[F1 2017 NEWS] LEWIS HAMILTON: ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Lewis Hamilton reached new heights this year. The now 4-time Formula 1 World Champion was in sublime form – confident from the outset, no longer troubled by his former teammate Nico Rosberg, who went to war with the Brit to secure his maiden crown.

But, while new teammate, Valtteri Bottas, sought to do the same in a less political manner, Hamilton faced an even tougher fight for his fourth world title, from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel took three wins from the first six races, Hamilton three from the first seven, a win in England closing the gap to 1-point. Vettel won in Hungary – but Hamilton came back with 3-straight, handing him the lead after Italy.

And it was a lead he never lost, after Vettel’s startline smash in Singapore – and Ferrari’s reliability issues in Malaysia and Japan. Hamilton emerging the world champion’s champion, turning a 25-point deficit after Monaco into a 46-point lead after Abu Dhabi.

SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
"Today is really, for us all to celebrate and all to feel incredibly proud because what we've achieved together is, insane.”

It’s a feat that not only makes Hamilton the most successful British driver of all time, but has given him inner peace with his legacy assured.

SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“I've just come from this great period of time with my family and friends that I have this huge wave of positive energy and nothing can really dent that.”

He also re-wrote the history books on pole positions, and front row starts – both all-time records once held by Michael Schumacher. The seven-time World Champion the gold standard by which to be measured.

.... especially on the number of titles – with only Juan Manuel Fangio and Schumacher still ahead of Hamilton. And while it was previously thought out of reach, it’s a target he’s now re-considering.

SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
"I've never really had the dream to chase Michael [Schumacher] or chase other people titles, I think now it's complete I think that's one chapter closed and now is how I want to rewrite the future, how I want to write the future, really I guess, how I want to write this next chapter."

Regardless of whether he extends with Mercedes until 2021 on a 3-year $160 million US dollar contract – he’s already established as the sport’s major star, putting the grand into Grand Prix.

...equally at home on the racing line or the red carpet.

SOUNDBITE (English) CHRISTIAN HORNER,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, RED BULL RACING:
"I think he's a superstar, globally, he brings another audience to Formula 1, he's a marmite character, some people love him, some people hate him, he's his own personality, he's got his own way about him, and he's absolutely entitled to do that, I think it's great to have characters in the sport, and he is one of the sporting greats.”

Successful, ruthlessly quick and a racer through-and-through. The rest of the field will have it all to do to beat Hamilton in 2018.