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Race-by-race: How Lewis Hamilton won the 2017 World Championship

Race-by-race: How Lewis Hamilton won the 2017 World Championship

29/10/2017 at 20:52Updated 29/10/2017 at 21:47

We reflect on how the Formula 1 driver's championship swung Lewis Hamilton’s way...

Lewis Hamilton clinched his fourth Formula 1 world championship title on Sunday, meaning he has won three out of the last four.

After being beset by engine problems and frustrated by team-mate and eventual world champion Nico Rosberg last season, Hamilton has benefited from his own luck in a dramatic title race.

Here we go through the title fight race by race as the momentum swung this way, then that...

Australia – March 26th

  • Sebastien Vettel 1st, Lewis Hamilton 2nd
  • Vettel 25 points, Hamilton 18 points

Hamilton started on pole but a poorly judged pit-stop allowed Vettel to sneak in and take control of the race. After Mercedes’ incredible dominance in 2016 this was an early sign that we had a title race on our hands. Ferrari surprised many with their early speed advantage on the Mercedes cars.

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - GP of Australia 2017

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - GP of Australia 2017Ferrari S.p.A.

China – April 9th

  • Hamilton 1st, Vettel 2nd
  • Hamilton 43 points, Vettel 43 points

The perfect response from Hamilton as he secured pole and led from start to finish. Vettel now had the bad luck/decisions in terms of pitting and he did really well to battle back from fifth to finish behind Hamilton.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates after winning the Chinese Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates after winning the Chinese Grand PrixReuters

Bahrain – April 16th

  • Vettel 1st, Hamilton 2nd
  • Vettel 68 points, Hamilton 61 points

Hamilton cost himself the race in Bahrain as Vettel came from third to take victory. Hamilton was given a five-second penalty for slowing and obstructing Daniel Ricciardo as they entered the pits. Vettel drove beautifully throughout and the minute Hamilton slipped up he capitalised and took control.

Vettel

Vettel Getty Images

Russia – April 30th

  • Vettel 2nd, Hamilton 4th
  • Vettel 86 points, Hamilton 73 points

Hamilton struggled with power and heating problems in Russia, allowing team-mate Valtteri Bottas home for his maiden F1 win. Vettel pushed hard but couldn’t beat the Finn.

Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia on April 30, 2017 in Sochi, Russia.

Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia on April 30, 2017 in Sochi, Russia.Getty Images

Spain – May 14th

  • Hamilton 1st, Vettel 2nd
  • Vettel 104 points, Hamilton 98 points

A thrilling battle between the pair was won by Hamilton after the two banged wheels. Hamilton fought back superbly at the end of the race to take victory.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates his win on the podium during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 14, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates his win on the podium during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 14, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain.Eurosport

Monaco – May 28th

  • Vettel 1st, Hamilton 7th
  • Vettel 129 points, Hamilton 104 points

The drama here came as Vettel won ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, a sign of driver preference from Ferrari - something they strongly denied. Hamilton struggled, starting from 13th, and had to watch as Ferrari pulled Raikkonen in early, allowing Vettel to pass and secure victory.

Race winner Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrates his win on the podium during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 28, 2017 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Race winner Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrates his win on the podium during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 28, 2017 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)Getty Images

Canada – June 11th

  • Hamilton 1st, Vettel 4th
  • Vettel 141 points, Hamilton 129 points

Hamilton led from pole and took home a Ferrari 1-2. Vettel suffered damage to his front wing after a clash with Max Verstappen and although the German passed Esteban Ocon, he could not catch Daniel Ricciardo in third.

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - GP of Canada 2017

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - GP of Canada 2017Getty Images

Azerbaijan – June 25th

  • Vettel 4th, Hamilton 5th
  • Vettel 153 points, Hamilton 139 points

Arguably the most dramatic race of the calendar as Vettel and Hamilton collided in the opening stages of the race. Vettel initially blamed Hamilton but quickly accepted he was at fault after the race when Hamilton called him “a disgrace.” Hamilton suffered a loose headrest and that cost him victory.

