In 2018, Lewis Hamilton wrapped up his fifth Formula 1 world championship at the Mexican Grand Prix with two rounds still remaining and then, to add insult to injury, he went on to win the final two races with relative ease and some good fortune – crowning a season of Hammertime at its best.
Here is his journey to the 2018 Formula 1 World Champion title, a snapshot of his races and post-race quotes plus photo:
- Hamilton started the season on pole position but Vettel took the 48th victory of his career, after a Mercedes miscalculation during a virtual safety car period that allowed the German to take the lead.
Points: Vettel 25 points, Hamilton 18 (points gap -7)
Lewis: “It’s been an incredible weekend, to arrive and have the performance we had. Big congratulations to Sebastian and Ferrari. They did the better job. We have to go back to the drawing board and work on it. We still have great pace and during the race I could apply pressure at the end but it is so hard to overtake here. At the end it was live to fight another day and save the engine.”
- Vettel’s turn to start on pole in a Ferrari lockout, while Hamilton qualified fourth but started ninth due to a grid penalty for a gearbox change. The German made it two wins in a row, in his 200th start, while Hamilton finished third behind team mate Valtteri Bottas.
Points: Vettel 50, Hamilton 33 (-17)
Lewis: “I’m happy. Congratulations to Sebastian and Valtteri did an exceptional job this weekend. I’m really happy, I started ninth so third is not bad at all. It’s damage limitation. There were frustrating points in the race so they couldn’t hear me so I had to pick particular moments to speak to them. Communication is really difficult when you are trying to catch Sebastian who is 25 seconds ahead to know exactly what you need to do to not kill your tyres but make it so you catch him at the end. When you’re not getting that feedback it’s frustrating.”
- Vettel added another pole to his tally, with Ferrari again sweeping the front row. Hamilton qualified fourth. Daniel Ricciardo then seized a surprise win for Red Bull, with Vettel colliding with the Australian’s team mate Max Verstappen. Hamilton finished fourth with Vettel eighth.
Points: Vettel 54, Hamilton 45 (-9)
Lewis: “It was another difficult day at the office. I was trying to hold on, but my tyres were done, so I had no chance of keeping the Red Bulls behind. Saturday and Sunday felt like a disaster from my side. I just haven’t had the pace since yesterday and I struggled with the car. We’ve been underperforming but I’m not going to let my head drop because I know we have a tough battle ahead of us. I need to get back to my normal level of performance before I lose more valuable points. It could have been worse, Max did me a favour today in terms of the points standings, but it’s a weekend to forget, that’s for sure. Now we need to work hard to understand why we have been struggling and start the climb back to the front of the field.”
- Vettel completed a pole hat-trick, with Hamilton second on the grid. The Briton then took one of the luckiest wins of his career in a crash-strewn race that handed him the championship lead. Bottas suffered a puncture three laps from the end while leading. Vettel had made a lunge for the lead after the final safety car restart but locked up and finished fourth.
Points: Hamilton 70, Vettel 66 (-4)
Lewis: “Really quite an emotional race to be honest. Valtteri did such an exceptional job today and really deserved to have the win. It’s really quite a humbling experience. Valtteri really deserved to win and drove an exceptional race. It was a real struggle today so to come out with the win I’m extremely grateful. Straight away after the car after the interviews I went to see Valtteri straight away. That’s why I was late to the podium.”
- Hamilton took his first pole of the season in a Mercedes one-two, with Vettel qualifying third, and the reigning champion went on to win. Bottas was second, Vettel fourth. It was a record 41st time that Hamilton had converted pole into victory.
Points: Hamilton 95, Vettel 78 (+17)
Lewis: “I couldn’t have done it without this incredible team. These guys have done an amazing job and I’m just really proud of everyone. Today the car and myself, I felt that synergy which I hadn’t been feeling for the whole year. It’s a good feeling. This is when we’re going to start trying to continue to apply the pressure. A one-two for the team. I hope we can continue.”
- Ricciardo won from pole position, with Vettel second and Hamilton third in a largely processional race.
