Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton nearly lost Mexico Grand Prix during the first lap

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It was a solid weekend for Lewis Hamilton as he managed to close the gap on Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to 19 points in the race for the title after clinching first place in the Mexico Grand Prix on Sunday.

The British driver has now won consecutive races following his triumph in Austin a week ago. 

However, it could have easily gone terribly wrong for the current World Champion during the first lap itself after an early tussle with Rosberg. 


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Hamilton, who started the race in pole position, was forced into the first corner after locking his tyre due to a "glazed brake disc", resulting in the Brit running wide onto the grass and skipping turn two completely. 

Many saw the move as deserving of a penalty, including Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who was later penalised for a similar incident during the closing stages of the race, but Hamilton managed to escape without any consequences. 

Mercedes were ready to call the 31-year-old in for an early pit stop due to severe damage to his car's front tyre. 

However, a safety car period due to a collision between Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson allowed the team to reevaluate the situation.

Hamilton commented on the incident: "It was huge. A massive plat spot and I honestly thought that I was going to have to come in.

"When I came out of the chicane I honestly thought I was coming in that lap and that was my race pretty much done. But they told me to stay out, the safety car came out and they felt that we could live with the vibration and it wouldn't damage the suspension.

"It was getting worse and worse even though I wasn't locking up any more. But I had to take a lot of precautions while trying to nurse the car to the 17th lap."

A pit stop after the first lap would have cost Hamilton an unnecessary few seconds which would have almost guaranteed him a position below first place. 

The vibrations, caused by the misshaped tyre, seemed "scary" on the data monitor as described by team leader Toto Wolff.

He explained: "With all the bad luck Lewis has had throughout the season, he got some of that back today, some of the good luck back, because he badly flat-spotted the tyre.

"The vibrations matrix was scary from the beginning. We had quite a conversation on the radio about whether we should pit him for safety reasons."

Wolff was pointing towards the many engine failures suffered by Hamilton during the year, which pegged him back behind Rosberg by a large margin in the race for the Driver's Championship. 

The boss added: "In any other race we would have pitted him and lost the race. We kept him out there in order to not throw away the championship for him.

"Every single lap, every single straight, we monitored the vibrations. Our team did a fantastic job in keeping that under control and then we pitted him a bit earlier because the vibration matrix was going sky high and a suspension failure could have easily happened."

Hamilton managed to go 17 laps before being called in for a tyre change, which was vital to maintaining his lead in the race. 

Wolff concluded: "That was the earliest we could have pitted him. Everything else would have destroyed the race. But honestly it was not a comfortable situation we found ourselves in there to make that call, weighing up the championship versus a failure of the suspension."

Apart from the initial hiccup, it was pretty much smooth sailing for Hamilton as he cruised to a victory ahead of rival Rosberg. 

But, he still faces a stiff task during the remaining two races if he is to dismount the German from top spot in the rankings.

Formula 1

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