Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Beyond Belief' Lewis in Line for a Fourth Title

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Beyond Belief' Lewis in Line for a Fourth Title

Article excerpt

LEWIS Hamilton insists it is beyond belief he finds himself closing in on a fourth world title after his victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver held off a late surge from Max Verstappen to win in Suzuka and open up a 59-point gap on his main championship rival Sebastian Vettel - who retired with a spark plug failure.

Verstappen finished a close second with Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo completing the podium - but it was all about Hamilton here.

He can claim the title in a fortnight at the US Grand Prix if he wins and Vettel finishes sixth or lower.

Even second place would be enough for Hamilton if the German came home ninth.

In a season where he surpassed Michael Schumacher's pole position record - this was his 71st time starting first - Hamilton can move on to four world titles.

That would make him the most decorated Briton in F1 history and move him into a category where only Schumacher (seven world titles), Juan Manuel Fangio (five), Alain Prost (four) and Vettel (four) reside.

Contrastingly, just six weeks ago Vettel was top of the championship.

Now he requires something special to happen if he is to claim his fifth crown and Hamilton can scarcely believe where he is positioned with just four races remaining.

He said: "I think it is unbelievable really to think we are where we are.

"I could only have dreamed of having this kind of gap.

"All I can really say is I have to put it down to my team. They've done a phenomenal job, reliability has really been on point.

"There is still a long way to go, 100 points is a lot of points and anything can happen. I just need to keep my head down."

Hamilton secured his last title in Austin two years ago and has won the last three races at the Circuit of the Americas.

He does not need to win another race between now and the season's end to sew up the title but he is not about to let up. …

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