Points: Hamilton 110, Vettel 96 (+14)
Lewis: “I’m happy with the weekend – we were the third quickest team and we almost got second. I’m grateful to only have lost three points to Sebastian in the championship fight – I’ll take that and move forwards. It wasn’t a really difficult race, we just had to take the tyres go a long way; I didn’t think they were going to go as far as they did.”
- Vettel took Ferrari’s first pole in Canada since 2001, with Hamilton qualifying fourth. Sunday brought the German his 50th win and saw him retake the lead, with Hamilton fifth. The chequered flag was waved a lap early by model Winnie Harlow.
Points: Vettel 121, Hamilton 120 (-1)
Lewis: “It was a tough day in the office today, but I’m just very grateful that I finished today’s race and score some points. From the start I was down on power and my engine was overheating. I couldn’t get the temperatures down, so I just thought it was going to fail. Every single lap I was waiting for the power to just drop away and disappear – but it kept going. I could have lost a lot more points today; fifth is not the strongest result, but it could have been a lot worse. Ferrari have been doing a slightly better job and brought a better package, but we are very close. The guys are working really hard, but each and every one of us can always do better and improve. We will just keep our heads down, keep pushing and stay positive.”
- Hamilton took his 75th career pole with team mate Bottas second and Vettel third. Vettel and Bottas then collided on the opening lap of the race, with the Ferrari driver handed a five-second penalty. Both dropped to the back of the field after pitstops. Hamilton won while Vettel climbed back to fifth.
Points: Hamilton 145 points, Vettel 131 (+14)
Lewis: “When you’re constructive and criticise yourself, approach a challenge with new methods and a new-found determination, it’s a great feeling to then get the result. But it’s also disappointing for the team as we had the opportunity to take a 1-2, which is always incredible as you achieve your ultimate goal as a team. I was very comfortable with the balance this afternoon. Max had decent pace, but I could maintain the gap at around five seconds. The fresh engine put us back in line with everyone else who took a new PU in Canada and everybody in the team should be feeling happy today for the good work they have done. But there’s a long way to go and we’ll keep approaching the rest of the season like we approached today.”
- Bottas took pole, with Hamilton second and Vettel demoted to sixth after a three-place grid penalty for impeding Renault’s Carlos Sainz. Hamilton retired from the race with eight laps to go, his first non-finish since 2016 ending a record run of 33 successive scoring finishes, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen the winner and Vettel third.
Points: Vettel 146, Hamilton 145 (-1)
Lewis: “This is definitely the worst weekend that I can remember for a long time. Everyone in the team will be feeling pain today, but we’ve got to take out the positives of the weekend. The car has been great all weekend, we were quickest and we’ve had such great reliability for so many years. So as painful as it is, we have to take the rough with the smooth. I have every confidence in my team that we will be able to bounce back. We can’t throw away points, so we will have to find a bullet-proof method going forward. We will work on it and we will try to re-evaluate and come back stronger.”
- Hamilton was on pole for his home race in track record time, with Vettel second. Race day reversed the positions, with the German winning and Hamilton runner-up after fighting back from the rear of the field following a first lap collision with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Points: Vettel 171, Hamilton 163 (-8)
Lewis: “It was a difficult race, but I gave it everything and I’m grateful to make it back up to second. It was eventful from the start, but in the final laps we just didn’t have the pace of the Ferraris on the fresher tyres. I’m very grateful that the car was in one piece after the incident in Turn 3 and that I could continue the race. I was last at that point, but I still believed that I could win – and I needed that mentality to make it back to where I finished. When the guys in front of me pitted under the Safety Car, it was an opportunity for me to get up into third. It was absolutely the right decision – if I had followed them into the pits I would have come out behind them on equal tyres and I would have struggled to get by them and most certainly would not have been second. The fans have been incredible this weekend and I’m so grateful for all their support.”
- Vettel’s turn to be on pole at home, with Hamilton qualifying 14th. Race day turned into a miracle for the Briton, who won in a Mercedes one-two while the Ferrari driver crashed into the barriers on a wet track while leading.
