Post Race: Lewis Hamilton took off his helmet and knelt down at the green room table to take it all. All of it; the late stage fumble by teammate Nico Rosberg that allowed him to take the lead with only a handful of laps remaining, the radio transmission where he stated ‘this,’ winning his third individual drivers championship, was the greatest moment of his life, and finally the congratulatory hug from Nico.
Hamilton was excited and wanted to get out on the podium. “Can we go now, Can we go now?”
So he grabbed his embroidered Pirelli hat, the one with ‘1st’ stitched on the side and threw Nico his second place hat.
Nico threw it back in his face.
They headed out for celebratory podium.
Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Paddy Lowe (Mercedes Technical Director)
Hamilton had just clinched the driver’s championship, Mercedes had just clinched the constructor’s cup and Vettel looked like a four time champion over performing in an inferior car. Everybody was happy on the podium, except Nico.
Hamilton has three championships now and we all know who that puts him equal to; he is rarified air now and should be celebrated. But the podium in Austin may say more about the future than the past.
- Hamilton will continue to get the better of Rosberg. He has beaten him that last two seasons with basically the same car.
- Vettel will continue to beat an aging Raikkonen. There is no doubt that this season showed that Vettel still has the tools that brought him four championships at Red Bull. He performed far better than his teammate throughout the season and even jumped in between the Mercedes cars in the drivers championship.
- Vettel will challenge Hamilton next year. Hopefully! This is a hopefully as it is somewhat dependent on weather Ferrari can close the gap with Mercedes. But if ’13/14′ to 14’/15′ is any indication, they will. This is the battle everyone wants to see, including Bernie Eccelstone, so don’t expect big changes in the offseason that would potentially upset that and lead to more single team dominance whoever that team may be. We all like a good race and a three time versus four time race would be pretty damn good. Let’s hope it materializes.
There is still some good racing left in this season, but if the podium at Austin has anything to say next year will be tremendous.