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Memorable F1 title comebacks serve as cautionary tales for Hamilton

186   //    09 Oct 2017, 22:41 IST
HamiltonVettelProst - Cropped
Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost

Victory at Suzuka gave Lewis Hamilton a 59-point lead over Sebastian Vettel in the Formula One drivers' standings.

After missing out to then-Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg last year, the Briton can claim a fourth world championship in the United States next time out.

It seems unlikely that Hamilton will let his advantage slip, particularly after his bid for a first title in his rookie season of 2007 fell apart and saw Kimi Raikkonen take glory.

Hamilton held a 12-point lead over Fernando Alonso with Raikkonen a further five back coming into the penultimate race in China, but famously overshot a turn in the pit lane and was forced to retire with his McLaren stuck in the gravel.

A gearbox issue in the finale at Interlagos forced Hamilton to change to a three-stop strategy and by finishing seventh as Raikkonen made it back-to-back wins, it was the Finn who took the crown by a solitary point.


Here, we take a look at some of the other great comebacks in F1.


Sebastian Vettel - 2010

The German is no stranger to having to overturn a hefty disadvantage.

In claiming his first world title while at Red Bull, Vettel wiped out a 31-point deficit to the top of the leaderboard to win the championship by just four points.

Hamilton led the way after triumphing at the Belgian Grand Prix, where Vettel came 15th after spinning into Jenson Button and being forced into the pits.

After missing out on the top three at Monza, the Red Bull driver was on the podium in four of the last five races to pip Alonso to glory.

Alonso led the way into the Abu Dhabi finale, but his seventh-place finish and eighth for Mark Webber saw Vettel take a win which completed a remarkable comeback.


Alain Prost - 1986

After being disqualified from the Italian Grand Prix for starting from the spare car and finishing behind championship leader Nigel Mansell in Portugal, McLaren driver Prost found himself 11 points adrift of the Williams man.

However, an unwell Mansell paid the price for a slow start in Mexico as he finished fifth, with Prost taking second and Nelson Piquet fourth to set up a three-way fight for the title in Australia.

Again, the Briton suffered a sluggish getaway but his hopes of winning the championship evaporated when a tyre blew out with 19 minutes remaining.

Prost held off a late charge from Piquet in the closing stages to win by just over four seconds and finish top of the pile for the second year running.


Nelson Piquet - 1983

Prost's dramatic victory will surely have helped him put a disappointing collapse three years prior behind him.

A suspension issue at the Dutch Grand Prix resulted in his championship lead being cut to eight points by Rene Arnoux, with Piquet a further six behind alongside Patrick Tambay.

Prost suffered a second successive retirement in Italy next time out, with Brabham driver Piquet pipping Arnoux before making it back-to-back wins at the European Grand Prix.

Prost finished second to the Brazilian at Brands Hatch but again failed to finish the season-ending South African Grand Prix, and third for Piquet proved enough for him to regain the title he had first won two years prior.


Emerson Fittipaldi - 1974

McLaren driver Fittipaldi was nine points off pacesetter Clay Regazzoni with three races left, but he finished highest of the four title candidates at Monza to improve his challenge.

Fortune favoured the Brazilian in Canada as Niki Lauda crashed out and Jacque Laffite sustained a puncture to give him the victory and bring him level with Regazzoni – who finished 13 seconds back – at the top of the standings.

The Swiss was dogged by mechanical issues in a highly tactical showdown in the United States and Fittipaldi guided his McLaren to fourth to clinch his second championship victory in three years.

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