By Jack Vavasour
Last weekend Lewis Hamilton won his fifth Formula 1 title. This confirmed his place as a true great of Formula 1, surpassing rival Sebastian Vettel’s impressive tally of four titles.
Hamilton kicks off a new series by Gair Rhydd which will discuss Britain’s greatest athletes of all time.
Hamilton won his first title when he was only 23 years old. He had to wait six years before he tasted championship glory again. This hiatus from victory was dominated by Sebastian Vettel driving in the dominant Red Bull car. Seventeen drivers have won one championship and never won again. Hamilton also had the longest break between his first and second championship out of any driver to have won more than one title, tied with fellow Brit, Graham Hill. Hamilton was also the youngest champion ever, a record now shared with Vettel.
Hamilton changed teams prior to the 2013 season. His new team, Mercedes, began to flourish a season after signing Hamilton. This was due to significant changes in the rulings with regards to cars. Mercedes appeared to have welcomed these changes and produced a faster car than any other team. They also possessed two very talented drivers, Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg. Along with a powerful car and their pure talent Mercedes are yet to lose the title since the 2014 season with Hamilton claiming four and Rosberg taking the other.
Hamilton’s achievement is made all the more impressive when considering the dedication and energy that goes in to a championship winning season. Rosberg decided to retire after he won the championship as it drained too much from him and he had to give his whole life just to win once. Hamilton has won five times and still appears as determined as ever. Hamilton is fortunate due to his wonderful natural ability, however, we cannot take anything away from this outstanding athlete.
Hamilton has been exceptional in all weather conditions and has dominated in the rain throughout his career. Most drivers struggle in the rain, yet Hamilton is fearless in his drive for victory. Hamilton must now have his eyes on Michael Schumacher’s unbeaten record of seven Formula 1 championships. This is certainly going to be difficult, yet if Hamilton can find the desire to keep out Vettel and other promising racers for a few more seasons, then the sky is the limit. Hamilton appears to be in the greatest shape of his life and shows no signs of weakening or slowing down.
Hamilton should be considered as not only one of the greatest British athletes of all time but one of the greatest the World has ever seen. Many would argue that drivers aren’t athletes as such, yet when you discover how much training and hard work goes into just winning one race, then you realise that these men are definitely athletes, and Hamilton is one of a kind.