TURN 1, SUZUKA AND AUSTIN
Our final key moment is a double: Japan, Turn 1; Austin, Turn 1. They were identical in their execution – and in their effect.
Lewis made quick starts to both races from the dirty (P2) side of the road, and on both occasions found himself on the inside of Nico as the first corner approached. As sophisticated as F1 can be, there are still moments when inalienable truths come to bite. To wit: no one is going to turn until Lewis Hamilton decides to turn.
On the Mercedes pitwall, and in the garage, they gasped. Lewis perfectly controlled the corners, braking late (but not too late), turning in wide (but not too wide) and exiting expansively (but not too expansively). Nico, unwilling to concede until the track width dictated no other alternative, inevitably ran uncomfortably over the kerbs, losing yet more track position – and momentum.
In Japan, Lewis powered away to another decisive win. In Austin, troubled by understeer and flick-oversteer on the intermediate tyres, Lewis conceded the lead first to Daniel Ricciardo and then to Nico. Then Daniel faded, Nico caught an edge… and Lewis won his tenth race of the season (and the 2015 championship). Those moves will live long after the 2015 season is over: they’ll stay with Nico Rosberg over the winter – and they’ll be within his psyche as they line up again in 2016. What happened in Japan and Austin defined Lewis Hamilton also as the racer of 2015. SUZUKA TURN 1 AUSTIN TURN 1 TRIPLE CHAMP