Stevenage's Lewis Hamilton on the brink of fifth Formula One world championship title

PUBLISHED: 07:10 19 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:01 19 October 2018

Lewis Hamilton claimed his 80th Formula One pole position after qualifying fastest for the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Picture: Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton claimed his 80th Formula One pole position after qualifying fastest for the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Picture: Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton stands to become only the third F1 driver in history to win five world championships.

The 33-year-old, who was born and bred in Stevenage, won his fourth world championship title last year, eclipsing Sir Jackie Stewart’s record to become Britain’s most successful Formula 1 driver ever.

After winning the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago, Hamilton extended his championship lead over Sebastian Vettel to 67 points with four rounds remaining.

Hamilton must outscore Vettel by eight points at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas on Sunday to win his fifth world championship.

And looking at form, betting against Hamilton would be unwise – the Briton has won five of the six grand prixs held in Texas.

Starting from pole position, Lewis Hamilton leading the field in the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.Starting from pole position, Lewis Hamilton leading the field in the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.

Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 after the Japanese Grand Prix: “I was playing dad at tennis the other day. When he practises, he puts in a perfect serve, but as soon as it comes to the game, he messes up.

“I’m the other way around; I struggle in practice, but when it comes to the race, perfect serve. When it comes to the crucial moment, that’s when I feel the best.

“When I was growing up, I wanted to race at Monaco and here. It is an awesome circuit here. When I was going around the parade lap, I really wanted to stop, take a moment and walk it, and think of all the great drivers who have driven here.

“When you think of the days when Ayrton was racing here, I still feel like the kid from Stevenage racing at Rye House. It was so far away for me then. Even though I’m here, they’re still there. It doesn’t feel real.”

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff after a triumphant 2018 Japanese Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff after a triumphant 2018 Japanese Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG.

Hamilton’s Stevenage roots are easy to trace – a former pupil at Peartree Junior School and John Henry Newman School, he lived on Peartree Way before moving to Woodfield Road with dad Anthony.

It was while living there that McLaren boss Ron Dennis signed the then 13-year-old Hamilton to the team’s young driver support programme, which eventually led to him becoming the sport’s youngest world champion.

Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: “I’m so proud and grateful I have the chance to do what I do.

“Each week you have a positive weekend and go to another grand prix and don’t know how you’re going to perform, but Austin’s a good track for us and I can’t wait to unleash this beast there.”

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