Seven world titles, 100 poles: Hamilton has more records in sight after new deal

By Sports Desk July 03, 2021

Lewis Hamilton has ended speculation over his Formula One future after signing a new two-year contract with Mercedes.

The seven-time world champion, bidding for a record eighth crown in 2021, is now tied to the German team through the 2023 season, covering the first two campaigns of new regulations which come into force next year.

The 36-year-old has won six of his previous seven drivers' titles with Mercedes, who he joined from McLaren in 2012.

Hamilton only signed a one-year deal for 2021 in February and both he and team boss Toto Wolff had stressed agreeing an earlier deal this time around was a priority.

The Briton is embroiled in a thrilling title scrap with Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who has opened up an 18-point lead in the championship going into the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend.

 

It is still unclear who Hamilton's team-mate will be for 2022 and beyond.

Valtteri Bottas is languishing fifth in the championship, while George Russell – now with Williams – impressed when he stood in during Hamilton's coronavirus absence at last season's Sakhir Grand Prix.

Russell reacted to the news by calling it "great for Mercedes and F1".

After his new deal was confirmed, Stats Perform looked at the data to summarise Hamilton's incredible F1 impact.

LEVEL WITH SCHUMACHER

Michael Schumacher won his seventh and final championship in 2004, a streak of five in a row at Ferrari that saw him surpass Juan Manuel Fangio's previous overall record of five career titles.

All but one of Hamilton's triumphs have come with Mercedes, following a dramatic initial 2008 success at McLaren.

That means he has now gone past Schumacher as the driver to have won the most F1 titles with the same team. The German's back-to-back 1994 and 1995 successes came at Benetton.

The only championship not claimed by Hamilton during his current run, 2016, was picked up by his then Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton has won four in a row, meaning matching another Schumacher best for successive crowns while also claiming the outright record of eight are his targets this season.

WINNING RECORD

In 2020 Hamilton equalled his best single-season return of 11 wins, which he also recorded in each of 2014, 2018 and 2019.

Hamilton is an all-time F1 leader in terms of career race wins (98), poles (100), podiums (171) and points (3,916), having overtaken Schumacher to take top spot in all but the latter category.

Of those race victories, 77 have come with Mercedes, the most any driver has achieved with a single team.

He has led the most races (168) and laps (5,221) in F1 history, while he had finished a record 48 consecutive grands prix in the points until COVID-19 forced him to miss the penultimate race of 2020.

However, as he signs his deal at a time when rival Verstappen is thriving, the Briton is only one GP away from equalling his worst run (five races) without winning in a single season since 2014.

He also had two five-race runs without a win in 2016, the year Rosberg triumphed and the only campaign Hamilton did not win the title in the hybrid era.

Interestingly, Hamilton did set a record in that season as runner-up. He won 10 races and racked up 380 points, both the most ever by a driver who did not go on to win the world title.

DOMINANCE SPANNING DECADES

When he won his first championship in 2008, Hamilton was F1's youngest world title winner at 23 years, nine months and 26 days old. Sebastian Vettel later surpassed that feat in 2010 at 23, four months and 11 days.

Title number seven arrived with Hamilton 35, 10 months and eight days old.

The 12 seasons between his first and most recent titles is the longest span in F1 history, with Schumacher (1994-2004) and Niki Lauda (1975-1984) next on the list.

Lauda edged out Alain Prost in 1984 by half a point in the last of his wins, the only margin narrower than the single point Hamilton beat Felipe Massa by in 2008.

He does not deal in such slender differences nowadays. The 124-point advantage he had over Valtteri Bottas last year stands as Hamilton's biggest personal margin over the driver in second place.

Vettel still holds the most processional title win, going back to 2013 when his Red Bull was 155 points better off than runner-up Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

FAVOURITE RACES

Hamilton has won eight times at the Hungarian Grand Prix, sharing the record for most wins at a single circuit with Schumacher, who triumphed eight times in France.

With seven wins at the British Grand Prix, Hamilton holds the F1 record for most wins at a home race.

Hamilton has also triumphed seven times in Canada, with six wins apiece in China and the United States, which are both among his favourite tracks.

His career victories have come at an astonishing 29 different circuits and 28 different grands prix, highlighting his longevity, and a win in Austria on Sunday would kickstart his pursuit of further records.

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  • Lewis Hamilton won’t be swayed by haters as he looks forward to Ferrari switch Lewis Hamilton won’t be swayed by haters as he looks forward to Ferrari switch

    Lewis Hamilton said “people continue to talk s***” about him amid his worst start to a Formula One season.

    The 39-year-old has scored just 10 points from the opening four rounds following his Mercedes team’s misfiring campaign.

