Lewis arrived in Mexico needing just a solitary 5th place from the three remaining races to seal the title, but his race was complicated by a tangle with Verstappen and Vettel at the start which dropped him to last place and dropped Vettel to last-but-one. This incident complicated and made it easier this task for Lewis because Vettel now had to take 2nd place if Lewis came in 8th position. In the end it did not matter. 2nd place was out of Vettels’ reach and Lewis came home in 9th position to seal the title. As Lewis himself put it: “it was a horrible way to win a title”.
You do not win ONE F1 drivers title by luck, let alone FOUR, and I do not buy the detractors claim that he has so won so many titles purely because he has been driving the best car. In modern F1 you need a competitive car to win a title. Witness the struggles of one of the best drivers of this or any generation, Fernando Alonso in the woeful Mclaren-Honda package. Just as I did not accept this criticism of Sebastian Vettel during his startling run of four straight titles with Red Bull, I cannot accept this for Lewis, even though he has had a bigger car advantage over a four year period than any team has ever had in the history of the sport.
And he HAS detractors. Goodness me! I have never come across a sportsman that divides opinion as much as Lewis Hamilton since Diego Maradona or Lance Armstrong. He elicits love and vitriol, no, hate, in equal measure. He is the current ultimate marmite sportsman and I struggle to understand why. In the case of the two aforementioned sportsmen, their brilliance was matched by their hubris and transgressions. But what has Lewis done wrong? Seriously? Yes, he sometimes comes across as petulant, uncharitable and immature and his Mercedes team have publicly acknowledged that he is ‘hard to manage’ and a diva like his current F1 racer. He also has a habit of falling out with any team mate capable of threatening his dominance within the team. He fell out with Alonso, Button and Nico Rosberg. But I see no justification for the vitriol that often comes his way. Most of the very best drivers are very demanding and hard to handle, Alonso and Vettel can be just as difficult, more so Alonso who is ruthless in the extreme.
So I see no justification for the opprobrium often heaped on him at the drop of a hat.
Is it because he has refused to conform to the traditional image of a Formula 1 sportsman? And has a lifestyle more common among hip-hop stars? Is it because he has emphatically smashed the strait-laced image and lifestyle stereotype of modern F1 drivers? I for one, applaud him for that. He is the closest thing we have today to the legendary late James Hunt. Just look at the rest of them, with the notable exception of Kimi Raikkonnen, they are almost identikit versions of each other. Lewis is a one-off and follows his own path and I, for one, applaud him for that.