Not sealing the deal in Texas, Lewis is convinced the title is his for Mexico, and who can blame him?
Of course the ideal script was and should’ve been, win in Austin – Vettel looses the Championship. Lewis gets to party at the place he feels ‘most at home’ in the USA. Alas, it didn’t work that way.
A likely combination of last minute wheel rim modifications READ THAT STORY HERE, a big Mercedes cock up on Sunday morning READ THAT STORY HERE lead to Hamilton struggling to make a 2 stop strategy work having lost the lead of the race from the start line, and pole position, to Kimi who then won the race.
Still, Hamilton is convinced that the title will be wrapped up this weekend in Mexico, earning him the accolade of a 5 time world Champion and only of one of 3 drivers in history to have 5 world titles or more – Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.
In the paddock of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Hamilton points out: “I feel very privileged to be world champion for the fifth time. My way here was fascinating, but I realise too – the career could have been very different.”
“It took me a long time after my first title to become world champion again.”
Lewis’ remarkable story to a 5th Championship (that hasn’t actually happened yet), comes courtesy of joining the most dominant force in the the history of F1 at the right time – Mercedes Benz, and only being beaten once by a team mate, otherwise it would be number 6.
That aforementioned team mate, Nico Rosberg, mentioned this week that in his opinion Lewis hadn’t had to work for this title at all. Of course Lewis hit back at his former ‘buddy’ saying: “I see a lot of people saying things have been handed to us, which is taking away from the job the team and I have done,”
“Just winning the championship has been the goal.
“When I won my first, one of the ex-champions said it would get harder to win a second.
“And every one after that has got harder and harder to win a championship, even though you are improving.
“But I would say this one is one of my most enjoyable years given the things I faced.
“It would be the one I am most proud of and appreciate more.”
When asked about Sebastian Vettel, Lewis said, “We’re going to another race. He drives differently to me, and has to win Grands Prix, I drive to ensure the title.
“That was already the case in Texas. If we were fighting for the title, that would be different. I drove carefully in Austin.”
“I’m here [in Mexico] to secure the title, I realise that this is likely to happen, so the weekend will have a very different intensity”
It’s very likely we’ll see a strong Ferrari again in Mexico, and Red Bull have often upped their game at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
It is very conceivable that an unexpected DNF or damage from contact could result in failure to finish 7th or higher if Vettel wins. Yes the odds are heavily stacked in Hamilton’s favour, but the assumption that the 5th title is his this weekend could be looked at as entitled.
A quite normal trait for someone who has achieved 80% of their titles with a single team. A team that happened to be the most dominant entity in the history of the sport.
That said, nobody can take away the fact that Lewis is one of the fastest drivers the sport has ever seen. But the comments made in response to Rosberg shows that he must be thinking about how he’s achieving the results, and giving them validity.
No doubt the fan debate on Hamilton will continue for many years to come.