Points: Hamilton 188, Vettel 171 (+17)
Lewis: “I’ve never experienced a race quite like this. I knew sitting on the grid that I had to catch the guys at the front – that was my goal. I did a very long first stint, but I had to stop just before it started to rain as the tyre just couldn’t hold out any longer. It rained more and more and it was so tricky out there, but I’d come so far, there was no way I was giving it up. To get the 1-2 for Mercedes, especially on a weekend when the Team showed their confidence in us by re-signing us, is tremendous. I would never have thought you could do something like that today but I just kept pushing, I kept believing and it happened. I prayed as I always do before the race, and it feels like those prayers were answered. There was a lot of negativity this weekend, but I feel like the rain has come down and washed away all of that negativity. It’s been a real dream and a day I’ll always remember.”
- Hamilton won from pole after a wet qualifying resulted in a Mercedes front row lockout. Vettel started fourth and finished second. The win was Hamilton’s fifth of the season.
Points: Hamilton 213, Vettel 189 (+24)
Lewis: “We’ve definitely had ups and downs in this Championship, it’s such a rollercoaster ride – but the team has just remained strong. We’re in a great position right now, but what’s important is that we don’t drop the ball. The last two weekends have been such a blessing with the rain, I’m so grateful. The guys have worked so hard this year, they really deserve a good result. There’s still a lot of work to do because Ferrari are still slightly ahead of us, they had the pace this weekend, especially on this circuit. Today I had them covered, but had they been on pole, we would have struggled. So we’ve got some improvements to make in our overall package to try and close the gap to them, but I’m really happy with the job everyone’s done so far, we just have to keep going. The goal is now to really pull together and become even stronger for the second half. That will be key to add to what we’ve built in this first half of the season. I’m excited about the summer break; I will do different stuff over these two weeks, but I will be training through the whole period of time, trying to improve my physique. Physicality-wise, I’m not struggling out there at all, but there are always areas where you can be better, and I want to make sure I come back with more energy so we can turn up the heat in the second half of the season.”
- Hamilton returned from the August break to take pole position in a wet qualifying. But Vettel won from second on the grid after a quick start. Hamilton had to settle for the runner-up position.
Points: Hamilton 231, Vettel 214 (+17)
Lewis: “We gave it everything today but Ferrari just outperformed us and it was hard to match their times. I think we lost the race in the first lap and at the Safety Car restart. After that, it was done. They were just faster on the straights and there was nothing we could do. We came here with an upgrade, but unfortunately Ferrari were able to match us and even go faster. We’ve got to find more performance and improve on the areas where they’re currently stronger than us. But the battle continues and for the sport this is really exciting. We will keep pushing.”
- The start of Hamilton’s run of success, with the Briton winning after Kimi Raikkonen had put Ferrari on pole. The two title contenders tangled on the first lap, with Vettel spinning and having to fight back from 18th to fourth.
Points: Hamilton 256, Vettel 226 (+30)
Lewis: “That was one tough race, but a really enjoyable one – I’m very, very happy. This afternoon has shaken off to be one of the best. It’s so close between Ferrari and us, this race was really down to who makes the least mistakes and who looks after their tyres the best. Valtteri did a great job extending his stint which enabled me to close up to Kimi. It was really great team work today, a great pit stop, great communication with the team. It was an intense first lap, we all got off to similar starts. When we went into Turn 4, I was a bit surprised that Sebastian chose the inside and did not go for the outside. That was my opportunity and I had to make sure that I was far enough alongside him. We touched for a brief moment and my car was slightly damaged afterwards, but fortunately I was able to continue and keep up with Kimi. Once I had closed the gap to Kimi on my second stint, I could see that his tyres were blistering, so I started to take care of my tyres and made sure that I didn’t blister mine. When Valtteri then came in for his pit stop it was a bit harder to keep up with Kimi, but I knew that my tyres were in better shape. I had to push as hard as I could to close the gap, particularly through the Lesmos and Ascari. But this track is really just incredible, it’s such a phenomenal circuit to drive with all it’s high-speed corners and the fact that you can follow through the corners and the chicanes make it one of the best tracks in the world. It’s always a real privilege to win in Italy. But we need to keep our heads down, work hard and make sure that we put up a good fight in Singapore.”
