FROM AUSTRALIA TO ABU DHABI, HERE’S HOW LEWIS HAMILTON WON THE 2018 F1 DRIVERS’ TITLE
If 2017 had been a teaser, 2018 was very nearly the real thing: an allout fight between Mercedes and Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. After so many years of domination in the turbo-hybrid formula, Mercedes had serious competition from Ferrari, and predictability was the casualty. All through the season it was simply not possible to say who was going to win heading into each of the 21 races.
Mercedes should have won in Australia, but the timing of a safety car deployment caught them on the hop and handed the victory to Vettel, who then won again in Bahrain. Both successes endorsed the view from pre-season testing that the Ferrari were slightly faster.
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas got more from his Mercedes in the next two races, but lost in China thanks to some excellent strategic reaction by Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo’s brilliant opportunism. The unthinkable had happened: after three races Mercedes had yet to win, and Red Bull, with their less potent Renault power unit, had.
Hamilton finally bagged one at the fourth attempt, when fortunate circumstances in Azerbaijan saw Vettel make his first error of the year and Bottas robbed at the 11th hour by a puncture. He was late for his victory press conference after going to the team hospitality to console his teammate.
The Englishman then finally found the sweet spot of the Mercedes W09 EQ Power+ to dominate the Spanish GP, before Ricciardo won again in Monaco even though his Red Bull RB14’S ERS