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

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Kingdom, UN discuss rights

    A year after Cambodia received 198 recommendations from UN member countries, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR-Cambodia) met with the Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) to discuss following-up on the Kingdom’s third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and