How does Bottas win the 2019 Formula 1 championship?


The win in Japan was Bottas’ first since Baku, but how can the Finn turn the tables on Hamilton in the Formula 1 title race?

Valtteri Bottas celebrates winning the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix

Photo: Motorsport Images

Valtteri Bottas’ race victory in Japan and Lewis Hamilton’s third place and fastest lap was enough for Mercedes to secure its sixth-straight constructors’ championship.

It also confirmed that one of the Silver Arrows drivers would take a record-breaking sixth straight drivers’ championship for the team, by virtue of their rivals being mathematically eliminated. But which one will take the 2019 crown?

In all likelihood, Hamilton is set to take a sixth Formula 1 drivers’ championship title.

The reigning champion tops the standings with 338 points ahead of Bottas on 274.

After his Japanese Grand Prix victory, Bottas closed the gap by nine points, but even this type of point swing would not be enough if it were to continue for the rest of the year.

With just four rounds of the championship remaining, 104 points are on offer and Bottas needs the majority of them.

Even then he would need the best form of his career to coincide with misfortune for Hamilton to overturn the deficit.

In the remaining races, the Finn must out-score Hamilton by an average of 17 points at each round to have any chance of securing the world title.

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The ball is in Hamilton’s court

Should Hamilton score 40 points between Mexico and Abu Dhabi, then whatever Bottas does is irrelevant.

Hamilton’s nine wins in 2019 means that he could afford to finish fifth in the remaining races and regardless of what Bottas does, he would still clinch his sixth title even if the Finn won every remaining round and scored fastest lap.

A tie on 378 points in this scenario would fall in the five-time champion’s favour on countback, nine wins to Bottas’ theoretical seven.

So, there is going to need to be some misfortune for the Brit if Bottas is to stand a realistic chance at the title.

A retirement in Mexico for Hamilton and the ball would very much remain in his court. A points deficit of 40 will still be in place if Bottas maximised the damage he inflicted with 78 left to play for. Hamilton would only need three third places to seal things.

Two non-finishes for Hamilton though and the 2019 championship closes up to be a realistic prospect for Bottas.

A 14-point margin for error in the remaining two races would put the pressure on the reigning champion, but for this to happen Bottas would still need to score the full 26 points in Austin.

All Hamilton has to do to prevent such a scenario though is accumulate 40 points in the remaining four rounds. His average in 2019 across a four-race period this season? 80.5 points.

Not such a tough ask in comparison.

Photo: Motorsport Images



While Hamilton has the 2019 title all but sealed, there is always the possibility of an unlikely scenario changing the landscape.

In 1997, Michael Schumacher was disqualified from the championship for deliberately crashing into Jacques Villeneuve in the heat of their battle for the crown.

Deliberately crashing into another competitor or driving in a manner that endangers the lives of others are two unlikely developments that could net Hamilton such a punishment.

Another theoretical that could transpire is a ban if he accumulates 12 penalty points before the end of the season.

Should such indiscretions occur and penalty points handed out, a one-race ban would follow.

Currently, Hamilton has a single penalty point on his superlicence for blocking Kimi Räikkönen during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.


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