Mercedes.
F1 writer Kunal Shah enjoyed the strategic battle:
Vettel opted to stay out longer on his medium tyres, while Hamilton started to complain about the feel of his hards over the radio, fearing they stopped too early. His lap times reflected his concerns, as they were slower than Vettel's, despite the fresher rubber.
Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly nearly ruined the German's stint with a battle just as he caught up to them, costing him time and nearly making contact. This allowed Bottas to close the gap a bit, but he pitted almost immediately after. Vettel responded and put on the hard compound.
Ferrari had the advantage at this point, but Leclerc needed a second stop, and disaster struck. The right rear tyre didn't go on properly, costing him precious seconds. Albon's stop was much faster, leaving Hamilton and Vettel to fight it out at the front, with Leclerc running one spot ahead of the Red Bull man in fourth.
Hamilton's pace was far too slow to maintain his gap to Vettel, but he in turn lost ground fast to Bottas. Leclerc had the freshest tyres, but a lock-up hampered his bid to catch up.
The race seemed headed for a spectacular conclusion, but it wasn't to be. Hamilton produced some of his best driving to keep Vettel at bay in the final laps, winning yet another race. He's just four points shy of the title ahead of the USA Grand Prix.
In the background, Daniil Kvyat punted Nico Hulkenberg in the final corner, falling out of the points after he received a penalty.