BREAKING NEWS: Hamilton wins fourth F1 title despite first-lap collision with Vettel
Lewis Hamilton has been crowned Formula One drivers' champion for the fourth time following a dramatic Mexico Grand Prix in which he sustained a puncture on the opening lap.
The Mercedes man was involved in a coming together with title rival Sebastian Vettel during a frantic start that also saw the German make contact with eventual race-winner Max Verstappen.
Hamilton and Vettel had to pit following the incident, pushing them to the back of the field as a blame game ensued over team radio.
Stewards deemed there to be no need for an investigation and Vettel – needing at least a second-place finish to have a chance of keeping the title race alive – set about picking off the drivers who lay between him and where he needed to be.
Hamilton had come into the race knowing a top-five finish would be enough to win the title but, even though his own race appeared ruined by the early setback, the impact of the collision on Vettel played hugely into the Briton's favour.
Vettel eventually worked his way to a fourth-place finish but would have needed victory as Hamilton finished ninth to take an unassailable 56-point lead in the championship with two races remaining.
The race was won by Red Bull's Verstappen, who emerged unscathed from the first-lap jostling to finish ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.