Mercedes had the best car for each of the last four seasons, allowing them to dominate Formula 1 - but that was not the case for much of 2018. Despite that, as the Silver Arrows' Team Principal Toto Wolff puts it, Lewis Hamilton upped his game this year to counter that. “He has been the differentiator,” he added. The result was a richly-deserved fifth world championship that was arguably his best…
Take a look at the statistics and it’s clear why Hamilton triumphed this year. He has won nine races – at many of which he did not have the fastest car for that track – compared to chief rival Sebastian Vettel’s five. He also took nine pole positions, Ferrari’s Vettel only managed five.
In the last five races, Hamilton has amassed 102 points, with Vettel scoring just 68 – a deficit of 34. Like last year, Ferrari and Vettel’s title challenge came off the rails in the second-half of the season, while Hamilton and Mercedes looked glued to the track.
And he compares very favourably to team mate Valtteri Bottas who has the same machinery, scoring 131 points – the equivalent of just over five race victories – more than the Finn, who has failed to win a race but was asked to move over from the lead in Russia to aid Hamilton’s title hopes, given his own were all but over.
"This is the best Lewis Hamilton I have seen in the last six years," said Wolff. "He has driven better, he has been better out of the car. Very, very complete.
“[His biggest strength is] keeping his calm and holding his nerve. We had times when the car was good enough to win and times when the car was not good enough to win. But he was very stable.”