Source: National Times via Twitter
Lewis Hamilton has enjoyed a similar surge towards the Formula One Drivers’ Championship, pulling away from Sebastian Vettel to take himself within touching distance of the crown. The Brit secured his fourth win on the bounce at the Japanese Grand Prix, leading the contest from start to finish. Hamilton’s triumph has put Vettel under huge pressure at the United States Grand Prix, needing a finish ahead of the 33-year-old to keep the title race alive going into the final three races of the campaign.
The German cannot afford to allow Hamilton to retain his crown without a fight, allowing him surpass his totals for four Championship wins. Another crown would put Hamilton beyond his rival and level with Juan Manuel Fangio on five titles, sitting just two behind Michael Schumacher on the all-time list. Hamilton is odds on in the latest F1 betting odds at 1/500, highlighting how close he is to completing his quest for the Championship, winning the crown in successive seasons for the second time of his career.
It has been almost a complete repeat of the 2017 season in the battle between Hamilton and Vettel. In the last campaign, the German got off to a strong start to the term, winning three of the opening six races. He led the Brit by 25 points after triumphing in the Monaco Grand Prix. However, he was unable to sustain his charge as errors, retirements and underwhelming performances proved to be costly.
Whereas Vettel’s displays waned towards the end of the year, Hamilton’s strengthened beginning with his domination of the middle section of the season. It was the same pattern that almost allowed the Mercedes driver to catch Nico Rosberg the previous term, only to fall agonisingly short. The 33-year-old made no mistake in 2017, easing his way over the line to draw level with Vettel on four titles.
Source: Planet F1 via Twitter
The 2018 season promised to be a tense race, with Ferrari claiming before the season that they had made strides to close the gap. Those assertions looked accurate in the opening two races in Australia and Bahrain as Vettel made another strong start to the campaign, clinching both victories to set an early tone. He failed to kick on to push away from the presence of his rival, although a triumph at the British Grand Prix ended Hamilton’s run of success on his home patch.
There was an opportunity to use the victory at Silverstone as momentum to close out the Drivers’ Championship. Vettel held an eight-point lead after his win, but a retirement at the German Prix caused by a crash in the opening lap of the race allowed Hamilton to regain control. Since then Vettel has not come close to disrupting the Brit’s charge for the title. It appears that the Mercedes driver will ease his way over the line bar a miracle for Ferrari and Vettel. Hamilton continues to win the battle to be known as the most dominant driver of the modern era and another triumph in 2019 would put just one crown away from matching Schumacher to match a claim to be the most successful man in the history of the sport.