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Here's how Lewis Hamilton used 2019 to cement his (future) legacy

2019-12-17 04:30

Charlen Raymond

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Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton sits next to his car as he celebrates winning the pole position after the qualifying session at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, a day ahead of the final race of the season, on November 30, 2019. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

Lewis Hamilton. Perhaps the greatest driver of our generation. Whether you love, hate, or loathe him, you can’t deny the fact that he has become synonymous with Formula 1.

When the British driver first joined the sport in 2007, no one could have predicted that he’d achieve the successes he’s currently enjoying. Despite the turmoil of the #SpyGate (2007 F1 espionage controversy) that almost hindered any future involvement in F1, Hamilton came out top and went on to achieve great things.

2019 was another fruitful year for the F1 ace, as he secured his sixth championship, raked in more victories, added to his pole position tally, and ran rampant with the entire F1 field.

But just how does Hamilton’s achievements in 2019 stack up to what other drivers attained in earlier years? And are we paying witness to, what could be, the greatest F1 driver of all time?



Compared to other legendary drivers through the years, do you think Lewis Hamilton could become one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time? Email us.


 
We have an inkling that 2019 might have another stepping en route to that feat.

His sixth world title

Let’s not beat around the bush with this one. Lewis Hamilton could, by the time the 2020 season draws to a close, match the great Michael Schumacher’s seven F1 world championships. In 2019, Hamilton sealed his sixth title - his fifth in six years. By doing so, he won eleven of the 21 races this season and brought his overall win-count in the sport to 84.

Only Schumacher has more wins under his belt - 91 - but 2020 will surely see Hamilton better it. Hamilton has shown that when the cards are stacked against him, he will put up a fight and not back down. When he won his first championship in 2008, many wondered if he’ll ever add more to his name. It might have taken a few years, but he did so in 2014. And again in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Throughout 2019, Hamilton also appeared on the podium a whopping 17 times and set the fastest lap of the race in six of the 21 races he competed in.

READ: These drivers won the most races in 2019

Grand slams

A grand slam, or grand chelem as it's used in racing circles, is when a driver secures pole position, fastest lap, win, and lead a race from start to finish. This might not be a fact known to many, but Hamilton achieved this feat six times in his career, the first time in 2014 during his first championship year with Mercedes.

In 2019 it happened again, but only once: at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP where Hamilton dominated the race. He was also the only driver this season to have claimed a grand slam in 2019.

In the all-time list, only Jim Clark has more grand slams than Hamilton (8 vs. 6), while Alberto Ascari and Schumacher each have five.

Interestingly, Sebastian Vettel has four to his name.

READ: Here's the driver who had the most pole positions in the 2019 F1 season

250 Grand Prix strong

Coming into 2019, Hamilton was just outside the top ten most experienced drivers in F1. By the time the season ended, he was the ninth most-experienced driver, ever. With 250 Grands Prix behind him, Hamilton used the 2019 season to prove that he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the most illustrious names in the sport.

Rubens Barrichello (323 GPs), Kimi Raikkonen (313), Fernando Alonso (312), Schumacher (307), and Jenson Button (306) are the only ones to have competed in more than 300 F1 races. On his current tally, Hamilton would need only three more seasons to surpass the 300-mark.

Of the current driver grid, only Raikkonen betters Hamilton in terms of race experience.

100% record

Of all the drivers who competed in the 2019 F1 season, only Hamilton completed every race. The 21 races this past season covered a distance of 6384km - or alternatively, a total of 1262 laps - and Hamilton saw the chequered flag at each one.

Of the total distance, Hamilton has lead 2538km (511 laps), followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on 1322km.

In the all-time list, Schumacher has lead a total 24 148km in his career, followed by Hamilton (22 738km) and Vettel (18 129km). In terms of number of laps led, it’s Schumacher (5111 laps), followed by Hamilton (4486 laps) and Vettel (3495 laps).

Worth noting: of the 250 races Hamilton competed in, he only failed to finish in 26 of them. This means that he has a GP completion rate of 89.60%.

Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team are preparing for the 2020 season. And there is a genuine chance that more records could be broken over the course of the year.

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