Six of the best: Hamilton’s glory years
Lewis Hamilton has become only the second man in history to win six Formula One world championships.
Here, the PA news agency looks back at the British driver’s title triumphs.
After missing out on winning the title in his maiden year by just one point, Hamilton returned the following season to open his championship account in the most dramatic of circumstances. Hamilton’s fight with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa went to the wire in Brazil. Massa won the rain-hit race and, with Hamilton appearing set to finish sixth, the Brazilian looked to have done enough to take the spoils. But in arguably the most dramatic ever end to a Formula One season, Hamilton passed the Toyota of Timo Glock at the final corner on the final lap to finish fifth and clinch the title.
McLaren were unable to provide Hamilton with a car quick enough to stop Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, so the Briton took the brave move to join Mercedes in 2013. Paired with childhood friend Nico Rosberg, Hamilton’s Mercedes team became the dominant team of the hybrid era. Rosberg led Hamilton for much of a frenetic season but Hamilton won six of the final seven races – including the championship decider in Abu Dhabi – to end his six-year wait for title number two.
Hamilton started his championship defence in ominous fashion, winning three of the opening four rounds to establish a lead from which Rosberg would never recover. With three rounds remaining, the British driver emulated Sir Jackie Stewart by securing his third title after Rosberg fell off the road in Austin – allowing Hamilton to win. In the cool-down room before the podium celebrations, Rosberg threw a cap at Hamilton, highlighting the bitter relations between the two drivers.
Rosberg had become the first driver to beat Hamilton over a meaningful season, winning the 2016 championship in Abu Dhabi before retiring from the sport five days later. Rosberg’s controversial move denied the Briton the chance for revenge while bringing to an end one of the sport’s most toxic recent rivalries. With Rosberg gone, Hamilton’s next challenger came in the form of Vettel, who had left Red Bull for Ferrari. Vettel led the championship at the summer break, only for Hamilton to deliver a string of spellbinding performances to reel the German in, before securing his fourth title in Mexico.
Just as in 2017, Vettel and Ferrari started the season in impressive fashion, with Hamilton having to wait until the fourth round before opening his winning account. But the Briton came into his own when he went behind enemy lines in Monza to beat Ferrari and triumph in his inferior Mercedes machinery. At the following round in Singapore, Hamilton then delivered the lap of his life in qualifying to lay the foundations for an impressive victory. A series of mistakes by Vettel allowed Hamilton to join Juan Manuel Fangio on a quintet of championships with two races to spare.
Ferrari started the season as favourites, but Hamilton and Mercedes blew the Scuderia out of the water by winning the first eight races. Hamilton took six of those in his best start to a Formula One season. Ferrari returned rejuvenated after the summer break, but the Briton was already too far down the road. Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas would become the British driver’s only remaining mathematical challenger, but Hamilton clinched the championship in Austin, Texas, moving to within one title of Michael Schumacher’s record of seven.