I doubt there is a Formula 1 news outlet, F1 forum or blog or whatever that would not name Lewis Hamilton the 2018 Formula 1 Driver of the Year, even his fellow drivers and team principals voted him the Best of the Best this year, the count in his favour was unanimous.
Sure, Lewis has the best car a driver could wish for with a fantastic team well captained by Toto Wolff who has provided his star with a perfect environment from where he can perform at his very best. Of course, he made the most of it.
Getting a team to build around you and provide the best car possible to win championships is how success has been attained at the highest level for as long as I can remember.
During my years following the sport, Ken Tyrrell did it with Jackie Stewart, Ferrari with Niki Lauda, Lotus with Mario Andretti, Williams with Alan Jones, McLaren with Alain Prost and later Ayrton Senna, Bennetton with Michael Schumacher, Ferrari with Schumacher, McLaren with Hamilton, Red Bull with Sebastian Vettel and now Mercedes with Hamilton.
Focus energy and resources on one driver is the most efficient and effective way to win the world championship.
How does a team decide on the chosen one? Inevitably the cream rises to the top and Hamilton is creme-de-la-creme. “Still I Rise” is emblazoned on the Briton’s helmet and tattooed on his back, in 2018 he did rise again.
In the process of destroying his teammate Valtteri Bottas, Lewis went on to score 408 points, finishing with 16 podiums of which 11 were victories, as well as 11 pole position starts during the 21 race season on his journey to a fifth F1 world championship title.
For me, the highlight of the season was that astounding pole-winning lap during qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix. Where he got that from he alone knows. It was a Senna-esque showing, and worthy of the late great Brazilian’s legendary efforts in qualifying.
Hamilton’s lap not only demolished the opposition that night, it also provided his team with the true gulf between him and his teammate.
His way of inadvertently (or not) putting it out there to Mercedes: who are you going to put your money on? And we all know the answer.
The only slight on an otherwise perfect season, and worth mentioning, is that the man has to get over the ‘thing’ he has with his former teammate Nico Rosberg.
Word is that before the start of the season in Melbourne, Lewis requested not to be interviewed by Nico after qualy or on the podium, and F1 chiefs abided. Sky and RTL, who the German appears for as a pundit at races do not use him when interviewing Lewis.
Get over it Lewis. Can the five times(!) F1 world champion not just accept he was beaten that once? Even if he can’t admit defeat to Nico at least blame it on Lady Luck ditching him at the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix and move on.
From Rosberg’s side, I only sense respect and admiration for his former teammate, he only has good things to say about Lewis whose petulance is immature.
That he is handbraking the relationship evolving into a ‘post-war’ friendship in the Senna-Prost manner, is doing himself, Nico and F1 fans a disfavour. They would be priceless together now that the gloves are off…
Other than that, flawless was Lewis Hamilton the 2018 Formula 1 Driver of the Year, a no-brainer.