Hamilton wins fourth Formula One world title

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Mexico City (AFP)

Britain's Lewis Hamilton won a fourth Formula One world title on Sunday despite finishing the Mexican Grand Prix in ninth place as Red Bull's Max Verstappen took the race victory.

It was an anti-climatic way for 32-year-old Hamilton to win the 2017 crown after a first-lap collision with Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari left him with a puncture and needing to pit for a new tyre.

Vettel also had to pit for a new wing but the German's slim hopes of keeping the title race alive were ended by his fourth-placed finish.

Hamilton joins Vettel and Alain Prost as a four-time world champion.

Only two drivers have achieved more –- seven-time champion Michael Schumacher and five-time champion Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio -– while Hamilton leaves behind a cluster of five celebrated masters of the track on three apiece.

To have won more than men like Australia’s Jack Brabham, fellow-Briton Jackie Stewart, Austrian Niki Lauda and Brazilians Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna is a spectacular statement of achievement.

"I don't know what happened at turn three, I gave him plenty of room," said Hamilton.

"It doesn't feel real man. It's not the race you want when you're 40 seconds down, but I never gave up."