This year’s Formula-One champion Lewis Hamilton trailed Germany’s Sebastian Vettel until the summer break. But he kept working hard and finished as the winner at Mexico. The saga of 2017 MotoGP champion Marc Marquez was very similar. The Repsol Honda rider had a hard time until mid-season but he never gave up. Finally, by finishing third in the last MotoGP at Valencia, Marquez won the title. Incidentally, both Hamilton and Marquez prevailed over their nearest challengers to become 4-time World Champions.
After losing the 2016 F1 title to arch-rival Nico Rosberg, British driver Lewis Hamilton bounced back to claim the 2017 F1 championship. This was the Brit’s fourth title after he also won in 2008, 2014 and 2015. But 2017 wasn’t a cakewalk for Hamilton since he trailed another 4-time World Champion until the mid-season. Yes Sebastian Vettel got real close in 2017 to claiming his fifth World Championship but later in the season, Hamilton turned the tide against the celebrated German. Vettel had a great start by a runaway win in the season opener at Melbourne’s Albert Park but Hamilton squared up with him with a win in China. Next, it was Bahrain, where Vettel beat Hamilton once again. In Russia, however, Hamilton could only finish fourth with Valtteri Bottas taking the top finish ahead of Vettel. In Spain next, Hamilton came back to winning but Vettel still led the championship table by winning at Monaco. Next was Canada, where Hamilton was supreme but by finishing 4th, Vettel still kept 12-point lead over the Brit.
In Azerbaijan GP, pressure showed on Vettel, when he quite clearly banged into the side of Hamilton’s Mercedes. Vettel drew the media flak and got lucky to avoid a race ban while also keeping his points’ lead over Hamilton. In Austria, Vettel narrowly lost to Bottas but going into Silverstone’s British GP, Vettel slumped to 7th while Hamilton was the winner. In the mid-season race in Hungary, Vettel won and went to summer break with a 14-point lead over Hamilton.
Belgium F1 marked a turning point. Hamilton used his racing acumen in the 34th lap after a safety car period and went past Vettel. The win reduced the lead for Vettel to just 7 points. Then Hamilton scored two consecutive wins and went past Vettel for good. In Italian GP, Vettel finished third but crashed out in the opening lap of Singapore GP. Ferrari was plagued with turbo manifolds and spark plugs issues at Malaysia and Japan and Vettel kept slipping behind Hamilton. In Circuit of Americas, Texas, victory brought Hamilton really close to winning the 2017 championship as he built a considerable lead over Vettel. It was in the next race at Mexico that Hamilton finally won his fourth World Championship despite finishing eleventh. Though Vettel took the win at the Brazil GP and Valtteri Bottas won the year-ending Abu Dhabi GP, nothing changed for Lewis Hamilton.
2017 MotoGP champion Marc Marquez’s tale makes a nearly identical comparison to Lewis Hamilton. Unlike his victories in 2013, 2014 and 2016, Marquez had a tough time this year. In the season opener at Qatar in March, Marquez was placed 4th behind Maverick Vinales, Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi. In Argentina, Marquez crashed out in lap-3 but bounced back to win at Texas next. In Jerez, Marquez finished second but crashed again in French MotoGP. By this time, Maverick Vinales had already won 3 races out of 5 and topped the championship leaderboard. Marquez’s struggles continued even in sixth race at Mugello, where he ended 6th. Going into his home track at Catalunya, Marquez’s bike suffered several crashes during practice but he survived and finished second behind Dovizioso. In Dutch GP at Assen, Marquez held on to another podium finish behind Italians Rossi and Danilo Petrucci. By now Vinales was fading out and Andrea Dovizioso was emerging as a strong contender for 2017 MotoGP championship. Marquez then consolidated by winning the German GP at Sachsenring and Czech GP at Brno. However, the fast improving Dovizioso took the next two wins at Austria and Britain. The championship battle was now being fought between Marquez and Dovizioso. Marquez made two back-to-back top podium finishes at San Marino and Aragon and even though he was second behind Dovizioso in Japan, Marquez still led the Italian by 11 points. After Marquez won at Phillip Island, his lead over Dovizioso swelled to 33 points because Dovizioso finished 13th. However, the Ducati rider still remained in contention after winning Sepang’s Malaysian GP. Going into the last MotoGP of the season at Valencia, Dovizioso could only have won by taking the top finish if Marquez finished lower than 11th. That didn’t happen as Marquez held on to third finish behind teammate Dani Pedrosa and Tech3 rider Italian Johan Zarco. Dovizioso disappointingly crashed and Marquez clinched his fourth MotoGP title and sixth championship overall.
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