Lewis Hamilton crowned F1 World Champion for fifth time

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Lewis Hamilton fears he will not win his fifth world championship in style after claiming the rampant Red Bull cars will be out of reach in Mexico.

After his fourth place ensured the title Hamilton said he was still struggling to take it in. "Ultimately it was the goal".

"It wasn't won here, it was won with a lot of hard work throughout a lot of races (during the season)". How can I be fitter? I don't have any more words.

"So it was mainly congratulating him and to tell him to keep pushing for next year because I want him at his best to fight him again". Just in all areas.

"I feel this year I have been able to lift them all up".

"For now I am not the happiest guy, but in two weeks' time I will step into the auto I always dreamed of driving and there is plenty to be happy about".

The Mercedes driver has drawn level with Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio - two behind record holder Michael Schumacher on seven.

A defeated Sebastian Vettel conceded that Lewis Hamilton was the best driver in 2018 after finishing second in Mexico Sunday and falling out of championship contention.

"It was a terrible race". That's as good as I could get. "I am really proud of everyone".

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Then I don't know what happened after that. I think we need to stand there and accept that and say congratulations.

His technical chief James Allison added: "Today was painful, painful indeed. We had the right tyres available and the auto was working brilliantly".

"That's how you [are] supposed to drive".

Defending champion Hamilton failed to top the podium in any of the first three races and a victory in Baku looked unlikely too until he capitalised on two strokes of fortune.

"How am I going to be fitter?" Without them I couldn't have done it. "Ferrari are right there with us, but we're here to try and compete, so we will do the best we can to have a real race".

Monza had been a happy hunting ground for Hamilton before September's race and the Mercedes driver once more showed his liking for the circuit with a fifth Italian Grand Prix victory that stretched his overall lead to 30 points.

"Oh my god", he said. "I let a bit out once I heard I got pole, but I've got to save some energy for tomorrow".

"I knew it was there somewhere", Ricciardo said, beaming. I remember when I won a championship in Formula 3 years ago, a European championship, and even then it didn't register. "I hope that this kicks in soon, I'm definitely getting more excited as I think about it more".