2017 Baku Vettel Hamilton

2017 Baku Vettel HamiltonEurosport

Austria – July 9th

  • Vettel 2nd, Hamilton 4th
  • Vettel 171 points, Hamilton 151 points

Again Hamilton struggled in qualifying and he paid the price in what was a fairly dull race that only really came to life when Vettel put pressure on race winner Bottas and Hamilton did the same to third-placed Ricciardo.

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - Grand Prix of Austria 2017

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - Grand Prix of Austria 2017Getty Images

Britain – July 16th

  • Hamilton 1st, Vettel 7th
  • Vettel 177 points, Hamilton 176 points

A huge, huge weekend for Hamilton. While he produced a brilliant race on home turf, Vettel suffered a tyre failure towards the end of the race and dropped into seventh.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 16, 2017 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 16, 2017 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)Getty Images

Hungary – July 30th

  • Vettel 1st, Hamilton 4th
  • Vettel 202 points, Hamilton 188 points

More team-mate drama as Raikkonen felt again that he could go faster than Vettel and take the lead but Ferrari wanted to use him as a buffer to Hamilton. The Mercedes man pushed hard to take the Ferraris but when it was clear he couldn’t he allowed Bottas to go back in front of him, honouring a promise made earlier in the season.

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - Grand Prix of Hungary 2017

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - Grand Prix of Hungary 2017Getty Images

Belgium – August 27th

  • Hamilton 1st, Vettel 2nd
  • Vettel 220 points, Hamilton 213 points

Hamilton led a very close race for the duration and held off well following late drama when a safety car came out, which led to a strong push from Vettel.

Winner Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 27, 2017

Winner Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 27, 2017Getty Images

Italy – September 3rd

  • Hamilton 1st, Vettel 3rd
  • Hamilton 238 points, Vettel 235 points

Having taken a record-breaking pole, Hamilton was in total control for this race and he took an outright lead in the championship for the first time. The momentum started to really shift with the Mercedes clearly faster than the Ferraris.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas (Monza 2017)

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas (Monza 2017)Getty Images

Singapore – September 17th

  • Hamilton 1st, Vettel DNF
  • Hamilton 263 points, Vettel 235 points

Hamilton started fifth but took charge when Vettel crashed into Raikkonen and Verstappen at the start. After a strong qualifying performance Vettel was looking to take back the lead in the championship. What transpired was the quite reverse.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Singapore GP

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Singapore GPEurosport

Malaysia – October 1st

  • Hamilton 2nd, Vettel 4th
  • Hamilton 281 points, Vettel 247 points

Verstappen dominated and deserved his win. Hamilton didn’t fight him too hard, knowing that it was more important for him to finish than to finish first. He did that and extended his lead despite a good recovery from Vettel to take fourth.

Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) - Grand Prix of Malaysia 2017

Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) - Grand Prix of Malaysia 2017Getty Images

Japan – October 8th

  • Hamilton 1st, Vettel DNF
  • Hamilton 306 points, Vettel 247 points

The race when the title seemed all-but secured. Hamilton rode home for a comfortable win after Vettel suffered more engine problems. Any chance Ferrari had of wrestling back some pride in the title race evaporated.

Formula One - Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Circuit, Japan- 9/10/16. Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain and Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands spray champagne during an awards ceremony at the race

Formula One - Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Circuit, Japan- 9/10/16. Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain and Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands spray champagne during an awards ceremony at the raceReuters

USA – October 22nd

  • Hamilton 1st, Vettel 2nd
  • Hamilton 331 points, Vettel 265 points

Hamilton could have won had Vettel finished lower than fifth, but the German stayed on his rival’s coat-tails to finish second. It didn’t bother Hamilton, who knew the title was virtually his.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes GP Austin

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes GP AustinEurosport

Mexico – October 29th

A dramatic start saw both Vettel and Hamilton suffer problems as the former collided with Verstappen and Hamilton suffering a puncture. Hamilton struggled with his engine and was lapped for the first time since Barcelona 2013. Nevertheless Vettel couldn’t beat Verstappen and Hamilton secured his title in bizarre circumstances.

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