04 November 2019 00:40
The British driver has been head and shoulders above his rivals all season on the road to his sixth F1 world drivers' title Lewis Hamilton warned he was not expecting miracles at the US Grand Prix, where he sought a remarkable sixth Formula One world championship. Divine intervention was, of course, unnecessary as he duly took the title to stand alone behind only Michael Schumacher as the most successful driver in history. Hamilton would dearly have liked to seal his sixth title with a win but second place proved more than enough and followed, appropriately, a fiercely determined drive at the Circuit of the Americas that summed up why the championship was his and deservedly so. Six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton is the best driver I have seen | Johnny Herbert Read more Hamilton took eight wins from the opening 12 races of the season. Hamilton celebrated the title in Austin but it was surely won in the five meetings from the French to the Hungarian grands prix.
These were three of his best wins, astride his two worst finishes and by the time he had victory at the Hungaroring only mechanical failure or repeated driver error was going to stop him and the latter was unthinkable. In his 13th year in the sport he is the only F1 driver to have scored at least one victory in every season in which he has competed. Since 2014, a period during which Mercedes have often, but not always, had the best car, Hamilton has been without doubt their best driver. He has scored at least 10 wins a year in all but one of those six seasons. In 2016 when Nico Rosberg pipped him to the title Hamilton still won 10 races.
Lewis Hamilton seals sixth F1 world title with second place at US Grand Prix Read more With the title, Hamilton ensured Mercedes have their sixth consecutive drivers' and constructors' championship double. Lewis Hamilton sealed his sixth world drivers' title with second place in the United States Grand Prix. The result means Hamilton becomes the second most successful F1 driver of all time - moving him to within one championship of all-time record-holder Michael Schumacher, whose tally of seven is now within his reach. Hamilton failed in a valiant attempt to win the race by trying a different strategy to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas but that did not matter such was his points advantage. Hamilton held off Max Verstappen for second as Bottas stroked to victory. Hamilton had said before the race that he was not thinking of sealing the championship in Austin, Texas, only of winning the race, and he drove with the fierce competitive instinct that has defined his season and career. His decision to run long, do a single pit stop and try to hold off his rivals at the end did not quite work out - Bottas passed him with three laps to go - but it was a drive befitting the towering achievement he was to secure at the end of the race. Asked what he could go on to achieve in his career, Hamilton said: "I don't know about championships but as an athlete I feel fresh as can be. Hamilton has secured the championship with 10 victories out of the 19 races held so far this season, with two remaining in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Starting fifth on the grid after a poor qualifying session, Hamilton passed Ferrari's Charles Leclerc for fourth at the first corner, and then made a brilliant overtaking move on the other Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel around the outside of Turn Eight, to run third behind Bottas and Verstappen at the end of the first lap. Victory seemed at least a possibility for Hamilton, even given Mercedes' usual approach of favouring the lead driver to ensure a race victory. And Hamilton decided to give it a go by staying out when Red Bull pitted Verstappen on lap 13, and Mercedes followed suit with Bottas a lap later to retain the lead, their stops locking both into a two-stop strategy. Hamilton's task was now to run as long as possible on his tyres before his single stop and hope to have enough life left in his tyres when he rejoined to be able to defend. Bottas made his second stop on lap 25, one after Verstappen, and rejoined six seconds behind Hamilton, a gap he had 20 laps to recover. It looked as if it would be easy, but Hamilton drove with control and skill to limit his losses, and it was not until the last five laps that Bottas was with his team-mate. One passing attempt at Turn 12 failed on lap 51, when Hamilton ran Bottas wide on his outside. Hamilton's hopes of victory were gone, but the title was still secure, and he had four laps left to defend against Verstappen, which he managed to do with help from a yellow flag that forced Verstappen to slow down, as the Red Bull finished on his tail. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc took a lonely fourth, the Italian car a long way off the pace, while Vettel retired from seventh place, after a sticky opening to the race, with a suspension failure after just eight laps. Hamilton came so close to pulling off an unlikely victory but it was a champion's race from the driver of the season - indeed, of his generation Bottas, who went into the race with the faintest hopes of keeping the championship alive for another race, said: "Obviously big congrats to him. A 14-year-old Lewis Hamilton was ushered into life in the fast lane as part of the McLaren driver support programme Success on the track was quickly followed by adulation off it - never more so than at the British Grand Prix each year. Following a switch to Mercedes, Hamilton won his second drivers' title in 2014