It’s no news that the man from Stevenage is now a 5-time F1 champion, a feat he achieved in last Sunday’s Mexican GP at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City. Despite finishing P4, 12 points was more than enough for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to finally kill the hopes of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
The German needed to win the race and hope for Hamilton to finish below 7th place to keep his drivers’ championship hopes alive but instead Red Bull’s Max Verstappen stole the show with a commanding victory.
Hamilton is the 2018 F1 drivers’ champion with two races to spare, but at some point in the season it looked like his rival Vettel would beat him to a fifth title. Below are the races that gave the Brit his fifth title, puts him at par with the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio , and set him gunning for Schumi’s record seven titles:
1. Azerbaijan GP: Going into Baku, Hamilton was 9 points behind Vettel and with no wins after 3 races, the pressure was on him to take his first win. Qualifying P2, Hamilton would take advantage of Red Bull’s double DNF, Vettel’s locking up and his teammate Valtteri Bottas’ tyre puncture to win the race and lead the driver’s championship for the first time in the season. Patience pays.
2. German GP: After retiring in Austria and finishing behind his Ferrari rival in his home Grand Prix, Lewis was 8 points behind Vettel, but he answered his critics in spectacular fashion at Hockenheimring. Starting P14, he waltzed his way through the track, won the race and once again took the drivers’ championship lead. Vettel crashed out under a late rain while in the lead in his home GP. Miracles still happen.
3. The Italian GP: Many say this was where Seb lost the title. The fanatical Tifosi had come to see their drivers deliver a dominant 1-2, expecting Vettel to deliver another devastating blow to Hamilton like he did in the previous race at Spa. But their dream quickly became a nightmare as Vettel went into a spin after just four corners following a needless clash with Hamilton, who combined with his ‘wingman’ teammate to overtake Kimi Raikkonen. It was a victory behind enemy lines for Mercedes as Hamilton sensationally rose above the hostility of the Scuderia fans. Stuff of champions.
4. Singapore GP: With a 30-point lead, Hamilton set about extending his lead over Vettel. He did just that, starting the race on pole and winning in a ruthless, dominant manner. He had been untouchable all weekend on the Marina Bay Street Circuit which was supposed to favour Ferrari. Now leading with 40 points after Vettel could only take third while complaining about his team’s strategy, it was just a matter of time before the Silver Arrows driver would take his fifth title.
5. The Japanese GP: The 33-year-old Englishman claimed his fourth consecutive victory, his sixth in the last seven Grands Prix in a now-routine win. He had done his bit when he was under pressure mid-season and was now enjoying the fruit of his labour while his rival Vettel, who started eighth on the grid after a combination of driver and team errors in Saturday’s dry-wet qualifying, moved up four places in the opening lap before another clumsy collision with Max Verstappen. Vettel attempted an unrealistic move on the Dutchman, spinning round in a flurry of sparks as his championship hopes went up in smoke. At the end of yet another dominant weekend, Hamilton needed only another eight-point advantage over Vettel to become World Champion!
By Ekwonye Osy Ernesto