This weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix provides Lewis Hamilton with his first golden opportunity to wrap up his sixth Formula 1 world championship.
After his third place finish at Suzuka, Hamilton conceded nine points to team-mate Valtteri Bottas, meaning he has a 64-point lead over the Finn with four rounds remaining.
Bottas’ victory mathematically ruled out Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen from the championship picture, meaning it will be a straight fight between the Mercedes drivers for the crown.
Hamilton, who has led the standings since the Spanish Grand Prix, will not need to rely on count back to defeat Bottas as, even if he wins the last four races, Hamilton will still have two more race wins.
F1’s addition of a point for fastest lap this season means there are 104 points still available to the drivers, which will be down to 78 after Mexico.
If Hamilton is to be crowned champion on Sunday in Mexico City, the permutations are:
- If Hamilton wins and claims a point for fastest lap, he needs Bottas to finish off the podium.
- If Hamilton wins but doesn’t set the fastest lap, he needs Bottas to finish outside to the four.
- If Hamilton finishes second, he needs Bottas to finish eighth or lower whether or not he sets fastest lap.
- If Hamilton finishes third and secures the fastest lap, he needs Bottas to finish ninth or lower.
- If Hamilton finishes third without the fastest lap, he needs Bottas to finish 10th or lower.
For Bottas to remaining in championship contention by the next race in Austin, he needs to:
- Finish at least third or higher regardless if Hamilton wins with or without a point for fastest lap.
Should Hamilton fail to register a podium finish, regardless of where Bottas finishes, he cannot win the championship in Mexico as 12 points for fourth place – even with an extra point for fastest lap – wouldn’t be enough.
A sixth drivers’ crown would see Hamilton surpass Juan Manuel Fangio to second in the all-time list for most F1 championships.
Reaching this milestone would see the Briton become only the second driver to achieve six world titles after Michael Schumacher. The German sealed his sixth championship in 2003 before adding a seventh the following year.