Lewis Hamilton claimed an incredible sixth world championship title on Sunday when he finished second at the United States Grand Prix. It was the Mercedes driver’s third straight Formula One world title and elevated his status as an all-time great of the sport.
With this title, the 34-year-old Briton added the to previous triumphs in 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018 and moved one title ahead of the legendary Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio. More importantly, Hamilton is now just one title behind the legendary Michael Schumacher.
The German’s haul of seven world titles has long been the benchmark of being the greatest F1 drivers of all times. But Hamilton has piled up an astonishing pile of statistical records that is bringing him ever closer to the all-time record. He has 83 wins from 248 races, only eight adrift of Schumacher’s record of 91, and a record 87 pole positions.
Interestingly, Hamilton said this was his hardest year, with Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas being his closest competitor. But a look at his results this year would tell you otherwise. The Briton has dominated the points table, and unlike the last two years, Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel – for long his closest rival – were nowhere close on his heels.
Here’s how his season panned out so far, with two more races to go.
Lewis Hamilton's 2019 season
|GRAND PRIX||DATE||RACE POSITION||POINTS|
|Australia||17 Mar 2019||2||18|
|Bahrain||31 Mar 2019||1||25|
|China||14 Apr 2019||1||25|
|Azerbaijan||28 Apr 2019||2||18|
|Spain||12 May 2019||1||26|
|Monaco||26 May 2019||1||25|
|Canada||09 Jun 2019||1||25|
|France||23 Jun 2019||1||25|
|Austria||30 Jun 2019||5||10|
|Great Britain||14 Jul 2019||1||26|
|Germany||28 Jul 2019||9||2|
|Hungary||04 Aug 2019||1||25|
|Belgium||01 Sep 2019||2||18|
|Italy||08 Sep 2019||3||16|
|Singapore||22 Sep 2019||4||12|
|Russia||29 Sep 2019||1||26|
|Japan||13 Oct 2019||3||16|
|Mexico||27 Oct 2019||1||25|
|United States||03 Nov 2019||2||18|
The Briton has won 10 races this season, scoring points in every single race so far. He did not reach the podium on only three occasion – fifth in the Austrian GP, fourth at Singapore and a disastrous race in Germany where he was 11th, after making six pit-stops and missing out on a points finish for the first time in 23 races
But such has been Hamilton’s aura this season that even fortune favoured him when he failed to score any points at the German GP.
Hamilton got a gift-wrapped ninth place and two precious points after 30-second penalties given to Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, more than five hours after the race, for data irregularities in their cars’ starting systems cost them seventh and eighth places respectively.
In the end, those points didn’t matter much as he was the comfortable championship leader with two races to go.
But that wasn’t the only race where the circumstances or fate played a role in the Briton’s triumphant season. Here’s a look at the biggest turning points in his season.
The game-changing races
Bahrain GP: Leclerc foiled win by engine problems, Hamilton wins
After finishing second behind Bottas at the season-opening Australian race, Hamilton enjoyed a slice of luck to claim his first victory of 2019. A dominant Charles Leclerc had claimed his first pole position for Ferrari but, after a poor start, had to ignore team orders and pass Vettel as he climbed back to lead before an engine problem saw him drop to third. The win put Hamilton within a point of Bottas at the top of the standings, preventing the reinvigorated Finn from enjoying a more luxurious early advantage.
Chinese GP: Hamilton dominates to move six points clear and take control
In F1’s 1000th race, Bottas took his second pole of the season after Melbourne, but Hamilton dominated from the start and pulled clear to establish a clear six points lead in the title race, gaining the momentum.
Spanish GP: Hamilton out-starts Bottas to seize initiative
Having seen Bottas win from pole in Azerbaijan as Mercedes dominated the early season races, Hamilton bounced back at the Circuit de Catalunya. The Finn was supreme in qualifying again with his third straight pole, but Hamilton passed him at Turn One to register his third win in five and begin a run of four in a row that established him on top of the title race. His dazzling lap for pole in Monaco, two weeks later, proved he was back to his best.
Canadaian GP: Vettel penalty gifts important win for Hamilton
This was a race shrouded in controversy created on lap 48 when Vettel, who led from his first pole of the season, went off under pressure from Hamilton and then almost hit him as he re-joined. The stewards handed Vettel a five-seconds penalty that relegated him to second despite finishing first with Leclerc third. Ferrari’s bid to appeal with new evidence was rejected at the following French race where Hamilton reigned supreme again in a processional Mercedes’ sixth one-two of the season.
Hungarian GP: Masterful tactics and flawless driving
Evidence of the threat from Red Bull’s aggressive Max Verstappen, who beat Leclerc to win in Austria and then stormed to a dramatic win in rain-hit Germany, came when he took his maiden pole position and led the way at the tight Hungaroring with Hamilton unable to pass him.
But a masterful decision to take an extra pit stop saw the champion storm to victory, thanks to his fresher tyres in the closing laps. Ferrari’s resurgent speed was soon to transform the form-book and show how valuable this triumph was for Hamilton.
Japanese GP: Hamilton storms to retain advantage
The threat of Typhoon Hagibis forced qualifying to take place on Sunday morning, Vettel grabbing pole to give Ferrari their fifth pole in a row since the European summer break.
But the Italian team converted only three into victories, Hamilton winning at Sochi and Bottas at Suzuka where the Briton’s third place kept him in a comfortable lead. It was his 29th successive race in the points and, despite nine wins in 17 races to that point, his consistency and tenacity were proving invaluable.
With AFP Inputs