Hamilton’s crown slipping as Verstappen increases pressure
MEXOCO CITY: It may still be a little early to proclaim “The king is dead, long live the king” but after Max Verstappen’s win in Sunday’s Mexico Grand Prix, the coronation of the Dutchman looks more and more likely.
For the last four seasons and for six of the last seven years, Lewis Hamilton has ruled the track.
The only time he failed to win the world title in that time was when he was outsmarted by his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in 2016. Otherwise, the Briton has been the undisputed top dog.
This year, however, the 36-year-old’s reign appears to be coming to an end. With four races remaining he is second in the standings, 19 points behind the young pretender Verstappen, 24, who just three races ago trailed by two points.
There is still time for Hamilton to come through on the rails and snatch an unprecedented eighth world title but current form, which has seen him win just once in the last eight races, suggests otherwise. More telling than the end result was the manner of Sunday’s defeat as Verstappen’s Red Bull, starting in third, blew away both Mercedes cars on the opening turn before easing away for a comfortable ninth victory of the season.
Hamilton clung on for second place ahead of the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez but he knows the title is slipping away, even if he posted some typically punchy words on his Instagram account on Monday.