Do you remember the furore that followed F1 Live in London? Lewis Hamilton, the man who was chasing down a fourth world championship, didn’t join the rest of the grand prix grid on the streets of Westminster.
While the crowds were enthralled, there was one stand-out thing missing – the UK’s most successful driver. “Hamilton’s London F1 snub to fans” was just one of the headlines, and it was a theme that was followed by several outlets.
Hamilton was in Mykonos in Greece instead, enjoying a bit of rest and relaxation. He was hunting the crown, and was 20 points behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Vettel had just finished second in the Austrian Grand Prix behind Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas and was inching away at the top of the points table.
The reaction to Hamilton’s absence was enormous, and he was quite clearly shaken by the articles that were being written. There was only one answer he could give them.
From the British Grand Prix onwards, the Mercedes man would finish no lower than fourth in a GP (until Mexico) and took a run of six wins in eight races. Along the way, he smashed the record for the most pole positions.
And then there was last weekend, and the destiny that Hamilton had tried to make happen. He secured his fourth title and became the most successful driver from the United Kingdom. Vindication?
Whatever the opinion on Hamilton, and there are plenty of diverse thoughts about his personality, but he has truly joined the list of the best drivers. The statistics dare you to say otherwise.
And the numbers are the only thing that anyone should pay any real attention to. Yes, Lewis has a very individual lifestyle and yes he might do things that would have made Sir Stirling Moss shudder, but motor racing is not about what happens away from the race track. It is all about what happens on it.
And on the Tarmac is where Lewis is best of all. There have been suggestions that Lewis could now go on to become the greatest ever. He is, after all, only three titles short of Michael Schumacher’s benchmark.
That was once a number that people thought would be invincible. However, given the current Mercedes steamroller, it has been brought into sharp focus.
If Hamilton does get there, he will deserve it. And if he does, he can happily send himself away for as many mid-season breaks as he want: after all, he delivers on track, and that is all that matters.