Alright, here's one. Imagine Lewis finished 1st in Austin with Britney second: Lewis leads by 24 points. Then the same thing happens at Interlagos: Lewis then leads Britney by 31 points. Under normal circumstances he'd be champ. Lewis retires at Abu Dhabi, Britney finishes second to (say) Bottas. Britney champion by five points. Britney ends the season with four wins to Lewis's eleven, and ends up champion. Imagine the seethe. Haha.
|Lewis Hamilton has been doing more |
of the winning at Mercedes this year
Photo: Octane Photography
This scenario imagined by my brother if played out would not so much break a record but smash it to smithereens. Lewis Hamilton claimed his ninth win of the season last Sunday, and no one has lost a drivers' title having won that many or even with one fewer than that (seven is the record, held by several drivers). So with the above chain of events the mark would be advanced by upwards of 150%.
I don't have any particular partisan leanings as to which Mercedes pilot indeed takes title honours this year, but at the broadest level there's always been part of me that likes the championship to go to the one with the most wins in that campaign. As implicit in this is that they've been the fastest, battling at the front and going for it, rather than hanging back and gathering points incrementally as might an accountant. Most of the time of course the winningest driver and champion in a season has been one and the same, but there have been odd occasions where it has not been so, with most wins (but not title honours) going to Stirling Moss in 1958; Jim Clark in 1964 and 1967; Mario Andretti in 1977; Alan Jones in 1979; a host of drivers got one more than Keke Rosberg's solitary win in 1982; Alain Prost in 1983 and 1984; Nigel Mansell in 1986 and 1987; Ayrton Senna in 1989 and most lately Felipe Massa in 2008.
As this shows it hasn't happened much lately, which certainly isn't a reflection of the points system which for a lot of that time has rewarded winning less than it had done previously - indeed the gap on points between race victory and first of the losers was reduced to an absurd two from 2003 to 2009. More likely it reflects that reliability has been much less of a factor in the last couple of decades, thus there is less to be had in itself just from making sure you are running at the end. Yet while I don't imagine that this was the intention of double points, it may be a consequence that it undermines rewarding the victor more than ever before.
Most of us concluded this close to 12 months ago when the double points idea was firmed up, and the passing of time hasn't done anything to alter things, that whatever happens you hope that the effect of double points doesn't alter who wins this year's drivers' championship.
If it does we might then be tempted to conclude as Tony Brooks did at the end of the 1958 season wherein he had three victories to his name to Mike Hawthorn's one, and his Vanwall team mate Stirling Moss had four triumphs, yet it was Hawthorn who took the title, 'that's when I decided the World Championship title didn't really mean an awful lot.'