Is Lewis Hamilton the G.O.A.T?
No one would laugh you out of the courtroom if you were to argue the case that Lewis Hamiton IS the G.O.AT (Greatest Of All Time). As Lewis Hamilton clinches his fifth FIA World Drivers’ Championship (WDC), comparisons with the sports’ all-time greats are inevitable and absolutely justified.
Only two other drivers have won 5 or more WDC’s in the history of the sport, the late, great Juan Manuel Fangio (5) and perhaps the greatest of them all, the ruthless German, Michael Schumacher with 7 titles.
That Lewis Hamilton would make it to Formula 1 and win multiple titles was a near-certainty to those who knew of him and had seen him race in the GP2 seasons prior to his F1 debut with Mclaren in 2007.
His performances that year, where he matched the formidable double world champion Fernando Alonso and scored the same number of points as him is the stuff of F1 legend. The 2007 season is still regarded as one of the most remarkable and controversial seasons in F1 history, and Lewis was one of the central characters. He would edge his double world-champion teammate in the WDC by dint of scoring more 2nd places. An astonishing performance by a rookie.
This is Lewis’ record to date:
WDCs: 5. 2008, 2014, 2015,2017,2018
Wins: 71 (2nd in the all-time charts)
Poles: 81 (1st in the all-time charts)
Fastest Laps: 41
So is he the G.O.A.T?
This season started off with two straight wins for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and it looked like we would have a titanic battle between two great teams, Ferrari, one of the most iconic and historic brands in the world and Mercedes, the most dominant team of the hybrid era, and also between two four-time WDC’s. We licked our lips at the prospect. It is is not often you get a four-time WDC in one top, competitive team going up against another four-time WDC in another competitive team where the winner would become only the third driver in history to win 5 WDCs.
The Competitive Order.
Ferrari, RBR, Renault and Honda are just some of F1’s giants who have sorely disappointed in this hybrid era. They have let Mercedes reduce the WDC fight to an intrateam competition and have walked the WCC for 4 straight seasons.
Kudos to Mercedes, shame on the rest and the FIA for concocting such overly complex and expensive technical and sporting regulations.
Ferrari seemed to have finally been stung into action over the winter and they produced a simply sublime car. The SF71H was fast, well balanced and had a wider operating window than the Mercedes.
It also continued the unique aerodynamic concept Ferrari introduced last year which produced more benign and less peaky aero performance. They also finally have caught up in the horsepower race, so much so that it prompted queries from rival teams about just how they were able to produce so much power and a full-blown FIA investigation.
The Ferrari was finally a match for the Mercedes, even though late on, Ferrari went down a development cul-de-sac and by the US round, they had to revert back to the specification they had in Spa! Ridiculous.
The current gap of 64 points in the drivers’ championship is not a true representation of the competitive order between the Ferrari and the Mercedes. Whichever way you cut it, Vettel and Ferrari did not maximise the equipment at their disposal.
By the time we got to China, Sebastian Vettel had a 9-point lead and the signs were ominous. Sebastian Vettel is a formidable driver and competitor, one of the all-time greats, the thing is though, so is Lewis.
By the time we got to Hungary, Lewis Hamilton was leading the drivers’ championship from Sebastian Vettel by 24 points and Mercedes headed Ferrari by 10 points in the WCC (World Constructors Championship).
Vettel won easily in Belgium to close the gap back to Hamilton but he has not won since then as the mistakes piled up.
Akinso, you have not answered the question you asked above: “Is he the G.O.A.T?”
Baku, Azerbaijan – Vettel locked up trying to take the lead from Bottas into Turn 1 and finished fourth rather than going on to win.
Paul Ricard, France – He hit Bottas at the start of the French GP, dropping to the back and earning a penalty.
Hockenheim, Germany – He crashed out of the lead in Germany in damp conditions.
Monza, Italy – Vettel defended too hard from Hamilton into the second chicane on Lap 1. He spun around.
Suzuka, Japan – Made a mistake with tyres in qualifying, made another mistake at the Spoon corner during the session, then made another mistake at the same corner while trying to pass Verstappen and lost even more ground.
Austin, USA – Vettel started fifth (after yet another mistake in practice which incurred a grid penalty) but was 15th at the end of lap one after another first-lap spin, this time following contact with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo while battling for fourth.
Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel threw 50 points away at least.
There is no sugar-coating it, Ferrari and Vettel have been as poor in the second half of the season as Hamilton has been relentlessly excellent. Near-perfect even.
Fast always, consistent and mostly error-free, he has put on a perfect championship-winning display with 10 podiums including 6 wins in the second half of the season. He also produced some of the best-ever qualifying laps you will ever see in motorsport. His pole lap in Singapore was something to behold and he non-scored just once, in Austria and was off the podium just four times. I think it is his best-ever season-long performance.