Lewis Hamilton won his fifth world title in Formula One at the Mexican Grand Prix after finishing fourth on Sunday.
The Brit may not have secured the podium this weekend, but the highest accolades were definitely reserved for him as he defeated challenger and arch-rival Sebastian Vettel for the title, gaining an unassailable 64-point lead before the season ends next month in Abu Dhabi.
It was Vettel who was the first among many to congratulate Hamilton moments after the conclusion of the race, and he showed absolute class later on as well ahead of heading to the podium at the Mexico City circuit.
The Ferrari ace entered Mercedes’ debrief to congratulate the Silver Arrows team on the achievement which showed the true spirit of sportsmanship on his part.
The gesture was rightfully applauded by the engineers present in the garage of the UK-based outfit, and as the Ferrari ace exited, it was Mercedes boss Toto Wolff who patted him on the back signifying mutual respect, while exchanging a few words as well.
“I told him [Hamilton] it was well deserved and to enjoy it. Number five, I think it’s something incredible. He drove superbly all year. He was the better one of us two,” said Vettel during the post-race press conference.
“So I mainly congratulated him and asked him to keep pushing for next year and said I’ll do my best to fight him again.”
Hamilton gave his views on Vettel’s actions, saying: “He came over and the one thing I remember him saying is 'don't let off, I need you fighting with me next year', which I respect naturally.
“It was a true showing of sportsmanship and great respect between us. That's great to happen with multiple world champions, two competitors who have gone head-to-head.
“It's been a hard year and he has fought so well, he drove fantastically well today and I know he's going to go from strength to strength so I've got to keep staying on my toes and keep trying to come back.”
Vettel reflected on the Drivers’ Championship this year, but promised an improved showing from the Scuderia for the next campaign.
“There can only be one winner and he is the one who deserves it this year,” added the four-time world champion.
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“There are still a lot of lessons to learn, and we need to make sure we make the right conclusions. We are very talented and gifted team, we have the most support behind us, we have huge potential - of which some still needs to be unleashed.
“We are fighting very hard. But we will try to beat Mercedes in the Constructors' Championship and knock them off their throne to give them a taste for next year.”
Ferrari are still in the race with Mercedes for the Constructors’ title as we gear up for the remaining two races in Brazil and the finale at Abu Dhabi, marking the end of yet another scintillating season in top-flight racing.