Lewis Hamilton takes to the track for the first time ever as a six-time world champion in Brazil this weekend.
Hamilton sealed the title at the USA Grand Prix and he admits his achievement has not registered just yet.
“It has not sunk in yet, and probably won’t until the next few races are done,” said Hamilton – who paid tribute to other drivers who had reached out to him to congratulate him, especially his main title rival Sebastian Vettel.
“Recognition is not something that drives me, but it definitely is an honour when you have other drivers, particularly Seb, that you respect so much for their ability, and over the years you’ve commented on their ability and you’ve got belief in their ability, and you’ve then built a rapport that is constantly growing,” said Hamilton.
“For them to take a moment to come and show that bit of respect is amazing. Each of us know how hard it is to do what we do.
“Us 20 drivers particularly know how hard it is to do what we do, and only a few of us truly know how hard it is to win on a consistent basis year on year, and Seb is one of those.”
Hamilton and his Mercedes team are in Brazil without team leader Toto Wolff, who has remained in Europe, but the team do not see it as an issue.
Hamilton said: “I texted him and said ‘you’ve built an incredible team here and we’re going to do you proud’.
“Nothing really changes for us within the team. he will be missed on the pit wall and his input through the weekend will be missed but we are still here to do a job and our focus doesn’t shift. He’ll still be watching so you can still get in trouble from the headmaster.”
BRAZIL GRAND PRIX – ROUND 19
Location: Autódromo José Carlos Pace
Track size: 2.6 miles with 15 turns
Number of laps: 71
2018 winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Lap record holder: 1:10.540 Valtteri Bottas (2018)
Australian Grand Prix – Valterri Bottas (Mercedes)
Bahrain Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
China Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Valterri Bottas (Mercedes)
Spain Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Monaco Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Canada Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
France Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Austria Grand Prix – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
British Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
German Grand Prix – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
Hungary Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Belgium Grand Prix – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
Italy Grand Prix – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
Singapore Grand Prix – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Russia Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Japan Grand Prix – Valterri Bottas (Mercedes)
Mexico Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
USA Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Brazil Grand Prix –
Abu Dhabu Grand Prix –
2019 Driver and Constructor Standings
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR MERCEDES 381
2 Valtteri Bottas FIN MERCEDES 314
3 Charles Leclerc MON FERRARI 249
4 Max Verstappen NED RED BULL RACING HONDA 235
5 Sebastian Vettel GER FERRARI 230
6 Alexander Albon THA RED BULL RACING HONDA 84
7 Carlos Sainz ESP MCLAREN RENAULT 80
8 Pierre Gasly FRA SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 77
9 Daniel Ricciardo AUS RENAULT 46
10 Sergio Perez MEX RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 44
11 Lando Norris GBR MCLAREN RENAULT 41
12 Nico Hulkenberg GER RENAULT 37
13 Daniil Kvyat RUS SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 34
14 Kimi Räikkönen FIN ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 31
15 Lance Stroll CAN RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 21
16 Kevin Magnussen DEN HAAS FERRARI 20
17 Romain Grosjean FRA HAAS FERRARI 8
18 Antonio Giovinazzi ITA ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 4
19 Robert Kubica POL WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1
20 George Russell GBR WILLIAMS MERCEDES 0
1 MERCEDES 695
2 FERRARI 479
3 RED BULL RACING HONDA 366
4 MCLAREN RENAULT 121
5 RENAULT 83
6 RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 65
7 SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 64
8 ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 35
9 HAAS FERRARI 28
10 WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1
We also spoke with Alistair Gill of Unibet to get their views on the Grand Prix
With both titles locked up and Mercedes completing yet another double win, as well as all seats except one being locked up for 2020, it’s easy to assume Brazil to be a bit of a dead rubber. However, F1 drivers are a competitive bunch by nature who will all want to finish a long, hard season on the up.
Now 6 time champion Lewis Hamilton is the 6/4 favourite at a track that Mercedes traditionally perform well at, and he will be perhaps the most determine of the field to finish his winning season on top of the podium. He has the most poles in the field at Interlagos with 3 and he would hope to achieve a 4th and convert.
Max Verstappen is second favourite at 11/4, although Red Bull seem to struggle somewhat in qualifying in Brazil which may put him at an early disadvantage. Valteri Bottas is next at 3/1, but the value play could well be Sebastian Vettel at 6/1.
The German has form here, with 3 wins at Interlagos as well as 2 poles, and will be in desperate need of a good finish to a very tough season persoanlly. A top 3 finish for Vettel may be a sensible move at 17/20, with the imperious Mercedes and their serious race pace meaning a bet outside of the Silver Arrows is always an outside chance. However, for those who like a bit of meat on their odds, 6/1 for the win could look generous come the checkered flag.