This past Sunday saw Lewis Hamilton take ninth place at the Mexican Grand Prix for his worst performance of the 2017 Formula One Season. But for Hamilton he may have gone down in the history books as the happiest ninth place finisher in Formula One history. In spite of Hamilton taking ninth place in Mexico City, he was able to clinch his fourth overall Formula One Championship and his third in the last four years. Hamilton’s four World Championships now tie him with Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel for third most titles in the history of the circuit. And now Hamilton is just three championships away from tying Michael Schumacher for the all-time lead as he has now become the modern gold standard for the circuit.
The 2016 Formula One Season was not as kind to Hamilton that it had been in year’s past. After winning consecutive titles, Hamilton didn’t have the same hunger that he had in past years, while the same could not be said about his Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg. Rosberg grew tired of taking a backseat to Hamilton and proceeded to take advantage of an uninspired Hamilton by winning the first four races of the campaign. Hamilton would charge back into contention as the two teammates became bitter rivals which was highlighted by them wrecking one another at the Spanish Grand Prix. But when it was all said and done, Rosberg was able to hold off Hamilton for his first Formula One Championship.
However Rosberg would surprise us all by deciding to retire at the age of 31. Rosberg would be replaced at Mercedes by Valterri Bottas who has gone on to have a better relationship with Hamilton. Here in 2017, Bottas has competed admirably as he won the Grand Prix of Russia as well as Austria, but he could not prevent Hamilton from once again claiming his spot as the king of the mountain in Formula One.
Hamilton alternated wins with Vettel in the season’s first three races as he took home the checkered flag in the Chinese Grand Prix. Vettel was able to win the Australian Grand Prix as well as the Grand Prix of Bahrain and in the process he was able to hold off Hamilton in the standings for the first half of the season. But the British Grand Prix would see the momentum shift as Hamilton was able to secure victories in six of the next eight races, while Vettel would fail to secure points in two of those competitions. And by the start of the Mexican Grand Prix, it was only a formality that Hamilton would once again be the champion of the Formula One circuit.
Hamilton’s success has helped to improve the global popularity of Formula One as he is by far the circuit’s biggest star. Hamilton is a rock star on track as he possesses the “crossover appeal”. Celebrities such as Gabrielle Union and Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dwyane Wade have come out to support Hamilton, while he has also been known the party in popular places such as New York City. But when the engines are revved up, there isn’t any driver that works harder than Hamilton.
It’s the perfect marriage between Hamilton and Mercedes AMG Petronas as they are the two giants in the Formula One. Mercedes has now won four consecutive Constructors’ Championships with Toto Wolff leading the way. Wolff is the executive director for Mercedes AMG Petronas as he has helped to make the team the envy of Formula One with Hamilton never getting tired of securing checkered flags and championships.
So now that Hamilton has taken home another championship, the only story line heading into the final two races of the season will be whether or not that Vettel will be able to hold off Bottas in order to prevent Mercedes from having a clean sweep of the top two spots in the standings for the fourth consecutive year. But regardless of how the final two races play out, 2017 will be remembered as another chapter in the book that Hamilton is writing on dominance as he should now be considered as one of the best to have ever done it.