Should Lewis Hamilton really be leading the world championship?

Should Lewis Hamilton really be leading the world championship?

The battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for the 2014 drivers’ championship is really hotting up, with the advantage and momentum – F1’s favourite word at the moment – swinging back and forth. Bad luck and reliability problems are obviously going to play a part, but who would really be leading the championship if they didn’t? We set out to investigate.

This comes following David Coulthard’s comments saying that without bad luck, Lewis Hamilton would be leading the world championship. Is he right to assume that Lewis would be in front?

There are three stand-out incidents that can go down as being ‘unlucky’ for Hamilton: his retirement in Australia; his retirement in Canada; his loss of pole position to Nico Rosberg at Monaco. For reference, I’m assuming that there’s nothing sinister in Rosberg’s move at Mirabeau for this article. His mistakes in qualifying in Austria were just that: mistakes.

Theoretically, Mercedes should have finished first and second in every race (of course, as the 1988 Italian GP proved for McLaren, there is always bad luck). For the races that both cars finished, it’s quite clear who should win the race for the good of this thesis.

If we’re being really generous to Lewis, we can give him the win in Australia over Nico. Monaco we’ll put down as a defeat and not change the result, likewise for Austria.

To make things fair, we’ll give Nico the British GP victory (debatable as Lewis was catching) and uphold his win in Germany. To be generous to Hamilton, he gets P2 ahead of Bottas (sorry, Valtteri).

Here’s how things actually look in the championship.

Grand Prix
Rosberg Result
Hamilton Result
Leader + Advantage
Australia1stDNFRos +25
Malaysia2nd1stRos +18
Bahrain2nd1stRos +11
China2nd1stRos +4
Spain2nd1stHam +3
Monaco1st2ndRos +4
Canada2ndDNFRos +22
Austria1st2ndRos +29
Great BritainDNF1stRos +4
Germany1st3rdRos +14

And here’s what the championship could look like in world free of reliability problems.

Grand Prix
Rosberg Result
Hamilton Result
Leader + Advantage
Australia2nd1stHam +7
Malaysia2nd1stHam +14
Bahrain2nd1stHam +21
China2nd1stHam +28
Spain2nd1stHam +35
Monaco1st2ndHam +28
Canada1st2ndHam +21
Austria1st2ndHam +14
Great Britain1st2ndHam +7
Germany1st2ndTied

Yes, it is really that close. They would be tied on points heading to Hungary with five wins apiece.

Of course, this isn’t a perfect world, and Lewis does need to get his head around the problems he may face. We are set for a classic championship battle though with two immensely talented and spirited drivers.


Just for fun, let’s go with the ultra-pro Lewis standings and the ultra-pro Nico standings, which again make for interesting reading.

Pro-Lewis

Grand Prix
Rosberg Result
Hamilton Result
Leader + Advantage
Australia2nd1stHam +7
Malaysia2nd1stHam +14
Bahrain2nd1stHam +21
China2nd1stHam +28
Spain2nd1stHam +35
Monaco2nd1stHam +42
Canada2nd1stHam +49
Austria1st2ndHam +42
Great Britain2nd1stHam +49
Germany2nd1stHam +56

Pro-Nico

Grand Prix
Rosberg Result
Hamilton Result
Leader + Advantage
Australia1st2ndRos +7
Malaysia2nd1stTied
Bahrain2nd1stHam +7
China2nd1stHam +14
Spain2nd1stHam +21
Monaco1st2ndHam +14
Canada1st2ndHam +7
Austria1st2ndTied
Great Britain1st2ndRos +7
Germany1st2ndRos +14

What we must remember in all of this is that you can never, ever have a perfect season with no reliability woes, car problems or even wayward backmarkers ruining your race (as per Monza ’88 for McLaren). This championship will go down to the wire, double points and all, and whoever wins will deserve it.

Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.

Luke Smith

Luke Smith

Luke Smith is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Richland F1. Having started the website in March 2012, he has gone on to become one of the youngest members of the Formula 1 paddock after joining American broadcaster NBC Sports at the beginning of the 2013 season. Luke now works as the network's lead F1 writer, supporting the TV coverage on nbcsports.com. Luke's work has also been featured on NBC News, Yahoo! Sports, Driven Magazine and the Bahrain Mirror, and he has also appeared on CNBC's TV series "One Second in F1 Racing".



