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GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #4 - Lewis Hamilton

GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #4 - Lewis Hamilton

11-03-2020 19:00

Hello and welcome back to GPBlog.com’s countdown of our top 50 F1 drivers of all time. We’ve been ticking off one driver every day in the build-up to the first race of the 2020 season in Australia this weekend. We’re now down to the final four and the four left could almost be in any order. We had Juan Manuel Fangio at number five but in at four is someone plenty of you would have top of the pile, Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton is top dog in F1 right now, being the dominant force in the last thirteen seasons, winning a race in every season he has been active.

He burst onto the scene in 2007 with McLaren, partnering champion of the two previous seasons, Fernando Alonso.

A podium in his first race started an incredible run, finishing in the top three in his first nine races, including wins in Canada the USA.

He led the title with two rounds to go after victory in Japan, but couldn’t get over the line after finding the gravel trap on pit entry in China and encountering problems in Brazil, allowing Kimi Raikkonen to pip him by a single point.

He had another tight fight in 2008, this time with Felipe Massa. Both had taken five wins heading into the final round, and it looked like Massa would take the title with victory at his home race, only for Hamilton to overtake Timo Glock with just a few corners to go and send his garage wild.

Hamilton stayed with McLaren for four more seasons, taking occasional wins but never finishing higher than fourth in the standings. He made the surprising move to Mercedes in 2013, replacing Michael Schumacher.

The partnership only yielded one victory in 2013, in Hungary, but the move was made worth it after rule changes for 2014. Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were so far ahead of the field, they won all but three races between them.

Rosberg had a 29-point lead following the race at Spa-Francorchamps, but Hamilton went on one of his now trademark runs, taking wins in the next five races. He rounded off the title with victory in Abu Dhabi for his second championship.

2015 was pure Hamilton domination, leading every round and securing the championship with three rounds to go.

2016 was more complicated, Rosberg started the season a different animal, winning four races on the bounce. Hamilton retaliated, scoring four consecutive victories of his own over the mid-part of the season.

The two were locked in battle for ascendency when Hamilton’s engine failed in Malaysia, and then following a Rosberg win in Japan, it was all against Hamilton.

The Brit won the final four races, but with Rosberg following him home for second at every event, the title went to the German. Rosberg retired just a few days later and was replaced by Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas wasn’t Hamilton’s main competitor in 2017 though, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel challenging.

Vettel held the title lead but Hamilton came roaring back following the summer break, winning five of the next six races as Vettel got into trouble.

2018 was similar, with Vettel leading again at the mid-point. The Ferrari man then went off the boil a bit, making mistake after mistake as Hamilton flawlessly won eight of the last 11 races to take title number five.

Bottas picked his game up for 2019, but Hamilton showed his superior talent to dominate once again, securing his sixth title in the USA.

Hamilton’s statistics are frankly ridiculous. With six titles and 84 wins, he could easily break Schumacher’s records in the next couple of seasons.

Whether you like him or not, Hamilton’s raw ability has to be admired. His raw speed, race management and ability to wring everything out of the car makes him one of the greatest ever, with his achievements some of the best we have ever seen in the sport.

Come back in a few years and he could quite easily be even higher. He certainly deserves his sport amongst the legends of Formula 1.

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