Sebastian Vettel‘s second place in the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix wasn’t enough to keep his slim title hopes alive but the German was quick to congratulate his rival, the five-time champion Lewis Hamilton.
Vettel needed to win in Mexico to stand any chance of stopping Hamilton from claiming the title with two races to spare but tyre drama and a dominant Max Verstappen proved too much for 2018’s runner-up.
Starting from fourth on the grid, Vettel fought his way by both Daniel Ricciardo and Hamilton to trail Verstappen home ahead of his team-mate Kimi Räikkönen.
“I’m glad that Kimi and I were on the podium today and also because the atmosphere here is always great,” said Vettel, “but obviously I am disappointed for the result of the drivers’ championship.
“At the beginning of the race I was looking after my tyres a little bit. Then, after passing Lewis, we thought about putting some pressure on Max, also trying something different in case they would start to struggle with their tyres towards the end, but he was too quick to catch.”
For the first time in Formula 1 history, two four-time world champions went head-to-head for the title. With Vettel failing to win in Mexico, Hamilton’s fourth place was enough to see him equal Juan Manuel Fangio‘s five world championships.
In a show of sportsmanship, Vettel personally congratulated Hamilton and the entire Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team after the race.
“I want to congratulate him [Verstappen] for this race and Lewis on winning the championship. This is not a very happy day for me, but one thing is being down and another is not being able to get back up, and I know that in two weeks I will be back up and try my best to finish the season well and fight for the Constructors’ championship.”