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Lewis Hamilton keeps his title hopes alive with victory at dramatic Mexican Grand Prix

The Mercedes driver pipped his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Image: Tony Gutierrez

DEFENDING CHAMPION LEWIS Hamilton kept alive his title defence with a controlled and near-flawless victory ahead of championship leader and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in a dramatic Mexican Grand Prix.

The 31-year-old Briton came home comfortably ahead of the German to trim his advantage to 19 points with two races remaining after a fiery finish to the 71-lap race.

This saw four-time champion Sebastian Vettel lose his temper during a tempestuous exchange following a clash with teenager Max Verstappen of Red Bull -– the conflict being settled by the stewards who swiftly handed the Dutchman a five seconds penalty.

Verstappen, who had finished third, had already taken his place in the pre-podium room with the two Mercedes drivers before the stewards’ decision was taken -– while Vettel fumed and gave vent to a stream of profanities –- but made a hasty retreat when the German came to the room.

But the final fury that followed the battle for third place taken by Vettel could not overshadow a fine drive by Hamilton to his second win in succession, his eighth of the season and the 51st of his career.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull finished fourth ahead of the relegated Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and Nico Hulkenberg who was seventh for Force India.

Valtteri Bottas finished eighth for Williams ahead of his team-mate Felipe Massa and local hero Sergio Perez who claimed the final point in the second Force India.

The Mercedes team’s one-two victory was a record 17th for the season and it was Hamilton’s 30th win from pole position.

© AFP 2016

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