Given the gazillions of words written about Mercedes AMG F1 ruling the F1 roost with ease – and that Lewis Hamilton has won the past two F1 driver world titles, it would be natural to assume that Hamilton should me making an assault on the pinnacle of F1 driver domination statistics.
In fact Lewis was set to be placed second only to Michael Schumacher for the most driver wins – in percentage terms – in a single season; then up stepped pesky Nico and won the last three races of 2015. Hamilton in fact is only joint third in this particular achievement, which for many will be surprising.
Percentage wins in a single season
Since the arrival of F1 hybrid power, Lewis Hamilton’s performance has been prolific over the early flyaway races. This part of the season became the platform he built to launch his double title winning campaigns with Nico Rosberg struggling to make up the lost ground by the time the European season began.
In 2014 a mere $5 wire failure in Melbourne prevented the Brit from a clean sweep of 5 wins up to and including the Spanish GP. Last year in Malaysia, Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel mugged Hamilton’s imperious start to the season as Mercedes frivolously wasted tyres in the first part of qualifying, leaving Lewis with one set of new mediums (the preferred race tyre) for a two stop race.
A poor race start this year at one of Lewis’ favourite tracks, Melbourne, saw the triple world champion unable to better his team mate and trail home second at the chequered flag. Though a revamped calendar means another of Hamilton’s favourite circuits is up next in Bahrain. Last year, Hamilton out-qualified his team mate in second by a massive 0.411s and went on to win back to back races in the desert kingdom.
The significance of this weekend’s Bahrain GP for Lewis Hamilton cannot be dismissed, on a number of levels. A win here would give the Mercedes driver another career first as this would be for him the third consecutive race victory at any circuit. Lewis would then join an illustrious club, which surprisingly already includes his team mate Nico.
Most consecutive wins at same GP
*sequence ongoing, 1. No 2006 Belgium GP
To notch up this new milestone, Lewis will need to put a stop to his team mate’s run of four consecutive race wins which began back in Mexico last year. But more importantly, should Hamilton fail to score a win in two of the flyaway races at favoured tracks, this will be a huge fillip for his German rival who will surely start to believe it is possible to beat Lewis to a drivers’ world championship.
What makes the upcoming weekend fascinating is that Mercedes have opted for just the one set of medium tyres for both Hamilton and Rosberg, while the Ferrari drivers have 3 sets each. Given that Bahrain is a nailed on two stop race, if this medium tyre becomes the race tyre of choice then both Rosberg and Hamilton might see themselves spending some time staring at the exhaust pipes of Räikkönen and Vettel.
Most wins at same GP