Not the first time Lewis needed 5th for a title

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In the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton held a 7-poin t lead over Felipe Massa and the hometown hero was leading the race. A victory by Massa meant that Lewis needed to finish fifth in order to win his first world title.

Sebastian Vettel was stalking Lewis Hamilton and eventually passed him on lap 69 and this relegated Lewis to 6th which would have handed the 2008 title to Massa. Lewis needed 5th to win the world title and eventually accomplished that by passing Timo Glock, who’s Toyota was struggling on dry tires in wet conditions. Lewis won the title by a point and secured his very first world championship.

Eight years later and Lewis, once again, needs to finish fifth in this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix to win the title. While the pressure isn’t the same as it was in 2008, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel can’t win the title this weekend. In fact, he’ll need a spate of serious reliability trouble to somehow set up shop at Mercedes and offer a couple DNF’s in order to get the German back in the hunt.

Banking on unreliability in a team that just clinched their fourth constructor’s championship on the trot is not really a race strategy to be honest, it’s a hail Mary. After Free Practice 1, Mercedes seem to be on top of things as a resurgent Valtteri Bottas led the way.

FP1 times

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m17.824s 42
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.466s 35
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 0.571s 16
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 0.597s 28
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.762s 28
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1.184s 27
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1.416s 21
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1.522s 20
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1.619s 32
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.728s 19
11 Carlos Sainz Renault 1.730s 24
12 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1.948s 34
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 2.820s 16
14 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 3.147s 30
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Haas/Ferrari 3.445s 26
16 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 3.622s 28
17 Sean Gelael Toro Rosso/Renault 3.815s 29
18 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Renault 3.923s 10
19 Alfonso Celis Force India/Mercedes 4.518s 17
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda – 3

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Matt Royer

1 quibble with your math. The time elapsed since Lewis’ 2008 title till now is actually 9 years later, not 8.