  • General Rush Hour

    Based on two assumptions that Rosberg would have won in Canada (he was passed for the lead shortly before Hamilton´s retirement with brake problems)

    and Silverstone (Rosberg had issues on lap 20. Hamilton caught him from lap 9 onwards).

    “We could give Lewis the win in Monaco”

    No, there´s better races where you could legitimately say he could have won or was on point.

    Germany is another assumption that Rosberg would have won.

    Make it fair and do one where the assumptions go the other way and all of a sudden it´s not that tied anymore.

  • McSerb

    Nico went off the track in Canada and instead of losing time for it he was actually rewarded for cutting the chicane and set the fastest lap. No penalty ! If he had been forced to give up his track position then HE would have been driving in dirty air and it is quite possible that HIS brakes would have failed instead of Hamilton`s. That is a huge difference in points (43). In the last race Rosberg made it into Q2 but violated the limits of the track while setting that time (all four tires off) as did Vettel. No penalty, otherwise he would have been as far back as Hamilton at the start of the race. Also in this race there was a scandalous decision not to deploy the safety car in order to keep Rosberg`s big lead safe (but remember what happened in Malaysia ?). Let`s give Monte Carlo the benefit of the doubt. As for the car failures, Hamilton had two (one from pole position because of a spark plug issue on the first lap ?!). According to the editor Hamilton should have been leading by 35 points after Spain. Well, at that point Rosberg would have been mentally destroyed and the title race over, but Mercedes made sure that did not happen. In fact, they have been forcing Lewis to play catch up from the first race. He has taken everything pretty well so far, but they are forcing him into mistakes by constantly driving on the limit.
    So this article is pretty pathetic SINCE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN. I think it is obvious that the author is pretending to be objective while actually supporting Rosberg. His last name points to German origin.

  • Richard Piers

    Think you should get yourself a girlfriend and find something more sensible to do in your spare time !

  • activewings

    Ooo more conspiracy. Of course Mercedes, the team based in BRACKLEY, ENGLAND wants Rosberg to win the title. And don’t forget that Rosberg is only half German.

  • Thomas

    Hmmm. In your “world without reliability” I think it’s a stretch to simply give Nico Canada, Silverstone and Germany. That’s a 42 point swing already. Monaco is also highly contentious. It depends where each individuals’ competitive spirit lies – did Hamilton deserve a second run? Baring in mind Q3 is 12 minutes long for a reason, I’d say he did. And the fact he set a personal best sector 1 by 0.067 *despite* lifting off before the time split (he was 0.059 down on pole) suggests he was very much on the pole lap baring in mind the advantage he held in sector 2. He’s been riddled with bad luck/bad timing all year. Nico was very much on the ropes approaching the first stops in Monaco and Hamilton could’ve over or undercut him for the lead, but a perfectly timed SC neutralised that possibility. I think it’s obvious Hamilton is the faster driver this year. In quali not by much, but he seems to have a sizeable advantage in most of the races, especially on fuel usage, and at times with tyres as well (who would have thought?).

    I think the fact that the pro-Hamilton table has him 54 points ahead and the pro-Nico 14 points tells you everything you need to know. Take nothing away from Nico (perhaps maybe Mirabeau) he has done a great job with the cards he has been dealt, but it’s hard to see past a Hamilton WDC if the luck subsides. As Hamilton said to the BBC on Sunday “I don’t want luck, I simply don’t want any bad luck!”

  • PIV

    The bosses are based in Germany, and Nico says he is 100% German, so I doubt your analysis here.

  • Andreea Buzner

    No one did some ‘complex’ math durring Michael last year … he beat Nico at every capitol, race and qualy, without tehnical incident. But english men, really don’t know how to loose.

  • KevinW

    Its certainly no secret that F1 media carries a UK buas. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the continued man love of Lewis Hamilton. The kid is a complete brat, one of tge sorest losers on the grid, and carries an undeserved aura of entitlement. Yet, he remians the media darling, the favored son, the hero… while German drivers are the perpetual, undeserving, cheating black hearted villians. It would be traguc if it weren’t so comical. I’m rooting for Nico to make this his championship breakout year. Not that he is any better than Lu Lu, but just because it will keep nickers well twisted to the last lap of the closing double points gala.