- Hamilton won after producing a stunning pole lap in qualifying, the Briton opening a 40-point lead over Vettel who was third.
Points: Hamilton 281, Vettel 241 (+40)
Lewis: “I’m so excited. I came here knowing that Singapore is a hard one for us. But I’m always optimistic, thinking that if we’re really diligent and do our work, we can create some chances. Then Friday was already a good day for us. Saturday didn’t start off well, but then all of the sudden that special lap came in. Knowing that we would start on pole, I knew that it was a great opportunity for us to capitalise on. I had a great start and from then I was able to manage it. When I hit the traffic, I was just mindful not to take any risks. When you start to get closer to another car, you start losing grip and start sliding around more, so there’s a higher chance of mistakes. If you’re lucky you catch the cars at the right point and they let you by so you don’t lose any time, but today I always caught them at an unfortunate point. So when Max was right behind, I had to go on the defensive, and I thought to myself “Bro, you’re not getting by – not today!” It was physically such a demanding race, so I’m relieved that it’s over now – it felt like such a long night, but I’m super grateful for the result.”
- Bottas took another pole but it was Hamilton who won after the Finn was ordered to move aside in the race. Vettel was third and slipped 50 points behind.
Points: Hamilton 306, Vettel 256 (+50)
Lewis: “Valtteri did a fantastic job all weekend and was a real gentleman to let me by. Obviously, he’s now not fighting for the Championship. Usually we’d be elated but I can understand how difficult it was for Valtteri. He did a fantastic job and deserved to win.”
- Hamilton won from pole, his fourth victory in a row and sixth in seven races. Vettel started eighth and finished sixth after a collision with Verstappen dropped him to 19th.
Points: Hamilton 331, Vettel 264 (+67)
Lewis: “I was having so much fun driving this track. I was really able to just embrace the moment and enjoy every single lap, every single corner and the feel of the car. Suzuka is such a unique circuit, you go down a hill into Turn 1, then up-hill, you go underneath the track – it’s one of my favourite circuits. The pace was really great and this is definitely the best weekend I’ve had here and the best feeling I’ve had here balance-wise, it was really lovely. Everyone at the track and back home in the factories deserves a huge thank you for their continued efforts, they just continue to push and deliver, weekend after weekend. This result was really the best way to repay all their hard work. There’s still 100 points available, so we have to try and focus and never be complacent. The team has done such an amazing job the last few weekends, we need to bring the same focus and performance and keep pushing. The harmony in the team and the performance of every single individual in the team is the best it’s ever been. But we’ve always got areas that we can improve on, collectively and for me personally, so we will keep pushing and keep raising the bar.”
- Hamilton took pole with Vettel qualifying fifth after a three-place grid drop for failing to slow sufficiently when red warning flags were waved in practice. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen won the race, with Hamilton third and Vettel fourth. Verstappen was second after starting 18th.
Points: Hamilton 346, Vettel 276 (+70)
Lewis Hamilton: “It was actually a really fun race, to be close with Kimi and have a bit of a battle with him and Max. It was quite cool that it was Ferrari, Red Bull and us battling for positions and it must have been exciting to watch. Naturally, I’m a bit disappointed in our performance, to have started first but finished third, but I’m still grateful that I managed to finish up ahead of Seb. When you don’t have Friday practice you don’t get to work on the set-up and get the optimum out of the car. Everyone was in the same boat, but I think ultimately Ferrari came closer to us with the changes they made. In the race, we were lacking pace on the straights, but I gave it everything. I was still pushing like crazy and that’s what racing is all about. I had one little chance at the end, but I had to give Max a lot of space because it’s better to finish third than get taken out by someone who’s not fighting for the championship, so I didn’t want to take that risk. We were going for the win today, but it wasn’t meant to be. We’re going to Mexico next; it’s such a beautiful place, but I haven’t always had the best results there, so I definitely want to win that race.”
