Since the start of this era, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport have been dominant. One of their drivers has won each of the five driver championships that have been decided since that season began, and they are on pace to clinch their fifth consecutive constructor championship.
During this era, there has been only one driver who has been able to challenge five-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton for championships.
That driver was Nico Rosberg, who was Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes from when Hamilton arrived at the team ahead of the 2013 season through the 2016 season, after which Rosberg retired from Formula 1.
Hamilton won the 2014 and 2015 championships over Rosberg while Rosberg won the 2016 champion over Hamilton in a battle that came down to the wire. To this day, the 2016 championship battle is the only championship battle to be decided in a season finale since Sebastian Vettel clinched the championship over Fernando Alonso in the 2012 season finale.
What does this mean? It means that there are a lack of rivalries, especially among championship contenders, in Formula 1.
Fans may argue that Hamilton and Vettel, who has driven for Scuderia Ferrari since the 2015 season, have a rivalry, a term that is defined as “competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field”.
But if Hamilton vs. Vettel is what is considered a true rivalry in modern-day Formula 1, today’s fans should demand their money back.
For the second consecutive season, Hamilton clinched the championship over Vettel with two races remaining on the schedule. These two seasons, which resulted in Hamilton winning his fourth and fifth championships, both had their moments during which it looked as though the championship battles would come down to the season finales.
But neither one even came close to doing so.
Every time it has seemed as though Vettel and Ferrari have picked up momentum, Hamilton and Mercedes have shut it down and gained momentum of their own, momentum that has dwarfed the momentum earned by the 31-year-old German and the Italian team.
This was especially the case this season, as the number of mistakes made by Vettel so far in 2018 is uncountable on one hand.
It is no secret that Ferrari have made gains on Mercedes over the course of the last two seasons. In fact, Vettel has arguably had a faster car than Hamilton has in more races than not so far this year.
But unlike Vettel, Hamilton hasn’t made many mistakes, and he has taken advantage of far more opportunities than Vettel has. Simply put, Hamilton is a better driver than Vettel, and that has never been on display more so that it has been this season.
As a result, with both drivers driving competitive cars, Hamilton was able to build a sizable gap over Vettel in the driver standings to clinch his fourth championship in the last five seasons, a span during which Vettel has not been able to add to his championship total of four, and he did it with two races to spare on the 2018 schedule.
The bottom line is that Formula 1 needs a new rivalry, and Lewis Hamilton vs. Sebastian Vettel is far from being it.
Source: Beyond the Flag