On Sunday, despite finishing fourth behind Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkönen, Lewis Hamilton became a Formula One World Champion for the fifth time, joining Juan Manuel Fangio in a very exclusive club. It was a well deserved victory following his almost flawless drives throughout the season, and a great day for Britain, Mercedes-Benz, and the sport itself. Frankly, Sebastian Vettel couldn't have been a better sport about the situation, just like how Hamilton couldn't have hugged more members of his team given his post-race duties.
Looking at the results from another angle, the Mexican Grand Prix remained true to Formula One's current colors: Max Verstappen won, just like he did in 2017, while Lewis Hamilton secured the championship, just like he did in 2017. Luckily for us, the other major race of the weekend, WRC Spain, was slightly less predictable.
Spain is the only split surface rally on the calendar, and Hyundai's Thierry Neuville tried his best not to lose the lead to Sebastien Ogier before the final race of the season. But what neither M-Sport's reigning champion nor the fastest Belgian could predict was Sébastien Loeb's performance, with the nine-time world champion granting Citroën its first win in 2018.
Loeb retired from full-time rallying in 2013, but the 44-year-old came back for three events this year: Mexico, his home rally in France, and finally, Spain. Loeb hasn't driven in Spain for six years, but that couldn't slow him down. Apparently, nothing can.
Of course, Loeb isn't playing the big game anymore. Ogier is, and having finished second, he advanced to the top of the leaderboard, meaning that it will all come down the season finale in Australia. WRC , mainly because these 380 horsepower monsters are so evenly matched that nearing the end of the season, Hyundai's Thierry Neuville is only three points behind Ogier's Ford, and Toyota's Ott Tänak also has a mathematical chance of victory. And just when we thought it couldn't get better, the pair of Loeb and Daniel Elena did what was thought impossible, driving what seemed to be the slowest car of the season to victory.
If you're curious to see how that happened, here's a quick rundown of the highlights of the weekend:
Before Loeb's surprise win, said new signings like Ogier's and young Esapekka Lappi's will give a real boost to the team in 2019. And as for Loeb, he is part of the PSA family, so he'll likely be back again too. I guess that's what "staying active after retirement" means in his book.
Once the champagne bottles were emptied by Team Citroën, :
My future is to do this maybe. I don’t know, it’s not clear for the moment. Peugeot retired from rallycross, so I have to look into what I will do now. Right now, given how the rally panned out, I’d be tempted to say it’s perhaps my greatest win. It was an almighty scrap, right to the bitter end. When I saw I had won on the display at the end of the final stage, it was a truly incredible feeling. It’s really nice to have managed to be on the pace again after all these years, because the guys haven’t stood still while I’ve been away.