In recent years, Lewis Hamilton’s signature move has been dominating in the second half of the season, stringing together a morale-crushing series of weekends that leave his rivals reeling. But as he stands poised to take his fifth crown following a run of four consecutive victories, the Mercedes star was at a loss to pinpoint one particular reason why he tended to be so strong in the denouement of a title race.
Every single year since he started winning titles with Mercedes in 2014, Hamilton has won at least three races on the bounce after the summer break to give himself a big chance going into the season end. It’s the Formula 1 equivalent of Muhammad Ali’s famous ‘rope-a-dope’ tactic that he used to defeat George Foreman in the 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ fight – and it’s worked for Hamilton three times out of four since 2014.
Hamilton currently finds himself in the box seat to repeat his five-race 2014 run of winning Italy, Singapore, Japan, Russia and the United States – a tally that will net him a fifth world title, should Sebastian Vettel finish third or lower at the Circuit of The Americas this weekend. So how does he keep doing it, year in, year out?
“I don't really have a massive explanation for it,” said Hamilton. “It's a combination of so many things. Naturally, as a driver… I notice I improve throughout the year. How you conduct yourself, how you perform within the team, how you're able to maximise within the car.