    Hamilton has failed to finish in the top six so far, and crossed the line a distant ninth at the last round in Japan a fortnight ago.

    Hamilton, who is moving to Ferrari next year, was asked if Mercedes’ early-season troubles vindicated his decision to quit the team, which carried him to six of his record-equalling seven world championships.

    “I don’t feel like I need my decision vindicating,” he said. “I know what is right for me, and that hasn’t changed from the moment I made the decision.

    “There’s not been a moment that I’ve questioned it, and I’m not swayed by other people’s comments.

    “Even today, there’s people continuing to talk s***, and that will continue on for the rest of the year.

    “I’ll have to just do what I did the previous time (when he moved to Mercedes from McLaren). Only I can know what’s right for me, and this (joining Ferrari) will be an exciting time for me.”

    Hamilton, who was speaking ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix – the first staged here since 2019 – was asked what he meant by “people taking s***”.

    “Just read what’s out there,” he replied.

    Hamilton will be 40 when he makes his debut for Ferrari in Australia next March.

    Fernando Alonso announced last week that he will remain in the sport beyond his 45th birthday after agreeing a contract extension with Aston Martin. The Spaniard, 43 in July, will become the oldest driver of the modern era.

    And Hamilton added: “I’m going to be racing for quite some time still, right into my 40s, so it’s definitely good Fernando is still around and keeps going on for a bit longer.

    “I never thought I’d be racing into my 40s. I’m pretty sure I said I wouldn’t. But life is such a crazy trick. I don’t feel like I’m nearing 40. I feel like I’m pretty young.

    “It’s a real positive that Fernando is staying because it means I’m not the oldest driver here.

    “But also Fernando is one of the best drivers we’ve had in the sport so for him to continue to be here and continue to have the output that he’s had just shows what’s possible.”

    Hamilton, who has won a record six times in China, will be back on track on Friday in qualifying for the first sprint round of the season.

    In a rejig of the format this year, the grid for Sunday’s main event will now be determined after the 19-lap race which gets under way at 11:00am (4am BST) on Saturday.

  • Haaland, Palmer, Watkins? Assessing the Premier League's Golden Boot candidates Haaland, Palmer, Watkins? Assessing the Premier League's Golden Boot candidates

    There is a thrilling three-horse race for the Premier League title as we approach the run-in, but there is also another tussle on the cards.

    The Golden Boot is up for grabs, with Erling Haaland having not quite hit the same heights as he did last season, when he broke the Premier League record for goals, with 36.

    Manchester City star Haaland is, as it stands, level with his former club-mate Cole Palmer at the top of the competition’s scoring charts, with 20 goals apiece.

    Palmer, who will go up against his old club in the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend, moved way up in the charts after he netted four times in Chelsea’s 6-0 rout of Everton on Monday.

    But with Palmer and Haaland in FA Cup action, there are plenty of other Golden Boot candidates looking to take advantage and nudge themselves to the front of the pack.

    Using Opta data, we assess the numbers behind the players vying for this individual accolade.

    Erling Haaland (20)

    Sure, Haaland might not quite have scaled the same heights as last season, but he has still scored 20 goals in 26 league games, scoring a goal every 109 minutes on average.

    However, the Norwegian has actually underperformed his expected goals (xG) of 23.7 – that 3.7 differential is actually the biggest xG underperformance of any player on this list.

    What about Haaland’s expected goals on target (xGOT)? That metric can be used to measure the quality of a player’s finishing, and Haaland’s xGOT of 20.3 suggests the 23-year-old is about on track based on where he has been placing his shots.

    Haaland has also chipped in with five assists, giving him an overall goal contributions tally of 25. He has created 28 goalscoring chances for team-mates across the campaign.

    Of course, Haaland is a penalty box poacher – 16 of his goals have come from inside the area, while 14 of them have come with his stronger left foot.

     

    Cole Palmer (20)

    Palmer has stolen the show this season for Chelsea, and is arguably the Blues’ driving force behind their push for European football.

    Having signed from City last summer, Palmer has made an instant impact despite only playing 27 times – he averages a goal every 103 minutes, which is better than any of the other candidates featured here.

    He scored a perfect hat-trick in the first half of the demolition of Everton, before adding a fourth from the penalty spot after the break – that was Palmer’s ninth successfully converted spot-kick in the league this term.

    Unlike Haaland, Palmer has overperformed his xG (15), with his non-penalty xG coming in at 7.9, while also proving his creative talents with nine assists from 53 chances created, which ranks behind only Mohamed Salah (60) of players featured here.

    Those 29 goal contributions are matched by only one other Premier League player…

    Ollie Watkins (19)

    One goal behind Palmer and Haaland, and someone who will be looking to get ahead when Aston Villa face Bournemouth on Sunday, is England international Watkins.

