Lewis Hamilton has won his sixth world championship with second place in the US Grand Prix as Valtteri Bottas finished victorious.
The world championship win now puts Hamilton just one behind Michael Schumacher on the all-time list – both drivers were the same age when they won their sixth title, 34 years old.
Arriving into the weekend, just eighth place was all he needed to win yet another title, but that didn’t stop Hamilton from going all-out for victory.
Whilst the other podium finishes, Bottas and Max Verstappen raced a two-stop strategy, Hamilton took control of his own strategy to go with a one-stop.
However, running long on the hard tyre did not pay off as Bottas overtook him with just three laps to go, but the title winner had just enough to fend off Verstappen’s late charge.
“Records were there to be broken”
With this sixth world title confirmed, the question as to if he can now overtake Schumacher’s tally arrives into the limelight.
With one more year to go until the significant 2021 season with all its regulation changes, Hamilton will surely be favourite heading into 2020.
Consistency will be key for other drivers to even come close to Hamilton in the fight for next year’s title, but that is a big ‘if’.
Approaching the weekend, the regulations for 2021 were released which subsequently caused Hamilton to say he wants to be the “pioneer” heading into that year.
“You’ve got the youngsters who are in town. I’m planning to be here then so at some point next year my mindset will be to switch into 2021 and wanting to be the pioneer in that era” he said.
With it almost confirmed that he will be in Formula One for at least another two years, then Schumacher’s all-time title record of seven is very much in danger – a feat which was once seen as almost impossible to reach.
“I always thought records were there to be broken” Michael Schumacher once said.
And many records of his own may soon be broke – Hamilton just needs six more podium finishes to break Schumacher’s all-time record of 155, and the Briton also needs 9 more victories to beat the seven-time world champion’s feat of 91 wins.
But, to achieve such target then he will need the car alongside it, however there are no signs of Mercedes slowing down with another race victory this weekend.
What happened to Ferrari
Whilst it was arguably the perfect race for Mercedes, the same cannot be said about their closest rivals who failed to finish on the podium.
Both Ferrari drivers started the race poorly with Vettel being overtaken by Verstappen at turn one, whilst Leclerc didn’t gain any positions.
On top of it, Vettel picked up damage at the start to then retire after only seven laps with a failed suspension.
Leclerc managed to finish the race in fourth but could not challenge the top three at any point throughout – to say Ferrari had massive upgrades after the summer break, it is now three consecutive victories for Mercedes.
What the top three said
Race winner, Valtteri Bottas: “It’s a nice win. Feels good. Felt very good since yesterday in the car. We have a strong pace and I’m very happy with the win. Only thing I could have done in terms of the Championship race, the rest was up to Lewis.
“Big congratulations to him. I personally failed on my target this year but there is always next year.
“He deserves it. He’s a great champion” he said.
Second-placed and championship winner, Lewis Hamilton [wrapped up in a Union Jack flag]: “It’s overwhelming if I’m honest. It was a tough race today and yesterday was a difficult day for us – Valtteri did a great job so congratulations to him.
“I didn’t know if it would be possible, but I worked as hard as I could here with my team back at the factory.
“My dad told me when I was like six or seven never to give up and that’s kind of the family motto. I pushed as hard as I could I was hopeful I could win today but I didn’t have it in the tyres” he said.
Third-placed, Max Verstappen: “We did the best we could, they were just a bit faster today, I tried to stay close and see if something happened. It was a very good race, it was fun, we had decent pace. There was a yellow flag in the back straight otherwise we could’ve been second.”
On Hamilton’s sixth world title, Verstappen added: “It’s very impressive, what else to say. He’s doing phenomenally, has a great team behind him and hopefully we can take to the fight to them next year” he said.
By Edward Hardy