Hamilton says his “strongest year” reminds him of 2007 debut

2017 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says his fourth world championship victory was his strongest year yet and compared it to his debut season 10 years ago.

The Mercedes driver told the New York Times his 2017 campaign “has definitely been my strongest year of driving” after winning the title with two races to spare.

Hamilton won his fourth world title this year
Hamilton compared his championship year to his first season in 2007. Driving for McLaren, Hamilton finished on the podium in all of his first nine races, a record which no other driver has matched.

“I remember back in my debut season of 2007, I had this driving strength across the first nine races when I was so consistent,” said Hamilton. “I’ve had that again this year, but backed by so much more experience, so much more skill and finesse than I had back then, and obviously with the strategic mind to be able to navigate my way through the year.”

“It’s definitely been an enjoyable one,” he added.

Hamilton took the lead of the drivers’ championship four races into his F1 career and was still leading the points table going into the last round. However a disastrous final two races of the year saw Kimi Raikkonen snatch the title from him.

Following the last race of this year in Abu Dhabi Hamilton admitted he hadn’t performed at as high a level after he clinched the title.

“I think this year I’ve tried my hardest to stay more on it but I was doing other things, celebrating a lot. I think I still drove relatively well but yeah, I wouldn’t say it was a hundred percent like it was whilst in the season.”

“What can I say? When you’ve won you win, doesn’t matter with two races to go at the end, you’ve got to enjoy it so I do and try and still turn up and do the job. It’s just not so easy.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “Hamilton says his “strongest year” reminds him of 2007 debut”

  1. Politics and McLaren incompetence cost him the title in 2007. So glad he left that dying dog when he did.

    1. 2007 was one of the last enjoyable seasons for the neutral though.

      Dying dog?
      Who but Ron and McLaren have paired drivers likely to cause fireworks? Ferrari and Mercedes both admitted this year they can’t handle it, with both also completely bottling the chance to sign Alonso like Ron would have done.

      McLaren gave us the best and some of the most intriguing team mate battles: (although i admit number 1 driver policy does usually get the job done)

      Senna v Prost, Hakinnen v Coulthard, Montoya v Raikonnen, Alonso v Hamilton, Hamilton v Button, Alonso v Button, then put the most thought of rookie with Alonso again.

      Fans enjoying Lewis’ dominance hints at everything that’s wrong with the sport.

      1. To be fair ferrari tried to give us Schumacher v Raikkonen but Michael got the hump taking Brawn with him.
        And did gives us Alonso v Raikkonen

        1. Raikkonen was already a has been from 2008 onwards.

      2. Nah. Mclaren sabotaged themselves and Lewis in 2010 by getting rid of KERS. 2012 they insulted Lewis after costing him at least 4 wins with horrible reliability. They pinned their future to Button and the results speak for themselves.

    2. Two things that cost Hamilton the title, not pitting earlier in China (or driving more carefully into the pits) and the weird problem he had at the start of the race in Brazil where he was without gears / drive.

      1. Or was Brazil 2008?

        1. 2007 2008 there were a few things that cost 2-3 drivers the title

          2008 Massa had that fuel rig catastrophy and would have also won it without the Symonds safety car at Singapore.

          1. Hamilton ran into Kimi in the pits at Canada. This is sport. Stuff happens, if you are lucky it falls your way. In 2008 the Ferrari and McLaren were very similar performance wise. The points table at the end said Hamilton was number 1.

          2. Don’t forget Massa’s elevation to 1st at Spa. That gained him a few points he wasn’t really entitled to.

          3. Michael Brown (@)
            6th December 2017, 22:06

            Also, Massa’s engine failure in the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix.

        2. Nope it was 2007, just checked.

          1. He got out-psyched at the start, though, when Raikkonen and Massa boxed him in. Today he’d probably settle into third and win the championship from there or try to pass them later. But he over-drove, went off and maybe picked up a problem that messed up the gearbox a few laps later. I could imagine Max doing similar last year, but this year he’d probably play cautious. Shows what a bit of experience can do.

  2. 2007 his best year besides this year? Nah. 2015 and 2012 were his bests besides obviously this year.