    A deft chip in Villa’s brilliant 2-0 win over Arsenal last time out brought up Watkins’ 19th top-flight goal of the campaign – he is now the club’s joint-leading scorer in a single season in the Premier League, matching Christian Benteke (2012-13).

     

    What separates Watkins from Palmer and Haaland is his minutes per goal ratio – Watkins has netted every 147 minutes on average, which is 44 minutes worse off than Palmer and 38 than Haaland.

    However, with 10 assists, the former Brentford forward leads the goal contributions charts along with Palmer. Interestingly, however, Watkins’ assists have come from an expected assists (xA) of just 3.6, suggesting he has been the benefactor of some particularly excellent finishing from his Villa team-mates.

    A goal against Bournemouth on Sunday would see Watkins become just the third English player to score 20+ goals and assist 10+ goals in a 38-game season, along with Frank Lampard in 2009-10 (22 goals, 14 assists) and Harry Kane in 2020-21 (23 goals, 14 assists)

    Watkins has proved to be a deadly finisher under Unai Emery, though the trick for opposing defences could be to prevent him getting space in the area to begin with, given that all 19 of his goals have come from inside the box. Obviously, that is easier said than done.

    Mohamed Salah (17)

    Liverpool will be hoping to bounce back from their damaging defeat to Crystal Palace last week when they take on Fulham on Sunday, and key to the Reds’ clinching success in Jurgen Klopp’s farewell tour will surely be the form of Salah.

    Since sustaining an injury at the Africa Cup of Nations, Salah has not quite hit top form, but he has still netted 17 goals across 26 league appearances this term, though five of those have been penalties.

     

    With an xGOT of 18.4, Salah can point to some above average goalkeeping as a reason for a small underperformance.

    Creatively, Salah has been excellent, providing nine assists and crafting 60 opportunities, but the Reds will need him at his very best in the run-in.

    Alexander Isak (17)

    Isak was at the double in Newcastle United’s 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham last time out. He has now scored 12 goals in as many Premier League appearances at St James’ Park this season.

    His opener against Spurs saw him become the fourth player to score in six consecutive Premier League home matches for Newcastle, with only Andrew Cole (eight) and Alan Shearer (15) having longer such runs, with Isak now level with Les Ferdinand’s best such run. The only other Swede to have netted as many Premier League goals in a single campaign as Isak has this term is the great Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored 17 times for Manchester United in 2016-17.

    Only Palmer has a better minutes per goal ratio than Isak (104) of the players on this list, while he has overperformed his xG by 1.1.

    Isak has not provided quite as much creatively as others on this list, providing just one assist, but his 28.3 per cent shot conversion rate tops this list by some distance, with Palmer (24.4) next best.

    Dominic Solanke (17)

    Another player on 17 goals, and the final selection here, is Bournemouth talisman Solanke.

    His 18.1 per cent shot conversion rate may short fall of the other stars on this list, but Solanke is having a fantastic season, having become Bournemouth’s top Premier League goalscorer in a single campaign, surpassing Joshua King’s tally of 16 from the 2016-17 season.

    Only one of Solanke’s strikes has come from the spot, with the 26-year-old outperforming his 15.7 non-penalty xG, though his minutes per goal ratio of 167 is quite a stark drop-off from most of his Golden Boot rivals.

    The Chasing Pack

    Former Golden Boot winner Son Heung-min (15), Jarrod Bowen (15), Bukayo Saka (14) and Phil Foden (14) are all well in the hunt.

    The fact that 10 players are within six goals of each other shows just how tight this Golden Boot race is shaping up to be, though the chasing pack are running out of time if they are to make a late push for the award.

  • Premier League relegation battle: Crucial weekend in the scrap for survival Premier League relegation battle: Crucial weekend in the scrap for survival

    While the Premier League title race unfolds, there is another tussle playing out at the bottom.

    And this weekend, six of the teams at the wrong end of the table fight it out against each other.

    On Saturday, Luton Town will hope to propel themselves out of the relegation zone by overcoming Brentford at Kenilworth Road, though the 15th-placed Bees will know that another win could all but end their worries of dropping down to the Championship.

    At the same time, the two bottom clubs go head-to-head at Bramall Lane, with Sheffield United hosting Burnley. Both the Blades and the Clarets look likely to go down, though if either are to survive, then taking three points from this one is a must.

    Sunday’s early game is a huge one at Goodison Park, as Everton and Nottingham Forest – both impacted by points deductions for breaches of Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR) – face off. The Toffees are 16th, a point better off than the Tricky Trees, but Sean Dyche’s team are on a dismal run of just one win in 15 league matches.

    Crystal Palace are perhaps not out of the woods just yet, though after their stunning win at Anfield last time out, the Eagles will hope to carry on the momentum when they face West Ham.

