x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Lewis Hamilton sympathises with F1 fans

Sebastian Vettel's dominance in motorsport reminds Mercedes-GP driver of Michael Schumacher's success at Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton, left, believes Sebastian Vettel’s dominance is a television turn-off. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters
Lewis Hamilton, left, believes Sebastian Vettel’s dominance is a television turn-off. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

SEOUL // Lewis Hamilton fears Sebastian Vettel’s Formula One dominance is becoming as much of a television turn-off for some fans as Michael Schumacher’s relentless success was a decade ago.

Red Bull Racing’s Vettel is on the brink of a fourth successive title after winning Sunday’s Korean Grand Prix from pole position.

His fourth victory in a row gave the 26-year-old German a lead of 77 points over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with five races remaining. If Vettel wins in Japan on Sunday, and the Spaniard is ninth or lower, it is game over.

“He has won already,” Hamilton, who was fifth for Mercedes-GP at Yeongam on Sunday, told reporters. “Unless he doesn’t finish the rest of the races, and even if he doesn’t he has probably still won it.

“Personally I feel for the fans because I remember the period of time when Michael Schumacher was winning.

“I remember waking up in the morning to watch the start of the race and then going to sleep, and then waking up when it ended because I already knew what would happen. I am pretty sure a lot of people were doing that today.”

Hamilton, the 2008 champion, has won once this season, in Hungary, but Vettel has taken eight of the 14 races and is on course for his most dominant season since 2011.

That year he also triumphed at Suzuka with four races to spare and went on to end the season with 11 victories, a number only Schumacher, with 13 in 2004, has exceeded.

Seven-time champion Schumacher, who won five titles in a row for Ferrari between 2000 and 2004, also won 11 times in 2002 and racked up seven successive wins in 2004.

Vettel won in Japan last year, as well as the following round in India. The only one of the remaining races that he has not previously won is the US Grand Prix at Austin, Texas, which made its debut last year with Hamilton winning for McLaren.