Lewis Hamilton can wrap up the Drivers’ Championship in
Mexico, he only needs to win the race and have Valtteri Bottas off the podium.
Should he achieve the feat, it would be the third year in
a row that he has celebrated a championship victory at the Autódromo Hermanos
Rodríguez in Mexico City.
However, unlike in 2017 and 2018, finishing off the
podium won’t be good enough.
We look at how Hamilton wrapped up his first five World
2008 title at the
Two drivers, Hamilton and Felipe Massa, were still in the
running for the title as the 2018 season headed into its final race, the
Massa grabbed pole position in the Ferrari while
Hamilton, driving for McLaren, was fourth on the grid.
Tension mounted as the rain began to bucket down ahead of
the start, leading to a delay.
Once under, it was all Massa as the Brazilian built up a
healthy lead as Hamilton fell off the pace, stuck in traffic.
More rain fell making the conditions tricky for the
drivers but Massa was flawless, racing to the victory and the much-needed 10
points awarded for the win.
With Hamilton beginning the final lap in sixth place,
Ferrari and Massa – and who can forget Massa’s father – celebrated not only a
Brazilian GP win but a World title.
Less than 30s later Hamilton shattered their joy as he overtook a struggling Timo Glock in the final corners of the very last lap to finish fifth.
He claimed the Drivers’ title by a single point.
2014 title at the
Abu Dhabi GP
Having finished P4 in his first season with Mercedes,
Hamilton together with team-mate Nico Rosberg turned the Brackley squad into a
championship-winning outfit in 2014.
The team-mates were the last men standing as the title
race went down to the wire in Abu Dhabi with Hamilton leading Rosberg by 17
points after the German reduced his advantage with a victory at the previous
round in Brazil.
With double points awarded for the first – and last time
– in a Formula 1 grand prix, P1 meant more than ever before in the UAE.
Rosberg claimed pole position but it was Hamilton who was
leading into Turn 1.
Falling further behind his team-mate, Rosberg’s woes were
compounded when his ERS failed.
As he dropped down the order, Mercedes told Hamilton to
back off in order to avoid a similar issue to that which had befallen the
Hamilton took the chequered flag ahead of Williams’ Massa
while Rosberg was P14, a lap down and out of the points.
It was the Brit’s second title.
2015 title at the
United States GP
For the first time in his career, Hamilton wrapped up the
title early, retaining the crown at the 2015 United States GP, round 16 of 19.
It was a wet weekend in Austin, and that’s putting it
Hamilton went into the race 66 points ahead of Ferrari’s
Sebastian Vettel and a further seven in front of Rosberg, the pole sitter based
on Q2 times as Q3 was cancelled due to the rain.
A chaotic race of Safety Cars and Virtual Safety Cars,
intermediate tyres and slicks saw Rosberg line up P1 after the final SC – ahead
of Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
The German threw it away.
He made a mistake, putting on the power a little too fast
and wheel spinning his way into a slide and off the track. Hamilton took the
lead, the win and the World title.
Rosberg was peeved and in the cool down room threw his P2
podium cap back at Hamilton after the Brit tossed it to him.
They called it “just our typical games” but it
was clear that any friendship between the team-mates was over.
2017 title at the
Rosberg won the title in 2016 with Hamilton determined to
get it back a year later. But with the German out of the game, it was Vettel
who was his main rival.
Hamilton arrived in Mexico, round 18 of 20, 66 points
ahead of the Ferrari driver and needing just a P5 to clinch the crown.
They lined up first and third with Vettel ahead on the
grid only for second-placed Verstappen to stick his nose into the fight, taking
the lead off Vettel with Hamilton shooting through for second.
The German, a four-time World Champion, tried to fight
back but clipped Verstappen’s rear tyre before bouncing into Hamilton.
Vettel needed a new front wing while Hamilton also had to
pit as his W08 had suffered a puncture. They dropped to P19 and 20 respectively.
Vettel put in a stunning drive from that point but could
only work his way up to fourth meaning Hamilton’s P9 won the World title.
To this day the debate over whether it was deliberate or not continues.
2018 title at the
Once again Hamilton may not have won the race in Mexico,
but – for the second year in a row – the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez marked
the venue for his title success.
70 points ahead of Vettel in yet another two-driver race
for the title, and a season in which both drivers were chasing their fifth,
Hamilton only needed a seventh place in Mexico to win the World title.
He qualified third with Vettel alongside him on the grid
with the Mercedes driver admitting he was wary of the start given Vettel’s
antics the year prior.
This time around, though, it was a clean race.
Vettel finished second behind Verstappen thanks in part
to a great overtake on Hamilton on lap 39 and the subsequent demise of Daniel
Ricciardo’s Red Bull.
Hamilton brought his W09 home in fourth place, once again
off the podium but once again a World Champion.
Vettel was one of the first to congratulate his rival.