Only Hamilton's to lose!
This F1 season has witnessed a clear dominance by Lewis Hamilton. As the F1 Championship draws to a quick close, with only four races in hand – it appears to be only Hamilton’s to lose
Mercedes's Lewis Hamilton claiming an emphatic victory at Suzuka in the Japanese GP ticked all the right boxes for the Brit to lift the F1 title for the fifth time – matching legendary Argentine driver Juan Manuel Fangio's record of five drivers' championships. Stretching his lead to 67 points over arch-rival Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton's latest win enables him to wrap up the championship, if he emerges victorious again, at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, with only four races remaining in the current F1 season.
In his sixth win in seven races and ninth of the season, Hamilton started on pole and got off to a clean, quick start moving up three places in the first lap and continuing to dominate the circuit with teammate Valtteri Bottas watching his back once again as he defended him from any disruption, contributing greatly to Lewis's hassle-free triumph. However, for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel, times couldn't have been more testing. Vettel found himself struggling to force his way back up from the eighth place — after having breached the fourth spot in a frantic start before colliding with Red Bull's Max Verstappen — on the pretext of overtaking and eventually finishing at a dismal sixth spot, which dashed his title hopes and also snatched away a promising top three finish. The German would be lamenting the pile of mistakes that he has committed over the course of season – with this being his seventh significant error of the campaign and tenth in two seasons while vying with Hamilton for glory – this has cost him dearly as he has failed to grab the crucial points and now seemingly stares into his title hopes quickly fading away. Undoubtedly, Ferrari's hope of ending the title drought – dating back to 2008 – looks all set to stretch further.
Although with Ferrari having arguably the fastest car for the most part of the season, Hamilton won both in Germany and Hungry in July. However, Vettel returned from the summer break with a bang when he won the Belgian GP with clear dominance – making the 17-point deficit he had against Hamilton seem like an easy task to pull off. But to Vettel's horror, Hamilton rounded off it to 50-points in the subsequent four races thanks to an embellishing performance by Mercedes combined with the Brit's operational efficiency.
This takes us to the evergreen enticing battle that has prevailed between the two with both the drivers breathing down each other's neck time and again. But, as it stands now, it is quite evident that Hamilton has outrun his counterpart. Accounting for the fact that Hamilton is yet to finish outside of podium places this season, the Championship now seems to be a mountain too steep to climb for Vettel.
Moreover, the greatly-anticipated upcoming US Grand Prix (Austin Circuit) is also among Hamilton's favourite tracks as he has won five of the last six GPs held there. In addition to this, he will be looking forward to replicating the success of 2015, when he bagged the Championship here after topping his teammate Nico Rosberg.
Agreeably, for the British international, turning up at the Austin Circuit in Texas will provide the perfect shot at securing another title which can materialise only if he wins the race and Vettel is positioned lower than second or if Hamilton scores eight more points than him. Apparently, the drivers' championship is only Hamilton's to lose.