Why Lewis Hamilton should already have at least 10 F1 World Championships

Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is already set to win 10 titles, but which three world championships remain on the table?

The dust from the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will take a long time to settle.

How the conditions were put in place to allow Max Verstappen to pass Hamilton on the final lap will be the subject of debate in the years to come.

Hamilton, ready to break the record for most F1 world championships with his eighth crown, was turned down by Red Bull’s Verstappen.

But Hamilton’s chance to break Michael Schumacher’s world championship record has already arrived.

Hamilton should have traveled to Abu Dhabi as the already 10-time F1 world champion.

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But what are these three “missing” Hamilton World Championships?

In which years should Lewis Hamilton have won the crown to accompany the seven world championships he has already won?

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Lewis Hamilton World Championships

  • 2008 – McLaren
  • 2014 – Mercedes
  • 2015 – Mercedes
  • 2017 – Mercedes
  • 2018 – Mercedes
  • 2019 – Mercedes
  • 2020 – Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton lost the world championships

The first title Hamilton lost was in 2007 – his first season in F1.

He headed to the final in Brazil with 107 points.

His McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso was on 103, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen the row underdog with 100 points.

It was the time of 10 points for a victory.

Hamilton could have become the first rookie F1 world champion in China, the race before.

Tensions within McLaren were high as Alonso’s relationship with the team disintegrated towards the end of the seasons.

Keen not to give Alonso a preferential strategy over Hamilton, McLaren kept the 22-year-old on the sidelines with heavily worn midsize tires.

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When it finally pitted him, he slipped pathetically into the gravel and retired, as Raikkonen won.

Next time in Sao Paulo, Hamilton’s race turned from bad to worse.

He was dominated by Alonso at the start, and eager to regain the position immediately, the Spaniard forced the gap at Turn 4.

This knocked him down until a gearbox gremlin hit, costing him 25 seconds.

Once on the move, Hamilton needed fifth place to win the title against Raikkonen.

He could only climb to a seventh place on lap, losing in one of the tightest F1 world championships of all time.

Raikkonen finished with 110 points, Hamilton 109 and Alonso also with 109.

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Spain crash causes title pain in 2010

Hamilton headed to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which ended the season in 2010, still vying to increase his number of world championships – having won his first in 2008.

He was 24 points behind leader Alonso out of 221, including 25 for a victory.

Hamilton would finish second on the day behind Sebastian Vettel – who became the youngest world champion of all.

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The McLaren driver finished 16 points behind Vettel, and there was a race early in the season that cost him his second world championship success.

At the Spanish Grand Prix in May, Hamilton was second behind Mark Webber in the finals.

On lap 65 of 66, Hamilton crashed at Turn 3.

The McLaren suffered a puncture caused by the failure of the left front wheel rim – throwing Hamilton into the barrier.

He lost 18 points that day, while Alonso and Vettel each gained three more, finishing second and third respectively.

The tables below show what happened at one of the closest F1 world championships ever, and what would have happened if Hamilton had actually finished P2 that day.

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Current ranking of the 2010 F1 World Championship

  • 1st – Sebastian Vettel – 256 points
  • 2nd – Fernando Alonso – 252
  • 3rd – Mark Webber – 242
  • 4th – Lewis Hamilton – 240

If Lewis Hamilton finished second in the Spanish Grand Prix

  • 1st – Lewis Hamilton – 258 points
  • 2nd – Sebastian Vettel – 253
  • 3rd – Fernando Alonso – 249
  • 4th – Mark Webber – 242

Hamilton also suffered a series of three retirements in four races towards the end of seasons in Hungary, Italy and Singapore.

If Hamilton had won in 2010, he would have celebrated three F1 World Championships in his first four years in F1 – if he had also won in 2007.

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The lost crown to Nico Rosberg

Hamilton’s battle for the world championships with Nico Rosberg between 2014 and 2016 has become legendary.

Mercedes’ two “teammates” were equipped with the best car, with the title going one on one.

Hamilton won in 2014 and 2015, but in 2016 Rosberg came out on top.

He won the first four races of the season and has nine victories in total.

Hamilton actually had 10 wins during the season, but was ultimately edged five points by Rosberg.

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While Hamilton experienced terrible reliability issues in 2016, he must also take his share of the blame.

He suffered engine problems in China and Russia.

This drove from behind in Belgium for new engines – one of which memorably exploded in Malaysia, while in the lead.

However, engine failures alone did not cost Hamilton the addition to their world championships in 2016.

In Australia, Bahrain and Italy, he took pole position with poor starts.

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Hamilton finished second behind Rosberg at Melbourne and Monza, while he could only handle third at Sakhir – hampered by damage after a Turn 1 incident with Valtteri Bottas.

In those three races alone, it was a 48-point championship swing in Rosberg’s favor.

Throwing in the mix the erasure with Rosberg in Spain, and working in fifth place in Azerbaijan with engine tuning issues, Hamilton left a bunch of points on the table.

It was this loss to Rosberg in 2016 that prompted Hamilton to win more world championships.

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He scored four in a row between 2017 and 2020 to join Schumacher at the top of that particular tree.

There’s a good chance Hamilton won’t reach 10 F1 World Championships as a driver.

But he can still use the pain of losing to Verstappen in 2021 as motivation to claim his title in 22.

Not that the winner of 103 Grands Prix needs motivation…

Photo by Mark Thompson / Getty Images

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