With the F1 season now over, MotorSportsTalk takes a look back at a classic year of racing, starting with our driver reviews. Unsurprisingly, we must kick things off with the champion: Lewis Hamilton.
Team: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Car No.: 44
Podiums (excluding wins): 5
Pole Positions: 7
Fastest Laps: 7
Laps Led: 495
Championship Position: 1st
Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)
It was perhaps fitting that Lewis Hamilton was the man to start F1’s new era at pre-season testing in Jerez, being the first driver to roll out on track in a 2014-spec car. Now, as a two-time champion of the world, he has firmly established himself as an all-time great of the sport.
From the very beginning, it was clear that Mercedes was the team to beat, and few gave Nico Rosberg much chance in a straight fight with Hamilton for a teammate. However, the big reservation many had – myself included – was whether Lewis would defeat himself; whether his emotions would boil over, pushing too hard to give his more reserved teammate the edge.
Ultimately, it was Nico who boiled over at Spa, allowing Hamilton to get the psychological edge. After their on-track clash, Hamilton won six of the final seven races of the year, scoring a mammoth 193/200 points. It was fitting that he clinched his second world title with a win under the lights in Abu Dhabi.
Rosberg certainly would have been a worthy champion, but it was Hamilton who was worthier. 11 wins and never finishing off the podium when he saw the checkered flag – this has to go down as one of the most emphatic title wins in F1 history.
Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)
Because he found success so early in his Formula One career, managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of World Championship victory as a rookie, then snatch victory from the jaws of defeat a year later, it seemed Lewis Hamilton was always going to be a title contender. But a challenging four years followed from there before he found new life once he moved to Mercedes.
Last year was good, but this year was where we saw “Hamilton 2.0” officially released, unveiled to the public as a clearly finished article. The precocious pace and swagger he showed as a rookie and sophomore was still there, but the determination and fight-back was even better this year. Scoring several wins from second when teammate Nico Rosberg beat him to pole was testament of that, with the Bahrain triumph standing as my personal highlight of the year.
The clear 11-5 win gap to Rosberg spoke volumes, as did Hamilton’s continual graciousness and humility he showcased throughout the year. If the Englishman could have been viewed a bit as “entitled” in 2008, he made sure to savor every second of his second title run – and one that was thoroughly deserved.