Few drivers have offered a disclaimer along with their race-craft of the kinds Lewis Hamilton is offering to the current Formula 1 grid.
When he is out on the track, regardless of whether he’s contesting in a qualifying battle or in midst of a Grand Prix, it appears that his mere presence among 19 others signals a warning: Watch out, danger ahead.
We know he’s fast. We have seen his consistency.
And above all, we’ve seen him bounce back from oddities that he’s often not responsible for.
That Lewis Hamilton’s craft often compels even critics to sit alongside fans in the subject of domination of a Grand Prix can be understood by three distinct efforts he capably brings to a race.
Wondering what that is?
In a Grand Prix, Hamilton is often that driver who battles, produces sublime moves, and often, mounts a comeback when the usual story of domination at the front becomes tough.
We saw that last year at his home race, won by a driver whose home race, Hamilton would himself spoil at Germany.
A jewel of a drive at Silverstone, 2018
In the 2018 British Grand Prix, Hamilton, who was spun out by Raikkonen in an erroneous run down to Turn 1, fell to the back of the grid.
But he would later make Silverstone go wild by recording a heroic comeback, finishing second, even ahead of Raikkonen, the spoil-sport according to hundreds of thousands who’d come to see Lewis wave the British flag from the top of the podium.
How he did that is available on YouTube and fresh in the minds of millions of fans for whom he’s a racing idol no less heroic than Senna, and a man who seems driven to win, race after race, lap after lap, track after track.
In the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, where he lost the pole to Ferrari, in fact, to a familiar opponent of 2018- Raikkonen, not Sebastian- Hamilton produced what could only be called a drive of the year as he stomped Ferrari at their home track.
There would be no Red-letter day; it was all Silvery at Monza
How else would one have described it?
Perhaps it may not be incorrect to state that in the past, the manner in which Hamilton’s been leading races, clinching poles, and registered wins is worthy of being called achievements that fall in what seems like the Lewis Hamilton-era.
To his rivals, he exists as a common anti-thesis in the sport. He may have been cuter and easier to handle had he simply been a rival.
What do you think, Seb?
Some would call him a dominant driver.
Others would credit Hamilton’s rise in Formula 1 to his attacking instincts.
But those, who’ve seen Ferrari grow wearier in its impassioned but failed attempts to curb the Mercedes driver, would dub him a menacing genius.
Of course, we all have our opinions. And mustn’t we blamed for having those.
A lot of Hamilton’s success is attributed to a car that’s supremely quick, often seeming the better machine in circuits that are traditionally defined by straight-line speed, such as Monza, Spa, Suzuka, Yas Marina, among others.
And to that, Hamilton’s aided by what appears a superior Merc product, of phenomenal value in this age defined by turbo-powered engines.
But at the same time, let’s be honest to ourselves.
Did Ferrari produce a damp squib?
Was the 2017 Ferrari car- the SF-70H- a machine too ulterior that it became easy for Lewis to beat Sebastian Vettel fair and square?
Where at Spa-Francorchamps, he seemed drubbed by Sebastian Vettel, who arguably achieved among his easiest wins, given the straight line speed of the Ferrari made it a flying machine of sorts, Hamilton didn’t back down in what lay ahead.
He silenced the red-colored trumpets at Monza, right in front of Ferrari’s fans, even as he overcame a driver a few years older then him?
But hey, if that’s not such a big deal then why’s a lot made out when a 21-year-old Max Verstappen beats Lewis, now 34, fair and square at Brazil, Mexico?
That said, it can be seen easily.
Maybe only a few drivers unite fans and divide critics in their love and rabble, respectively, quite like Lewis.
Similarly, there are also very few on the grid who make as much a name for their sheer dominance on a circuit as for their colorful social life.
Once around a track, starting the free-practice, Hamilton’s proven himself to be the guy to watch on Friday’s. On most Saturday’s, he appears as the guy to prevent from taking pole.
On Sunday’s, one doesn’t quite know how and when to curtail Hammertime.
In fact, fans, who cannot simply wait for Lewis to first match Michael’s tally of 91 (wins) and later, better it, may not be wrong to feel that Hammer-Time is any time of the race where Lewis turns the table on his opponents or the exact split-second where the idol from Stevenage clinches the checkered flag.
Visors down, ready in a red-alert position, and with that incredible fitness at its peak usually always: once the five red lights turn green, it tends to become a Lewis Hamilton Grand Prix.
Wondering this is some pathetic exaggeration or fan-boy petulance aimed at taking out others in the context?
Hamilton’s mighty appetite at winning
Give this statistic some thought.
In the 2016 F1 season, Hamilton bagged 1o wins in 21. The following year, in 2017, where Hamilton became a four-time world champion, drawing level with Sebastian Vettel, he’d win 9 races out of 20. Still, it was 45 percent of the entire championship.
But what took the Mickey out of Ferrari, and arguably, out of his German rival was the doggedness in which Lewis scripted his own fate in 2018.
In winning 11 races out of 21, Hamilton took out half of the Grands Prix on his own.
Here’s a guy who’s not only hungry to win but someone who likes to bake his cake- read design a Grand Prix utterly dominantly by winning the pole- and eat the cherry too- read, seal the win.
We knew Senna was dangerously dominant.
Prost saw it. He felt it. Piquet and Mansel could hardly counter it.
We saw Michael Schumacher as the arch-nemesis of one and all on the grid. Only Hakkinen stood up to him.
And we are now seeing era- what is it anyways- of Lewis Hamilton, rather of his invincibility.
The only question now is, can anyone stand up to Lewis?
For starters, those 73 runs, 134 podiums, 83 poles culminating in 5 world titles will take a lot to match, let alone better.
If, in case, Sebastian is tired, Max, do you mind stepping up?