Sebastian Vettel wants strong Lewis Hamilton back to fight again

Max Verstappen Mexican GP 2018

The signs were there for Red Bull, with Verstappen copping a hydraulics failure to his vehicle during Friday practice.

Lewis Hamilton will celebrate winning the world championship with his dogs in Los Angeles, the triumphant Briton revealed on Sunday night.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, of Germany, right, embrace at the end of the Formula One Mexico Grand Prix auto race at the Hermanos Rodriguez racetrack in Mexico City, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. "I honestly don't see the point of coming". They're free to race, but they've got to keep it clean. "But yeah, I held a lot in, I've got to save some energy for tomorrow", he told reporters after calming down a bit. A seventh-place finish will secure the British driver's fifth career title, matching the late Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina for second most in F1 history.

The Australian was forced to retire for the second consecutive race at Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix, causing his frustrations with his Red Bull vehicle to bubble to the surface.

"He fought so hard this year", Hamilton said. "I'm just praying for a smooth and safe race".

Verstappen said his vehicle didn't feel right despite fast times in Saturday morning practice and the early stages of qualifying. I'm not superstitious or any of that. but the car's cursed. I feel honored to have my name alongside his.

Red Bull, revelling in the high altitude conditions which equalise engine performance, set the tone for the weekend on Friday when they comprehensively outpaced Mercedes and Ferrari in practice. Verstappen is the defending race champion and dominated the three rounds of practice.

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With Verstappen galloping into the distance, and Hamilton losing time to his rivals behind, he was the first of the leaders to stop for fresh rubber on lap 11. He's leaving the team for Renault in 2019. The two had a costly collision in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that knocked both cars out of the race.

"The frustration for us as a Team is that we didn't have both drivers on the podium". "Hopefully we're in a quicker vehicle all day". But it was a run of wins over the second half of the season that sent Hamilton to Mexico City all but assured of the championship. He'd said before the race he likely couldn't beat the Red Bulls.

Ricciardo, who is leaving Red Bull at the end of the season for Renault and will be replaced by Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly, has won twice this year but also had eight retirements in 19 races.

Hamilton's fifth championship arguably ranks among his best. A strong start Sunday was followed by a clunky race just to ensure a fourth for the championship.

"We saw what happened previous year with the red vehicle behind, so I don't know what will happen at the start tomorrow", he added.

"The thing is, everyone's going to be barrelling into Turn 1 to gain places". If there's an opening and an opportunity to take it, I'll take it.

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