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Lewis Hamilton’s championship timeline with the Silver Arrows

Written by Alrissa Mariam, Edited by Sharifah Zaqreeztrina

Image Credit: The Independent

Whenever Formula One is mentioned, people immediately think of Lewis Hamilton — the British racing driver who has won seven World Drivers’ Championship, one being with McLaren in 2008 and the other six going to his years in Mercedes.

Hamilton signed with Mercedes AMG-Petronas Formula 1 Team in 2013 and was reunited with his childhood karting teammate, Nico Rosberg. It took the public by surprise at the news of the pair, with some describing it as a gamble since Mercedes was a team with no recent history of success at the time.

He secured his second overall Championship title, a first one with the Silver Arrows in 2014. Hamilton had racked up 11 wins and the team had amassed 16 out of 19 races that season. This was also the year we witnessed ‘Duel in the Desert’ , where he and Rosberg went head-to-head in a battle for the championship lead during the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix which was held at night for the first time. 

In 2015, Hamilton announced he would be sticking to number 44 on his car instead of taking number one as was his prerogative as reigning World Champion. In the same year, he was breaking driver records, including being in the top ten of the most career wins, average starting grid position, most laps led per Grand Prix, fastest laps, pole positions and highest podium finishes by percentage.

Hamilton dominated the season, winning ten races and finishing on the podium for a record of 17 times. This resulted in him clinching his third title, which matched his hero Ayrton Senna’s World Championship record. 

The rivalry between him and his teammate eventually intensified, climaxing in a heated battle at the United States Grand Prix where Hamilton won in an action-packed, wheel-to-wheel battle with Rosberg to seal the title with three races to spare.

The title fight between the Mercedes duo continued until 2016. The team’s policy of letting the pair fight freely led to several bitter exchanges both on and off the track. 

Luck was not on Hamilton’s side as he also suffered several mechanical failures throughout the year, including a crucial engine blowout during the Malaysian Grand Prix. This greatly affected his championship points. 

Image Credit: USA Today

Hamilton had defied team orders in the final round at Abu Dhabi and deliberately slowed back Rosberg into the chasing pack at the end of the race in an unsuccessful attempt to encourage other drivers to overtake his teammate. 

This led to Hamilton losing the driver’s title by five points to his teammate. Rosberg secured the title before announcing his shock retirement from the motorsport series a few days after beating his longtime rival.

In 2017, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel became Hamilton’s closest rival as the pair exchanged the lead in the championship throughout the season. Hamilton registered 11 pole positions as he took the record for the all-time most pole positions and his consistency in finishing every race in the points, as well as a lack of serious challenge from his new teammate, Valtteri Bottas. 

He had managed to take home his fourth Championship title as he overturned a points deficit to Vettel in the first half of the season, wrapping up the title in Mexico with only two races left.

The following season was labelled as ‘The Fight for Five’ as it was the first time that two four-time World Champions, Hamilton and Vettel, would be competing for a fifth title. 

However, Vettel’s season was disrupted with a number of driver and mechanical errors while Hamilton clinched the title for himself at the Mexican Grand Prix as he set a new record for the most points scored in a season. 

After signing a contract with Mercedes that lasted until 2020, Hamilton led the driver’s standings for the majority of the 2019 season. He fended off title challenges from teammate Bottas, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s recently promoted Charles Leclerc, as he snatched his sixth Championship at the United States Grand Prix with two races remaining. 

He managed to score his sixth career grand slam as well at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and ended the season with yet another 11 wins, 17 podiums and five pole positions. His total points of 413 for the season was a new all-time record, just 87 points clear of his teammate who placed second.

His seventh title was earned in 2020, equalling the record set by Michael Schumacher, in a season hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, he took 11 wins, 14 podiums and 10 pole positions. Unfortunately, Hamilton had to miss out on the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19, the first race he has ever missed since his F1 debut in 2007.

Yet, he still managed to take the title into his arms at the Turkish Grand Prix with three rounds to go and ended the season with 124 points clear of his teammate, who finished second again.

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2021 saw a ‘Clash of the Titans’ between Hamilton and Verstappen as they often exchanged the championship lead throughout the season and even tied in points up until the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the last race of the season. 

At Abu Dhabi, Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the final lap of the race after a safety car restart, denying the Brit of his eighth title.  Despite the loss, this was also the season when Hamilton became the first driver to surpass 100 race wins and 100 pole positions.

The season finale was scarred with controversy over then race director Michael Masi’s decision to instruct only the lapped cars separating Verstappen and Hamilton to un-lap themselves under the safety car.

Four days after the 2021 season concluded, the FIA announced that it would conduct an internal investigation into the incident. The governing body had reported that it was a ‘human error’ that resulted in the failure to follow the regulations but also that the final standings ‘cannot now be changed’.

Throughout the 2022 and 2023 season, Hamilton did not win a single race and has admitted to experiencing moments of self-doubt as he was faced with difficult challenges with the car provided for him. 

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Hamilton had announced one of the biggest driver transfer shocks in F1 when he triggered an exit-clause in his Mercedes contract to leave the team at the end of the 2024 season, a year before his contract was due to expire. Ferrari has reached an agreement for Hamilton to join the team in 2025 on a multi-year contract, replacing Carlos Sainz Jr. 

Hamilton claimed driving for the Scuderia will ‘fulfil a childhood dream’. This transition marks the first time in his F1 career that he will not be driving for a Mercedes-powered team, and it will end Hamilton’s record-breaking streak of most consecutive seasons driving for a single constructor.

1 comment

1 Comment

Mar 30

I believe Hamilton knows something about Ferrari's 2026 car, that's why the switch in 2025. I'm rooting for championship #8 even though I despise Ferrari. Go Hamilton!

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