Continuing MotorSportsTalk’s review of the 2015 Formula 1 season, we bring you the first of our driver capsules, starting with three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Team: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Car No.: 44
Podiums (excluding wins): 7
Pole Positions: 11
Fastest Laps: 8
Laps Led: 587
Championship Position: 1st
Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)
What is there to say about Lewis Hamilton that hasn’t already been said? The Briton enjoyed a truly brilliant season, claiming ten wins en route to a third world championship that saw him emulate hero Ayrton Senna.
Hamilton was at his brilliant best at the beginning and in the middle stages of the year, leaving Nico Rosberg answerless. Wins in Bahrain and Canada were particularly impressive, but his finest hour came on home soil at Silverstone. He perfected his tire call in wet conditions to claim an emphatic victory and send the home crowd into raptures, kick-starting a run of six wins in eight races that would be crucial in the title race.
Winning the title in Austin was fitting for Hamilton, given his affinity with the USA, but his greater affinity for partying and being a celebrity caused a downturn in form at the end of the year, as did the better-suiting of the 2016 car updates to Rosberg. Three straight defeats to Rosberg have given the German driver plenty of momentum for the new season.
Hamilton won’t care though. This has been a year in which he has hit new heights both on and off track, living life in the fast lane. Seeing an elite sportsman perform at such a level is something we should relish.
Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)
“Hammer time” rolled on into 2015, and to be honest it seemed the World Championship for him was never really in doubt. The only major hiccup in the opening half of the season came at Monaco, courtesy of a team strategy error, and the only race he really seemed completely on the back foot compared to teammate Nico Rosberg was at Austria.
As it was, the opening nine-race stanza produced a total of 18 podiums between the two of them, and Hamilton ended ahead in six of the nine races. There was enough of an early edge to continue the grasp on the title, and Rosberg failed to win after Austria until his three-race tear with a better comfort level in the chassis to end the year.
It was fitting that Hamilton clinched his third title in Austin, in a country he has embraced, and then fully appreciated the magnitude of the moment. You can say he did too much off track – he certainly shared enough, via his social media channels – but I think Hamilton’s smart enough to understand what to share, now, as a 21st century driver embracing the 21st century mediums.
All the while, he’s got the driving chops to match some of his peers in the past, and must now be fully recognized as an all-time great if he wasn’t already.