“I need to watch that race back, remember what happened.” – Martin Brundle
Hamilton isn’t Formula 1’s new boy these days. He’s now 30 years old, and has the 2008, 2014 and 2015 Drivers titles under his belt. What we have seen in this time though is Lewis mature into a very fast and complete racer. He was blisteringly fast when he arrived at McLaren in 2007, nearly taking the title in his first season whilst battling with two time World Champion Fernando Alonso. In 2008 with the car to beat, and Heikki Kovalinnen beside him – he took his first world title in the final corners of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The following years were tough, when for the first real time in his life – Lewis had to learn to lose. The 2009 McLaren was substandard, and there wasn’t a real step forward in 2010. We saw his entourage overwhelm him and his fame and failure in equal measure whilst his team mate Jenson Button, and his circle of family and friends support him and get the best out of the car.
2011 and 2012 also provided the occasional result, but the real change came in 2013. Ready to break off his training wheels – Lewis stepped over to Mercedes AMG to side with old friend Rosberg. Rule changes in 2014 brought on new cars and Mercedes had a great advantage. Great news of course for Lewis, but Rosberg was fast too!
After a fantastic Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Circuit Of The America’s, Lewis Hamilton won the American Grand Prix, and with that the 2015 Formula One Drivers World Championship.
For a lot of the weekend it was touch and go if the race would even go ahead. The area received a third of it’s annual rainfall in less than two days and we saw Practice 2 and Qualifying 3 cancelled as it was unsafe for drivers and track staff. Thankfully, at the start of the race the rain had finally stopped, and the race was able to start from the grid without a safety car.
The first corner was only one of many points of contention. Lewis made a better start from second then his team mate Nico Rosberg, and had the inside line into the first corner. He came out wide from the corner, making contact with Rosberg knocking him down to fourth. Rosberg started to fight back, however the superior grip being delivered to the Red Bulls meant Daniel Ricciardo was soon passing Lewis for the lead.
As they made their first stops onto slick tyres, again the Mercedes came alive. Lewis wasn’t able to take advantage of this right away, however Rosberg managed to take advantage and soon pulled out a ten second lead. The advantage soon swung back and forth, with alternative safety cars and virtual safety cars swinging the pendulum of advantage between the two drivers. This left Rosberg ahead of Lewis with ten laps to go, separated by 0.7 seconds. With seven to go, Rosberg spun his wheels exiting a corner allowing Lewis to pass, and barely held off Sebastian Vettel to hold on to second place.
As Vettel crossed the line in third place, history was made. Lewis Hamilton became the 2015 World Drivers Champion.
What we have seen since then is history. Two World Championships in two years, and the most complete driver on the grid. But look closer and we don’t just see Lewis, no. He’s first to list off reels of names of mentors and fans and family that made him who is today, but look close enough and you’ll see a little Dennis, a little Button, a little Lowe, a little Alonso, a little Wolff, a little Lauda, a little Rosberg? The list goes on, as does this great man’s potential.