With three races to go in the 2017 Formula One race season, the fight for the championship is on between Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Currently, Hamilton has 306 points in the Drivers’ Championship, a 59 point lead over Vettel. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport is also in the lead of the Constructors’ Championship, with 540 points, 145 points over Ferrari.
As a team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport has has a remarkable season. Between Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, the team has won 10 Grand Prix: China, Russia, Spain, Canada, Austria, UK, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, and Japan. Additionally, Hamilton has broken records in all aspects of the race.
To kick off the season, Hamilton took home his 54th career win in China while leading every lap and set the fastest lap to give him his third Grand Slam (pole, win, fastest lap, and led every lap). Additionally, he equalled F1 driver Jim Clark’s career record of 11 “hat tricks”—races won from pole while setting the fastest lap. During the qualifiers at the Belgian Grand Prix, Hamilton scored his 68th pole, setting the fastest lap ever at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Belgium marked Hamilton’s 200th race and claimed his fifth win of the season. At the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton secured his 69th pole position, surpassing Michael Schumacher for the all-time most pole positions. He won the race, his sixth of the season, taking the lead in the Drivers’ Championship with three points over Vettel. At the Malaysian Grand Prix, he set a new record, attaining his 70th pole position. Most recently at the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton took home his first pole in Suzuka and broke the track record held by Schumacher by 1.6 seconds.
The 2017 season marked Bottas’ first with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, replacing Nico Rosberg. Bottas took home first in Russia, his first ever Grand Prix win. At the Bahrain Grand Prix, Bottas took his first career pole position. He took his second win of the season at the Austrian Grand Prix, after taking pole. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Bottas started ahead of Hamilton and stayed for the duration of the race, but swapped positions with Hamilton so he could try to overtake the Ferraris. Unable to do so, Hamilton relinquished the position back to Bottas, allowing him to come out ahead of Hamilton and place on the podium.
The upcoming Austin Grand Prix is taking place in our own backyard. Not only is it the only race in the United States, but draws the largest crowd of any F1 race with 96.1 million viewers in 2016. This makes up 6.4% of F1’s 1.5 billion viewers throughout the season.
The upcoming Prix is the earliest opportunity for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team and Hamilton to be crowned this year’s champions in both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships respectively. Hamilton just needs to score 16 more points than Vettel in the race or a win with Vettel finishing below fifth in order to secure the Drivers’ Championship win. This win would be Hamilton’s fourth championship, the most successful British F1 driver of all time.
Can the Silver Arrows clinch another Grand Prix victory? Will Hamilton come out on top of Vettel to win his fourth championship? We’ll find out in Austin.