We very rarely delve into the world of Formula 1 on these pages as it is a notoriously difficult sport to make betting money on – even if it remains one of the most predictable pursuits around. It’s predictable for a couple of standout reasons: the domination of the Mercedes team, and the brilliance of their main driver Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton is a curious chap, and one that the Great British public has never quite taken to as a result. But one thing that cannot be questioned is his excellence behind the steering wheel.
Such ability has led him to the brink of a historic fourth F1 drivers’ Championship, and he can claim the crown with three races to spare if certain variables go his way at the US Grand Prix in Texas this weekend.
The Brit will take the honours if he wins in Texas and his closest challenger, Sebastian Vettel, finishes no better than sixth. Hamilton can even win the title if he finishes second on race-day, assuming Vettel finishes ninth or lower and Valtteri Bottas, his Mercedes teammate, does not go on and take first place.
So there are various machinations to consider this weekend, but the bottom line is that Hamilton is closing in on yet more F1 domination.
The Texan track is known as the ‘Circuit of the Americas’, and it has been a mainstay of the F1 season since 2012. Lewis Hamilton certainly enjoys his time here, winning four of the last five, and so all of the fingers point to yet more Mercedes monopoly on Sunday.
Maybe one of the reasons that he performs so well here is that, visually at least, the circuit offers similarities to Silverstone. It features a number of blind corners and yet offers a number of run-off areas and takeover zones, and with high speed direction and elevation changes it’s no wonder that the US Grand Prix has become a firm favourite with the fair weather F1 fan.
The American theme is one that has followed Hamilton for the latter stages of his career. He moved to the US to be with his former partner Nicole Scherzinger, and spending time in the country clearly had an effect on him: he could become the first driver in history to win six US Grand Prix races – one ahead of the unstoppable Michael Schumacher.
Is the End Nigh?
That would be a stunning way for Lewis Hamilton to sign off on his F1 career if the rumours of his retirement are true. Former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg amazingly walked away from the sport last year at a relatively young age, and Hamilton admits his own motivations have changed in recent years.
This season’s ding-dong battle with Vettel has re-lit the fire, but you wonder how may years of top level driving the Brit has left in the tank.
“There’s been talks about it [retirement] and I definitely have thought about it and there’s been times when I’ve thought there’s other things I want to do, but then we’re in the heat of this battle right now and I’m loving it more than ever,” he said.
“The training, all the work that you put into something, and then you get to really show your abilities. It’s the greatest feeling ever so I’m going to keep going for as long as I can and see what I can do.”
So the curtain may or may not be able to fall on an illustrious career, and while he’s keeping his cards close to his chest you can rest assured that Hamilton will want to bow out with victory on his adopted US soil.
Given his dominance in this race, and the problems facing Ferrari who have had to retire Vettel from the last two races, Hamilton’s odds of 9/10 to win the US Grand Prix this weekend are extraordinary.