On this day in 2017: Lewis Hamilton wins fourth world title in Formula One

Lewis Hamilton was crowned Formula One world champion for a fourth time on this day five years ago, despite a dramatic opening-lap collision with rival Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton’s fourth drivers’ championship saw him become Britain’s most successful Formula One racer, overtaking Sir Jackie Stewart’s haul of three titles.

At the Mexican Grand Prix, pole-sitter Vettel, Max Verstappen and Hamilton – who started third – were three abreast on the way down to the first corner.

Vettel clashed wheels with Verstappen before hitting the back of the Red Bull, allowing Hamilton to move ahead at turn three, before the German then hit the back of the British driver’s Mercedes.

Hamilton beat Vettel to the championship title despite the pair colliding in the first lap in Mexico
Hamilton beat Vettel to the championship title despite the pair colliding in the first lap in Mexico (David Davies/PA)

Hamilton suffered a right-rear puncture and Vettel damaged his front wing, with both returning to the pits for repairs before the Mercedes driver rejoined the race in last position.

The stewards looked at the incident but decided not to take any action, with Hamilton eventually finishing eighth to become only the fifth driver to have won the title more than three times, alongside Michael Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost and Vettel.

“Viva, Mexico,” Hamilton said at the time, with the flag draped over his back. “I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who came out to support us. I hope we gave them a good race.”

Hamilton became the only British driver to have more than three championship titles
Hamilton became the only British driver to have more than three championship titles (Tim Goode/PA)

“I did everything I could. I had a good start and I don’t really know what happened in turn three. I gave him plenty of room and I tried as hard as I could to come back.

“It doesn’t feel real. That was not the kind of race I wanted, but I never gave up and that is what is important – what is in my heart – that I kept going right to the end.

“I am grateful for today and I just want to lift it up to my family, and to God and Mercedes, who have been incredible for the last five years and I am so proud to be a part of it.”

Hamilton added further world championships in 2018, 2019 and 2020 to equal Schumacher’s record of seven titles.