#HiFive Lewi5: FIVE-TIME World Champion
Lewi5 Hamilton clinched the 2018 Formula 1™ World Drivers’ Championship title for the fifth time in Mexico City last weekend, a race where Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s fortunes mirrored that of 2017’s rollercoaster event with unique track conditions changing the face of the front-running field.
Due to the 7,500ft elevation of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit, only 78% of oxygen found at sea level negated the relative power differential between the team, Ferrari and Red Bull. That – paired with graining tyres – led to a particularly challenging weekend for the team.
Starting from P3 and P5 respectively, Lewis and Valtteri made a brilliant getaway on UltraSoft tyres to challenge the leading Red Bulls. As the field approached the braking zone for Turn 1, car #44 pulled ahead of Ricciardo – and briefly leader Verstappen – before consolidating P2 for the opening stint. Further behind, contact between Vettel at Turn 5 offered a brief opportunity for fifth-placed Valtteri to gain positions himself, but it wasn’t to be.
Seizing the initiative on Lap 11, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s pit crew ‘double-stacked’ Lewis and Valtteri to pressure surrounding cars into reactionary stops. As expected, Ricciardo was the first to blink a lap later, but re-emerged between the two Silver Arrows.
Lewis, now on fresh SuperSoft rubber, was able to quickly gain ground on third-placed Raikkonen, eventually making a decisive move to pass on Lap 17 before both Ferraris pitted for SuperSoft tyres themselves. With the first pit window effectively closed, the top six returned to their original order with Lewis placed second, Valtteri fifth.
Even with a relatively short lap around the Mexico City circuit, the race itself would prove to be one of attrition as the pace of cars ebbed and flowed with tyre conditions. Vettel’s pace in this stint would prove to be the next challenge on the team’s radar as he powered past fourth-placed Ricciardo on Lap 34, and firmly placed Lewis in his sights for a challenge 5 laps later.
Unfortunately, Lewis was unable to defend against the Ferrari’s relative tyre advantage and conceded the place rather than losing further time. As the front tyres continued to grain on both Silver Arrows, Lewis soon became vulnerable to the chasing Ricciardo and relinquished fourth place on Lap 47. As evidenced by a trip across the grass at the Turn 1-2-3 complex in defending this move, Lewis’ tyres had reached the limit and the team opted for one final stop on Lap 48, fitting the pink UltraSoft tyres.
Mirroring his teammate’s experience, Valtteri also took a trip across the grass attempting to defend fifth from Raikkonen, before stopping on Lap 48 for a set of UltraSofts himself. 14 laps later, the retirement of Ricciardo bought out the Virtual Safety Car which effectively gifted Valtteri a free stop to fit the HyperSoft tyres – the Finn would go on to set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:18.741.
Despite race-long tyre trouble and relentless pressure from behind, the Silver Arrows crossed the line fourth and fifth to bring home 22 valuable Constructors’ Championship points. More importantly, Lewis’ fourth place was enough to secure the Drivers’ Championship crown despite the two races remaining, with a 64-point advantage over Sebastian Vettel.
Pure Pit Wall recorded 56 overtakes in total at the #MexicoGP, 26 of which were DRS assisted.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (585 points) leads Ferrari (530 points) by 55 points in the Constructors’ Championship with two races remaining.
Discover how Pure Storage gives Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport an #UnfairAdvantage at PurePitWall.com as we take a weeks’ break before the highly-anticipated Brazilian Grand Prix.