After a testing race in Mexico, Lewis Hamilton becomes the most successful British Formula One driver of all time.
In a race where Hamilton managed to cross the line in only ninth position after a previous collision involving rival Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton managed to secure his fourth world title. Matching Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel on number of Championships won, only Juan Manuel Fangio (5 championship titles) and Michael Schumacher (7 championship titles) now sit ahead of Hamilton in the table of Formula One’s all-time greats.
Talking straight after the race, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1:
"It doesn't feel real … I'm really happy with this fourth. I'm going to have to take some time to really think about it but I'm proud of the flag and everyone who represents it. That's not the kind of race that you want but I never gave up”
It certainly wasn’t the kind of race that Hamilton would have wanted to claim his fourth title with. Suffering a puncture on lap one after Vettel’s wing came into contact with his right rear tyre, Hamilton and Vettel dropped down into 20th and 18th respectively and then both faced an uphill climb to regain positions.
In order to extend his championship dreams to Brazil on the 12th November, Vettel needed to finish in second position with Hamilton outside of the top five. With that fact in the back of everyone’s minds, the race that followed was one filled with apprehension as both drivers tried to make their way through the field. Vettel got straight to work whilst Hamilton’s Mercedes seemed to struggle with cooling issues when close to any other cars. Pushing hard, Hamilton started to achieve move-after-move, subsequently putting in some stunning racing and proving his metal as Britain’s most successful F1 driver.
Heading into the final stages of the race, it seemed like Vettel’s only chance at the required second position finish depended solely on the Renault engine of Verstappen giving up. Plagued with cooling issues, due to the warmer air and altitude, Renault’s engine had largely been able to cope with the conditions; with almost all Renault powered cars retiring with issues (and on multiple occasions, fire).
Treated to nothing but cool air 20 seconds ahead of the pack, Verstappen had no issues bringing his car home in what he called “one of my easiest races ever”. Consistently being asked to slow down to save the engine, Verstappen put together yet another fantastic performance and once again reminded us of his future World Champion potential.
Regardless of Verstappen’s incredible drive, all eyes were on Hamilton as he took his fourth world title. Battling with Ferrari throughout the season, Hamilton has dominated ever since the summer break – proving the reliability of the Mercedes-Benz package and his ability to cope with the pressure of chasing the title for an entire season.
We still have another two races to come this Formula One season. Bottas is now close in points to Vettel, so the race to claim second place will certainly be about to hot up. With nothing to lose, we can hopefully expect the pack to throw caution to the wind and put on some no holds barred entertainment for the remaining races.