Source: F1 via Twitter
Lewis Hamilton stormed to the fourth Drivers’ Championship crown of his career by winning the title in the 2017 season. The Brit had suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of his team-mate Nico Rosberg in the previous campaign, losing out on a third triumph on the bounce by five points. However, he was able to rise the occasion last year to see off the threat of his rival Sebastian Vettel to move level with the German on four crowns. Both men are seeking history at the top of the sport, moving within striking distance of Michael Schumacher’s record seven Drivers’ Championship title.
The battle between Hamilton and Vettel has the potential to live up to the showdown between the two Mercedes’ drivers in the 2016 campaign. Rosberg’s departure had left a void for a driver to compete with the 33-year-old at the top, with the inexperience of the German’s replacement Valtteri Bottas expected to hold him back for at least one season. Vettel and Ferrari rose to the occasion to put Hamilton under pressure in the early stages of the campaign. Vettel won three of the opening six races of the term, while he finished second in the meets he did not claim the top position on the podium.
Hamilton responded with a dominant run in the second half of the season. The Brit won six out of the 11 races at the end of the campaign after triumphing on home soil at Silverstone. He was able to canter to the Drivers’ Championship, securing his crown with two races to spare. The 33-year-old is considered the leading contender in the F1 betting odds at 5/4 to win the title for a fifth time for the 2018 season.
Souce: TeamFA via Twitter
Since changes were made to Formula One’s engine regulations in 2014, Mercedes have been imperious at the start. The quality of their vehicle along with the skill of Hamilton (and Rosberg in 2016) has seen the team in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship for the last four seasons. That dominance shows no signs of abating any time soon, with the Brit continuing to operate at the peak of his powers, while the team have taken measures to improve their engine. Ferrari’s challenge at the start of the last campaign will have concerned Mercedes as they were caught short out of the traps. Red Bull flashed towards the end of the term, with Max Verstappen notching two victories.
Mercedes will be doing their utmost to ensure that they remain at the pinnacle of the sport. Hamilton stands to be the primary beneficiary as he closes in on Schumacher. Even Vettel could not match his speed and skill on the track last season. There will not be a challenger that can match him heading into the 2018 campaign, and perhaps for the next two years to come. It took a special effort and fortune for Rosberg to snatch away the crown, which ultimately ended his tenure in the sport. Hamilton is well placed for a surge to be considered the greatest driver in Formula One history.