- Valtteri Bottas clocks the DHL Fastest Lap in Mexico for the sixth time during the current campaign
- The Mercedes driver sets a new lap record at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
- Bottas extends his lead in the 2018 DHL Fastest Lap Award
Valtteri Bottas posts DHL Fastest Lap in Mexico
Lewis Hamilton was crowned F1 World Champion at the end of the Mexico Grand Prix. This fifth title puts the Brit on level pegging with Juan Manuel Fangio. Fourth place in the race was enough to seal the title win for the Mercedes man, with two weekends still remaining. Although Hamilton’s closest pursuer Sebastian Vettel finished in second position, it is no longer mathematically possible for the Ferrari driver to close the gap in the last two races of the season.
"Honestly, it's very hard to realise it at the moment. It's something I dreamed of, but I never in a million years thought I'd be standing here today a five-time World Champion. I never knew that was going to happen and I am just so grateful to everyone who has helped me be here", Hamilton said. "I want to say a big thank you to all the fans here for making the Mexican Grand Prix as special as it is. And I want to say a big thank you to my team."
The race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was characterized by rapid tire wear, which compromised the Mercedes drivers’ race disproportionately. Hamilton stopped twice, and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas even pitted three times. This third set of tires did, however, enable the Finn to set the DHL Fastest Lap in a time of 1:18.741. It came on Lap 65th immediately after his third and final stop.
"The start of the race was actually pretty good, but then we started to struggle with the tyres. The tyre life on this track was really poor; I ended up doing three stops, which is two stops more than we predicted", Bottas said. "I tried to manage the tyres, I made sure not to slide, but they still just fell apart. I don't know yet why we struggled so much and on all three different compounds, so we will have to look into that and find out why we ran into these problems."
The second fastest lap of the race was registered by overall winner Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver took the lead at the start and retained it for the entire race. The third-fastest lap went to the second Red Bull driven by Daniel Ricciardo. But the Australian had a miserable day compared to his team-mate: he was forced to retire shortly before the end of the race due to a technical issue whilst on course for a podium.
Fastest laps: FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MÉXICO 2018
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:18.741 - on lap 65
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:19.186 - on lap 66
- Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:19.462 - on lap 57
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:19.522 - on lap 49
- Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 1:20.334 - on lap 19
- Charles Leclerc (Sauber) 1:20.537 - on lap 67
- Nico Hülkenberg (Renault) 1:20.637 - on lap 67
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:20.728 - on lap 49
- Romain Grosjean (Haas) 1:21.370 - on lap 46
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 1:21.874 - on lap 45
History: Fastest Laps at the FORMULA 1 MEXICO GRAND PRIX
The DHL Fastest Lap time of 1:18.741 minutes set by Valtteri Bottas was also a new lap record for a race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The Mercedes driver shaved 0.045 seconds off the previous best time set by Sebastian Vettel. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo also broke the absolute track record in qualifying, booking pole position in a time of 1:15.866 minutes.
Bottas extends his lead in the 2018 DHL Fastest Lap Award
With his sixth DHL Fastest Lap of the season, Valtteri Bottas has taken a further decisive step towards winning the DHL Fastest Lap Award for the first time. In the last two races of the season, the Mercedes driver can no longer be overtaken, although Daniel Ricciardo on four fastest laps could tie for the trophy if he sets the best time in Brazil as well as in Abu Dhabi.