MEXICO CITY (AP) — Lewis Hamilton survived a nervous start to win the Mexican Grand Prix this morning, grabbing another victory as he chases Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg for the Formula One season championship.
But with a 19-point deficit to Rosberg and just two races left, Hamilton is running out of time.Rosberg finished second.
Hamilton started on pole position and held the front despite locking his wheels and cutting through the grass on the first corner.
He recovered to hold position and drove off to grab his 51st career victory, tying Alain Prost for second most in F1 history.
The two-time defending champion is keeping what pressure he can on Rosberg in the title chase.
Rosberg can still win his first career championship if he gets a second and third-place finish in the final two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished third after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was penalized 5 seconds after the race for leaving the track and gaining the advantage.
The move came in a late-race duel between Vettel and Verstappen for third.
As they crossed the finish line, Vettel pulled alongside Verstappen and waved his finger at him.
The Dutch teenager responded by shaking his fist.
The penalty pushed Verstappen back to fifth behind his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
Hamilton has been bedeviled by poor starts all season, but got a good bolt off the line into one of the longest straights in Formula One.
A big wheel lockup approaching the first sent him through the turn and driving into the grass, but he held position before driving off for the victory.
Rosberg battled with Verstappen all afternoon.
They bumped tyres on the first corner, sending the Mercedes driver into the grass. Rosberg held position and race stewards decided there would be no penalty, but without the bump, Verstappen likely would have emerged in second for the early laps.
Verstappen made a late charge to pass Rosberg with a bold move on lap 50, but couldn’t hold the position through the corner, missing a chance to close Rosberg’s margin for error over the final two races.
With Rosberg forced to fight for second, Hamilton had no problems coasting to his eighth win of the season and second in a row.