It was never really in doubt that Lewis Hamilton would clinch his sixth driver’s title, even as early as the mid-season summer break in August, the question was always when. And it arrived at the Circuit of The Americas.
And while Hamilton didn’t win the race after a subdued performance in qualifying (only fifth on the grid), opting for a more conservative one-stop strategy instead, he had the comfort of knowing that the only driver still mathematically in play was his teammate Bottas.
The Finn took the win after starting from pole, on a faster-paced two-stop strategy, Hamilton defended strongly after Bottas’ second stop but could not keep the latter behind, but still managed to fend off Verstappen in a Red Bull at the end for second place, when he only needed to finish no lower than eighth.
It’s hard to imagine that the still youthful-looking Hamilton is the third oldest driver on the grid (at 34 years old), and that he had raced in F1 since 2007. Over the last 12 years, we’ve witnessed a prodigious talent with raw speed mature into a multiple world champion who would always keep a cool head while racing hard, and on the rare days when a win isn’t in the offing, Hamilton would almost always bring the car home to score a hatful of points – something which he isn’t given enough credit for but has earned him those six titles.
As F1 legend Stirling Moss famously once said, “In order to finish first, you first have to finish”.
With the drivers’ title now secured, Hamilton is sitting alone with six crowns, just one shy of the great Michael Schumacher. Hamilton also holds the record for most pole positions, so his speed is not in doubt. Drawing parallels with the German is inevitable but Hamilton isn’t done racing yet, he and his Mercedes-AMG team will be hungry for another win in 2020, before the sport undergoes a massive change in 2021.
One thing may not change in 2021 would be Lewis’ questionable hair styles (if he decides to keep on racing), but we think a six-time world champion is more than entitled to some personal indulgences.