MEXICO AND CHAMPION!
- Ricciardo started on pole with Verstappen alongside, Hamilton third and Vettel fourth. Hamilton had needed to finish only seventh to secure the title and ended up fourth, with Vettel second and Verstappen the winner.
Points: Hamilton 358, Vettel 294 (+64)
Lewis: “Honestly, it’s very hard to realise it at the moment. It’s something I dreamed of, but I never in a million years thought I’d be standing here today a five-time World Champion. I never knew that was going to happen and I am just so grateful to everyone who has helped me be here. I want to say a big thank you to all the fans here for making the Mexican Grand Prix as special as it is. And I want to say a big thank you to my team. Bono said on the radio – the Championship wasn’t won here, it was won through a lot of hard work and through a lot of races. So, I am so grateful for all the hard work back home, for Petronas, for all our partners and ultimately for Mercedes. I have been with Mercedes since I was 13, so to achieve the same thing Fangio had done with Mercedes so many years ago, is an incredible feeling and very surreal at the moment. The race itself today was pretty horrible. I got a great start and was really working my way up, but then we were really struggling with the tyres, both Valtteri and I. I was just trying to hold on and bring the car home. Honestly, I am just so grateful. To my family back home, I love you, thank you for all the support. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all the hard work my dad did and my family. This is a very humbling experience!”
- Mercedes clinched the constructors’ championship, and title double, for the fifth year in a row. Hamilton started on pole and ended up with his 10th win of the season, 72nd of his career and second in Brazil. The five times champion was gifted the lead by Verstappen’s collision with Esteban Ocon.
Points: Hamilton 383, Vettel 302 (+81)
Lewis: “That’s real history in the making for the team. If I were to stop today with Mercedes, I would always remember this day and that I was a part of it and that’s so cool. This has been a seriously tough year and everyone on this team has fought so hard, harder than we’ve ever fought and we’re the most united that we’ve ever been – which is not expected when you’ve had success in previous years and could easily drop the ball. The guys have been continuing to raise the bar. Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team. It has such a big knock-on effect; everyone on the team can now go into the last race and into the winter, knowing that they won the world title and that they’re legends. I am so grateful for all the hard work – here at the track, back home at the factories, at Petronas and all of our partners – I’m so proud to be part of this team. I’m actually kind of nervous to go back to the factories and hear the roar – I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible. I didn’t expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today, I thought they’d be in a similar pace to us, but they were quite a bit quicker. We struggled with the tyres in the first stint and they were able to manage the tyres better than us. In the second stint, I was on the Medium tyre and had an issue with the engine, so I was really just trying to bring the car across the line. Max passed me which was painful, but then they had an issue and all of a sudden I was back in the lead. I was on the radio, telling my engineers “I don’t want to give it up, tell me what I need to do” – I was pushing so hard at the end, taking every risk to bring it home with a win. This is a high, but I want to stay on that wave and win the next race as well.”
- Hamilton, starting on pole, took his 11th win of the season and 73rd of his career, becoming the first driver to score more than 400 points in a year.
Points: Hamilton 408, Vettel 320 (+88)
Lewis: “This has been a great year and I’m so thankful for so many things – for my health, for my team, for all the hard work everyone’s done non-stop at the factory and on the road. I also want to say thank you to all the fans who’ve saved up and travelled and came to the races and those supporting us from home and who’ve been sending their positive energies and their prayers – a big, big thank you to everyone. This year has been a very uplifting experience for me. I wanted to come here and make sure that I left no stone unturned; the team did an exceptional job all year long, so I really wanted to deliver for them and end the season off strong. I think I was able to do that and I’m really grateful for all the support throughout the entire year. I’ve been able to be a better me all year long and I will continue to try to work on that and try to work on the energy that I’m projecting to people. I had a lot of fun in the car today – I love driving, I loved driving every minute today and I hope I have many more days to go.”