Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lewis faces nerve-racking title showdown




Lewis faces nerve-racking title showdown

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Lewis faces nerve-racking title showdown

Lewis Hamilton faces a nerve-racking scrap in Mexico’s power-sapping altitude this weekend before completing the apparent formality of claiming his fifth Formula One world title.

Just a week after a bruising defeat in Texas, where a resurgent Ferrari out-performed them at the United States Grand Prix, Hamilton and Mercedes have licked their wounds in readiness for an even more challenging contest.

“We have a battle on our hands,” admitted Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. “But it provides us with an opportunity to learn and come back stronger.”

That view is shared by 33-year-old Briton Hamilton, and the entire Mercedes team, as they seek to recover enough lost performance to retain both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

“We will have to keep pushing to win both [team and driver’s] titles,” said Wolff. “The United States Grand Prix confirmed what we said before the race – this year’s championship fight is far from over.”

Given that Hamilton has won six of the last eight races and has a 70-point lead over fellow four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari with three races remaining, it outcome may look inevitable. Mercedes lead Ferrari by 66 in the teams’ title race.

On paper, Hamilton requires only five points to draw level with the legendary five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio in the record books with five world championships, leaving only Michael Schumacher, on seven, to catch.

For Mercedes to seal a fifth consecutive team title, they must outscore Ferrari by 20 – a more difficult task that will be complicated by the likely speed and belligerence of the Red Bull team.

Max Verstappen won last year’s race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, where the thin air at 2,200 metres above sea level reduces engine effectiveness and places a greater premium on a car’s aerodynamic performance.

His Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, so angry last weekend that he punched a hole in a wall after being forced into retirement, will be determined to secure a final victory before he leaves the team for Renault next season.

All this suggests a fierce battle lies ahead with Vettel, who had the speed to win last weekend, and has no choice but to attack. He can only keep his title dream alive by winning all three final races while Hamilton fails to score five points.

The Englishman, however, knows he can cruise to finish seventh and take the title whatever else happens around him.

Last year, he took his fourth title by finishing ninth after being lapped by Verstappen.

“Our guys will do great analysis and then we’ll come back stronger,” he said after Sunday’s demise in Austin.

He will be aware, also, that his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, without a win this year, can hand him the title if he is victorious.

Red Bull, however, will not be easy to beat.

As always, a passionate atmosphere will be generated by a Mexican crowd backing home hero Sergio Perez, of Force India, as they chase down McLaren for sixth place in the championship.

MOST VIEWED

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last