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MEXICAN GRAND PRIX: CAN HAMILTON CLINCH THE TITLE ON SUNDAY?

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We are just races into the 2019 formula one season and we could crown a Champion as the formula comes to a head this Sunday as Hamilton goes into the Mexican Grand Prix in search of his third Formula One Championship title in a row and his sixth overall Formula One winners title. He will also become just the second driver after Michael Schumacher to win as many as six titles in Formula One history. The task ahead is not that simple though even though he does not have to necessarily win the Mexican Grand Prix this Sunday to be crowned this season’s champion. To secure the title, he has to outscore his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by 14 points. With this added pressure, this Sunday’s Grand Prix could shape up to be the biggest, highly anticipated and an event-packed Formula One race event so far this season.

Hamilton and the others

Hamilton heads into Sunday’s race on top of the Driver standings with 338 points, 64 points ahead of Bottas who sits in second place with 274 points. Hamilton has racked up 9 Grand Prix victories (Bahrain, China, Spain, Monaco, Canada, France, Britain, Hungary and Russia) so far this season despite finishing second place behind Bottas in the opening race of this year’s Formula One calendar in Australia. He has also 1009 out of 1009 laps and has led 398 of them.

Sunday could also potentially be the third time in a row Lewis Hamilton has wrapped up the title in Mexico.  When asked earlier this week if he will repeat this feat again this weekend, He highlighted the challenge his teammate Bottas has given him this season and slightly cast doubts over he securing the title this weekend. However, he was optimistic about his chances of winning the title even it does not happen in Mexico.

To do so, he must be at his absolute best from now to the final race of the season as current form proves otherwise. Hamilton has been on a rough patch recently as he is currently on pole-less run of six races for the first time since 2015, when he went on a seven-race pole-less drought. The Mercedes driver last took pole at the chaotic German Grand Prix, where he ended up finishing ninth. Since then, Max Verstappen took his maiden pole in Hungary before Ferrari dominated qualifying from Belgium to Japan with Charles Leclerc taking four of their five pole positions since the summer break.

The race is not easy

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race, Hamilton stressed out that he was not confident of ending his winless run this weekend and may continue beyond the United States Grand Prix on November 3. He reiterated that Ferrari has the advantage after their recent triple victories in the last five Grand Prix with Leclerc and Vettel responsible for those victories. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is also in search of his third Mexican Grand Prix victory in a row and is also a huge favorite for victory on Sunday.

He is also winless in Mexico for 3 years now (His last win in Mexico coming way back in 2016). As a result, he is one of the least favorites excepted to win this weekend’s event. Rivals Ferrari have been touted as favorites this weekend based on current form after recording 3 wins from the last 5 races with Mercedes winning 2 (Russia and Japan). The challenge for Ferrari is that no Ferrari driver has won in Mexico since Alain Prost. This will present Hamilton with a little glimmer of hope for a victory on Sunday.

Is it possible?

To defy all odds in Mexico, Mercedes must first claim pole position as history suggests pole position winners have won the Mexican Grand Prix at the Hermanos Rodriguez’s circuit since 1990 when then Ferrari driver ‘Professor’ Alain Prost (The last person to win the Mexican Grand Prix without being in the first position) won from the 13th position. Victory for Mercedes will also secure them their 100th Grand Prix win.

Pressure may be mounting on Hamilton’s shoulders to clinch the title on Sunday but it comes with the task of becoming a champion in one of the intense and difficult sport in the world but the prospect of clinching the title without actually winning the race itself will help ease the pressure on him. It will be intriguing to see what unfolds on Sunday. Until then, Hamilton and Mercedes will be shifting their attention to Practice and qualifying ahead of Sunday’s race.

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