    And using Opta data, we can assess the likelihood of the Premier League relegation scrap, as well as the underlying metrics behind each of these teams.

     

    Let’s work from the top down.

    Palace, after that shock 1-0 win over Liverpool, are now not considered to be relegation candidates by Opta’s predictive model, which gives them a 46.5 per cent chance of staying right where they are in 14th.

    The Eagles are six points clear of Everton in 17th, and while not mathematically safe, Oliver Glasner’s team are certainly within touching distance.

    It is worth noting, though, that according to the Opta power rankings, Palace have the most difficult run-in of all these seven teams, with the average rating of their remaining opponents coming in at 87.9. Like the Toffees and Sheffield United, Palace have six matches left to play, though they do not play any of the teams below them in that run.

    Next come Brentford. The Bees have five games remaining but, with 33 points, are likely just a win away from tying up their safety, and they will be hoping that comes against Luton (as well Everton and Forest fans).

    According to Opta’s model, Brentford have the second-easiest fixture list of any team in the league, with their average opponent rating of 85.1 higher only than Newcastle United’s (84.1).

    The Bees do, though, face a trip to Everton after they head to Luton, so should the worst occur and they lose those matches, then Thomas Frank’s team could find themselves firmly back in danger. As it stands, Brentford’s chances of going down are a meagre 0.3 per cent.

    Brentford are the second-worst expected goals underperformers in the competition this season, having scored six fewer goals than would have been anticipated based on the quality of opportunities they have created, suggesting that with better finishing, and a bit more luck, they would likely be clear of danger already.

    And if that can be said for Brentford, then it can be emphatically repeated for 16th-placed Everton.

     

    Even factoring in the eight points that have been taken off them this term, Everton – who were thrashed 6-0 by Chelsea on Monday – could have been out of danger had they simply come close to matching their xG. They are by far the Premier League’s biggest underperformers when it comes to that metric – Dyche’s side have scored 32 goals (which ranks 19th in the league) from an xG of 48, a whopping underperformance of 16.

    Sunday’s clash with Forest kick-starts a huge week of home games for the Toffees, with a Merseyside derby against Liverpool following on April 24, before Brentford then visit Goodison Park.

    With Forest, Brentford, Luton and Sheffield United among their final four fixtures, Everton should still have some confidence – they have taken seven points off those sides already this term, and a repeat of that could be enough, though a final-day away outing at Arsenal is ominous, given the Toffees have shipped nine goals in their last two visits to Emirates Stadium. Opta predicts they will stay up, but Everton do have an 8.9 per cent chance of slipping out of the top tier for the first time in over 70 years.

    Below them, Forest will no doubt have been buoyed by Everton’s sorry performance at Stamford Bridge. However, Nuno Espirito Santo’s team do have a rather sizeable 29.9 per cent chance of going down, so a victory at Goodison Park could be vital.

    Especially considering Forest’s next fixture comes against Manchester City, albeit it is at home, where they also face Chelsea in between away clashes with Sheffield United and Burnley.

    Perhaps worrying for Forest, however, is that in their three matches against Everton, the Blades and Burnley this term, they have taken only four points. Interestingly, while Forest have shipped 58 goals – a figure which betters only the bottom three, they have been unfortunate to concede so many based on their expected goals against (xGA), which is actually the sixth best in the league at 47.4.

    Then we have Luton. The Hatters have been one of the stories of the season, and despite their small budget have a brilliant chance of survival.

    That being said, Opta’s predictive model does anticipate they will go down, with Rob Edwards’ side having a 54.3 per cent chance of finishing where they are in 18th, with their chances of finishing in 17th being 29.6 per cent.

    Victory over Brentford, who beat them 3-1 earlier in the campaign, would see Luton move out of the bottom three, though, and with five games left, they do have what is considered a relatively easy run-in when it comes to the average rating of those teams they are going up against, at 85.4.

    That being said, Luton’s defensive record this season is awful. The Hatters have shipped 70 goals from an xGA of 69.7. They will need to tighten up if they are to complete the great escape.

     

    What about the bottom two?

    Well, they are perhaps down and out. After visiting South Yorkshire on Saturday, Vincent Kompany’s Burnley team have to go to Old Trafford and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium either side of hosting Newcastle, and Opta’s predictive model suggests they will go down – they have just a 1.6 per cent chance of survival.

    There is an even smaller chance of the Blades, who are 20th, staying up, at just 0.2 per cent.

    Chris Wilder’s team are the team with the fewest goals scored in the top flight, at 30, while they have conceded 84 – the worst in the division, and while victory over the Clarets would provide a morale-boost, the Blades seemed destined for the Championship.

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