  3. In 2007 he ‘beat Alonso’ so that was obviously his best year.

    1. And 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017…

      1. The argument was obviously that they had the same car.
        Although Alonso did beat Lewis using an inferior car in 2010 which is more impressive that Lewis and Nico dominating everyone by up to 2 seconds a lap, with Alonso’s car even worse off

        1. LOL at Alonso’s car being inferior in 2010!

          1. McLaren had the same wins as ferrari with significantly more podiums,.

            In fact, double the 2nd places of Ferrari LOL

            Ferrari finished 3rd in championship LOL!

  4. God! – I love that car

  5. Lewis was indeed very consistant in 2007 (first 9 races 9 podiums-2 wins) and very quick in qualifying.
    His consistancy did include being beaten by Massa a lot though, which I like to remind people who write Massa off as a Ferrari lapdog ‘his whole career’

    Masss beat Lewis in almost half the races with only one less win
    Races 3, 4 (wins) 8, 10, 12(win) 14, 16, 17

    1. 2007 was a great year for Massa, with Alonso consistently being beaten by him as well in almost half the races (or just over a third depending on how you like to tell the story!).

      It’s a shame that Felipe never quite found the same form post-accident although it’s remarkable that he made the comeback he did and drove for so many years. Not sure Williams will be any better off in 2018 with which driver they choose.

      1. Not sure what point either of you are trying to make to be honest… Massa did reasonably well, but comparisons to the McLaren drivers on a race-by-race basis are neither here nor there as they were in totally different cars. The only real comparison you can make for Massa in 2007 is Raikkonen who beat Massa by 16 points (roughly 40 points in today’s money) and finished ahead of him in 9 out of 13 races in which both finished.

        1. @ben-n My post was a playful modification of the OP’s (if you look at the common themes in their posting history), I agree with you!

          1. My first post here was :

            “2007 was one of the last enjoyable seasons for the neutral though.”

            So you’ve all been playing with the ‘theme’ but failed to miss the point of having reasonably equal drivers in two teams all taking wins off each other was exciting.
            Next time I’ll work harder to make better comparisons in order to belittle or big-up an individual driver, true F1 fan style.

  6. I believe Lewis performs his best in those years where he would have been in possession of car no. 2 (as per the old car numbering formula). That would mean years of 2007, 2010 and 2017. Those 3 have indeed been the best years of Lewis, no doubt.

    1. Doesn’t work for 2010, he certainly didn’t have a team (mclaren) who won the past championship but he didn’t, mclaren was a disaster in 2009.

      1. He was partnered with Button, the reigning champion, in 2010 hence the number 2. Though I don’t think 2010 was his best year by any means, he bottled it when he was leading the championship in Monza and Singapore. For me his 3 standout years are 2007, 2012 and 2017, with honourable mentions going to 2008, 2014 and 2015.

  7. I don’t believe we have yet seen Hamilton show us what he is capable of tbh.

    2015 he almost did but then went to sleep after the USA. Before that he was imperious and that would surely have been his best season had he maintained that level to the end.

    2017 he had a couple of pretty dud quallys at the start of the year and a lacklustre finish.

    I believe the perfect year for Lewis, talent wise (not reliability wise, he pretty much ticked that this year) is still to come.

    1. IMO Vettel in 2011 and 2013, as well as Alonso in 2006 all had better WDC campaigns than Hamilton has ever had.

      1. Absolutely, alonso was almost flawless in 2006, don’t remember much about vettel as I stopped following f1 for a few years after schumacher retired.

      2. kudos in F1 relies a lot on today’s hype and driver of the moment.

        Lots of egos are trying to sound like experts and the easiest way of doing that is just big-up or back the driver of the moment and go with the flow.
        The same with the media are just keeping themselves in jobs by keeping the hype up.
        There is also an increasing amount of new jobs as more journos, ex-drivers etc all come in and have their say for the $$$ yet they all say the same thing.
        Now we have Lewis believing his own hype. Good on him let him enjoy it.

        Seems almost like a dream that Vettel was being spoken of by all of the above in the same sentence as Fangio for several years. Nothing much about Lewis and now today the complete opposite.

        I would love more comparisons to be made to Mansell, but he’s a nobody with only 1 title. Give him those 2 titles he cruelly missed out on and he’d be talked about, yet still the same driver.

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