It looked a certainty that Hamilton would secure the championship this weekend, the only question was how would he do it. Would it be with a dominant win, or maybe a steady podium? Nope, neither.
The first corner melee which saw both Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel drop to the back pretty much guaranteed Hamilton the title, but whilst Vettel gave it everything to try and get back up into the top two, Hamilton was having a muted drive – until he came up behind Fernando Alonso.
The two engaged in an epic duel as Alonso did everything to fend off the Mercedes, but Hamilton eventually found a way past to finish a lowly ninth.
Not that he’ll care, as it turned out to be plenty to secure championship number four and make him the most successful British driver of all time, surpassing Sir Jackie Stewart.
Up at the the front, Max Verstappen ran away and hid after grabbing the lead at turn two, the only threat to his victory being the possibility of a Renault failure. And it was a big threat too, as four Renault-powered cars dropped out of the race with problems, including teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
For once Max had a bit of good fortune with reliability though, and he cruised to an easy victory. Not that it was ever in doubt with Dany Kvyat getting demoted again though, right?
Valtteri Bottas was some 20 seconds behind in second place, with Kimi Raikkonen an even more distant third. Vettel gave it his all as he managed to recover to fourth, the last driver not to be lapped.
Esteban Ocon equalled his best ever result with fifth, but only just managed to hold off birthday boy Lance Stroll, who benefitted from a Virtual Safety Car to finish a pretty impressive sixth.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 29, 2017
It’s weird to think that the championship was won with a ninth-place finish with two races to go, when just a few races ago Hamilton and Vettel were separated by just a few points. But hey, that’s F1!
Both championships may have been decided, but there’s still plenty to be fought for in the last couple of races. And with the top three teams looking extremely closely matched, there’s every chance we could be in for a couple of classics.