Apologies for the rather misleading headline. Lewis Hamilton was already an all-time F1 great in my view and winning a FOURTH Formula 1 World Drivers Championship only adds fresh cement to his rock solid position at the the top of the sports’ history books.
It was written in the stars that Lewis Hamilton would some day take his place amongst the very, very best F1 drivers in history. That much was clear ever since the precocious 22 year old burst onto the scene with Mclaren in 2007 and matched the double Champion, Fernando Alonso. His speed and performances were a shock to the double world champion and led to a string of events which would ultimately result in him (Alonso) leaving the Woking outfit and the biggest fine in sporting history, 100 million dollars, for Mclaren. His performances in his debut year are still, for me at least, the best performances by a rookie ever. I still think it was his best ever season. He fought for the title till the last round and could have won it. He should have won it. He won the title the very next year in just his second season in Formula 1.
His record so far bares comparison to the records of the very best F1 drivers such as Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna. These are just some of his records and achievements so far:
World Drivers Titles: 4*. Equal with Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost but behind Juan Manuel Fangio (5) and Michael Schmacher (7).
Wins: 61*. Second in the list behind Michael Schumacher with 91.
Pole Positions: 71. He tops this list. I never thought Ayrton Senna’s record would ever be beaten.
Youngest-ever World Champion in 2008. This has since been beaten by Sebastian Vettel.
Podiums: 115*. 2nd behind Michael Schumacher (155).
Wins and Fastest Laps: 21. 3rd in the all-time list.
2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The most successful British F1 driver.
2007 & 2014 GQ Sportsman of The Year. This is one of his most interesting achievements. More on this later.
He has come a long way from that council estate in Stevenage, hasn’t he?
In the end, Lewis sealed the title far more comfortably and earlier than he, or his team had ever dared hope as an inspired 4-time WDC Sebastian Vettel and a rejuvenated Ferrari team took the title fight to Lewis and Mercedes in the early part of the season. Then they did the traditional Italian team of falling apart with reliability issues and driver errors when the pressure was really on. Sebastian Vettel was only 3 points behind Lewis going into the Singapore round but contrived to gift Lewis a 59 point lead by the end of the Japanese round through a combination of driver errors and reliability issues. You cannot give a driver and team combination as good as Lewis Hamiltion and Mercedes such a gift. They will punish you. And they did. Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team have recovered from some early season stumbles to deliver a run of consistent performances which duly delivered the title.