Recently, the American Grand Prix occurred, and it seemed the majority of the drivers were looking to take the chequered flag in order to elevate their position in the standings. Yet, it was Lewis Hamilton, the reigning champion, who finished in first, ahead of Mercedes teammate, and championship leader, Nico Rosberg. The race for Hamilton thus seemed to be vital for his season as he successfully narrowed the gap at the top of the standings yet, perhaps more pivotally, managed to record his 50th race win in the process, emulating only two other drivers who have reached this milestone. Now Hamilton has achieved this record, he may be motivated to win the final three races of the season; if he is able to achieve this, he may claim his third consecutive F1 Championship.
Pre-race, it may have seemed Nico Rosberg was the favourite, as he had recorded victories in four of the previous five races. Additionally, this run of wins, combined with the German’s other five race victories, had seemed to contribute to his position as leader of the World Championship, 33 points ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton with 100 points available. Yet, it seemed the Brit was motivated by the added incentive of winning his 50th race, and took the chequered flag in a time of 1:38:12.618. Most notably perhaps, is Hamilton’s ability to seemingly perform at his peak ability when under pressure and expectation; as the reigning champion there may have been expectation on the Englishman already, and this, combined with the fact Rosberg is ahead of him in the standings, seems to have elevated this pressure further. Ultimately though, Hamilton seemed to record an accomplished performance in a race which may end up being a catalyst in his quest to claim a third consecutive F1 Championship.
This season, Hamilton seems to have performed at a consistent level, even when under pressure. The beginning of the season was seemingly dominated by Nico Rosberg, who took four wins from the opening four races, yet Hamilton seemed to use this as motivation, winning 6 out of 7 races before the summer interval. Perhaps the most pivotal moment in Hamilton’s season occurred in Belgium, where, after starting in 21st position due to changing his engine, he finished on the podium, perhaps suggesting he possesses a vast amount of talent and is able to record a respectable finish from any starting position. The aforementioned USA victory has then seemed to have enabled Hamilton to close the gap on Rosberg to 26 points, suggesting he may compete for the title in perhaps an intriguing and competitive culmination to the season.
Hamilton may be considered amongst the most accomplished F1 drivers in history, as he seems to have surpassed milestones, achieved records and won races. Whilst his crowning glory seems to be his three World Championships, recorded in 2008, 2014 and 2015 respectively, he also has the third most pole positions in history with 58, 31.35% of his races, has led 8 races in their entirety, and is the ninth youngest driver to win a Grand Prix. This, combined with now becoming only the third man in history to reach the 50 race wins milestone, suggests his legacy may now be considered alongside 7-time champion Michael Schumacher and Brazilian Aryton Senna.
With three races left in the season, and only 26 points separating both Mercedes’ drivers, it seems either driver may claim the championship, as both seem to possess a similar level of driving expertise. Whilst Rosberg has ultimately recorded more race wins than his counterpart, the victory in USA may motivate Hamilton to finish first in the upcoming races, as he seems to have proved he is able to take any pressure in his stride, and possesses the quality to record victories even when his opponents seem to be putting in high-level performances in seemingly faster cars. Ultimately, it may be Hamilton’s vast array of victories, and titles, which may give him the necessary boost in his quest for the title; if he is able to utilise these experiences, he may re-enforce his position amongst racing’s elite.
How may Hamilton increase his racing repertoire in order to surpass Michael Schumacher’s record of most race wins?