Six of the best – the key races which have put Lewis Hamilton on verge of F1 title

Six of the best – the key races which have put Lewis Hamilton on verge of F1 title

Lewis Hamilton could clinch his fifth Formula One World Championship in Mexico City.

The Mercedes driver heads into Sunday’s race on the verge of another world championship.

Here, we look back at six key races in the battle for this year’s championship race.

United States

Any slim chance Vettel had of stopping Hamilton taking the championship evaporated after his eighth and ninth mistakes of the year in Austin. First, Vettel was penalised three places on the grid after failing to slow adequately under red flags in practice. Then, in attempting to fight back through the pack, he tagged wheels with Daniel Ricciardo and spun. Despite a strategy error by Mercedes, Hamilton extended his championship lead, leaving him just five points shy of glory ahead of Sunday’s race in Mexico.

Azerbaijan

Vettel’s championship challenge has been littered by errors, and he made his first of nine this year in the closing stages of a frantic Baku race. The Ferrari driver was running in second place before he attempted a gung-ho pass on Valtteri Bottas for the lead. His move backfired as he ran off the track and dropped two places to fourth. Hamilton, who had been off-colour for much of the weekend, then took the chequered flag after Bottas’ tyre exploded on the penultimate lap.

France

Another mistake by Vettel cost the German further points at the Paul Ricard Circuit. As Hamilton galloped to a regulation victory from pole, Vettel collided with Bottas at the opening bend. The Ferrari driver, handed a five-second penalty by the stewards for his role in the coming together, damaged his front wing and had to stop for repairs before clawing his way back to fifth. Vettel’s demise, and Hamilton’s victory, enabled the Briton to reclaim the championship lead.

Germany

Hamilton started 14th in Hockenheim after his Mercedes broke down in qualifying, while Vettel secured pole. Vettel appeared set to take victory only to crash out of the race following a late rain shower. To make matters worse for the Ferrari man, Hamilton benefited from the subsequent safety car to seal a remarkable victory. Afterwards, Hamilton’s former rival Nico Rosberg claimed it was the darkest day of Vettel’s career, and it was hard to disagree. Indeed, it could be argued that it was an incident from which he never recovered. He has never led the championship since.

Italy

Monza’s ‘Temple of Speed’ became Ferrari’s ‘Temple of Doom’ after they fluffed their lines on home turf. Ferrari had the superior machinery, but it was Hamilton in his Mercedes who claimed one of the finest wins of his career. Vettel was last at the end of lap one after clumsily colliding with Hamilton. He recovered to finish fourth, but his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was unable to stop the rampant Mercedes from passing him for the victory in the final stages of a stunning drive.

Singapore

Hamilton delivered the lap of his life to upset the odds and place his Mercedes on pole position. Hamilton should never have been in contention for the front slot at a venue which has proved a bogey track for the Silver Arrows in recent years, but not only did he take pole, but the size of his gap to the rest was mighty, too: more than six tenths faster than Vettel, and seven tenths ahead of team-mate Bottas. No wonder Hamilton described it as magic. Overtaking is impossible at the Marina Bay track, and Hamilton perfectly executed the win.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Ferrari chief admits Lewis Hamilton has discussed joining themFerrari chief admits Lewis Hamilton has discussed joining them

Toto Wolff says there is a chance Lewis Hamilton could swap Mercedes for FerrariToto Wolff says there is a chance Lewis Hamilton could swap Mercedes for Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton ends F1 world-championship winning campaign in style at Abu DhabiLewis Hamilton ends F1 world-championship winning campaign in style at Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton on track to finish season on a highLewis Hamilton on track to finish season on a high

More in this Section

Vinny Perth: FAI crisis is 'a national emergency'Vinny Perth: FAI crisis is 'a national emergency'

Champions Cup team news: Munster make one change as Saracens' big names return for rematchChampions Cup team news: Munster make one change as Saracens' big names return for rematch

Jurgen Klopp agrees new Liverpool deal until 2024Jurgen Klopp agrees new Liverpool deal until 2024

Steven Gerrard extends Rangers contractSteven Gerrard extends Rangers contract


Lifestyle

Who hasn’t dreamt of cutting ties with the nine-to-five and living off-the-grid?The great escape: What's life like off the grid?

Jazz in Europe these days exists in a highly networked environment of cultural and political bodies, festivals, promoters, musicians and educators.Jazz Connective Festival: Intriguing, exciting and uncompromising

It will be bittersweet for Stormzy that his second album arrives the day the British Labour party was confirmed as suffering a historic general election trouncing.Album review: Stormzy remains a work in progress

Unique drawings by Quentin Blake, one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators, are available at a Christie’s online auction which runs until December 17.Your chance to buy drawings by Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake

More From The Irish Examiner