On October 25, 2015, on a normal day for most of us leading a lazy Sunday, one young man fought his way to a seasoned triumph through some extremely moody Texan weather.
Lewis Hamilton, at the end of the 56th lap under the unusually unpleasant weather of Wandering Creek at Austin at Texas, drove past the checkered flag to win the US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. The reason for his big smile was obvious and its lasting impact on the young Briton a special one.
In winning his third drivers’ championship at the United States and collecting his 10th victory of the year, a visibly emotional Hamilton may perhaps have been the happiest man on planet Earth.
To many he is the best driver out there as far as his 2015 record goes and for team Mercedes AMG Petronas, their best bet over Nico Rosberg. After all, even if he didn't defy odds by winning the driver's title yet again, since they were always stacked in his favour given his shining form, Hamilton made a special entry into a gateway of all time driving legends from Great Britain who secured multiple World Championships.
This pantheon of British racing greats includes James Hunt, Damon Hill, Sir Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, John Surtees, Mike Hawthorn, Nigel Mansell, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
But the coveted list of 10 heroic men includes only two men who have clinched the World Championship three times, standing at par with the legendary Ayrton Senna. After Sir Jackie Stewart, Hamilton is that driver. And it is this special feat above all his other F1 achievements that makes him the driver he is – intense, competitive and extremely driven to win and collect points on every possible occasion.
Ruling the F1 roost
It seems in Hamilton, Formula One has revived its lost mojo for finding the meat of global headlines. But while Hamilton can be regarded extensively for giving F1 one of its utterly dominating stints in the world of motorsports ever since he led and held the 2014 championship season on his own shoulders and made light work of the 2015 season, his own triumphs speak of an incessant desire to win, which isn't an everyday occurrence in today's Formula One grind.
It augurs well for the craft of a driver who thinks he can attain the maximum if luck fancies him in harmony of his own talent. But there is something else about Lewis' triumph that makes his championship wins, now twice in succession including 2014 and third in overall tally, special.
The way he has dominated race after race ever since the competitive and nearly identically quick Rosberg visibly lost the urgency to win, especially after his triumph at Austria despite still continuing to set pole position times till as last as the previous race, Hamilton has emerged in a fashion akin to the rise of the Iron Man.
But this is not fiction where metal and explosives translate into blazing superlatives that fetch glory for the winner. This is Formula One, where reality prevails over fictitious or farcical thinking of drivers who for all practical reasons are as good as their last race. And truth be told, Hamilton has continued to succeed race after race and made winning look remarkably easy.
When talking of the Briton's prominence, one should focus on his ease at winning accompanied by the spectator's yawning given the fact that there haven't been many who have managed to change the outcome of races left untouched by Hamilton standing on top save that of Vettel at Malaysia, Hungary and Singapore.
A terrific F1 record
With 43 race wins from 164 races, having recorded 49 pole positions and bagging a tremendous 84 podium finishes, Hamilton's F1 record boasts of scintillating stuff that one expects from one of the best drivers on the grid.
Having lived up to his potential showing a distinct edge both on the race track and in his mental downsizing of his rivals, in particular Rosberg his current teammate who at present is a popular centre-point of jokes reigning on social media, perhaps in a nasty rebuke that Hamilton fans have unleashed on Merc's number 2 driver, there cannot be anything else that Hamilton would want at the moment.
Collecting 10 commanding race wins this year with some of the best at Spa-Francorchamps, Bahrain, Monza, Japan (where he equaled the record of maximum race wins with his racing idol, Senna), Russsia (where his Czarist dominance took the better of his adversaries) and the latest feather in his cap that earned him the Championship crown for the 3rd time under Austin's rain-soaked track, Hamilton is Formula One's iron fisted leader on the race track.
He has loomed large on Formula One's grand stands that crave for a central figure who can inspire awe and give people the ultimate racing feast they expect from a World Champion.
To say that he trumped opponents with thumping margins will be irrationally succumbing to the pleasures that statistical exuberance polishes on the memory of fans who love math. But in all earnestness, he has created a reign – and a silvery one at that, in the glitzy racing fest called Formula One that perhaps so desperately craved for one ever since the Sebastian Vettel powered Red Bull era came to an end with the 2013 season.
But is he among the pantheon of the ‘Greatest of all Time’?