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If you believe in patterns repeating themselves, this weekend's race in Bahrain is an absolutely must-win for Hamilton's WDC attempt!
This is his 12th season in F1. He's won at least on race in each of his 11 seasons to date, but how long it's taken him to do so has correlated with whether he won the championship.
In 2008 and 2015, he won the first race. In 2014 and 2017, he won the second race. In all four of those years, he won the championship.
In 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016 it took him between three and ten races to score his first (or only) win of the season, and didn't win the championship. In 2009 and 2013 he was doubly cursed as his first win of the year came in Hungary - and we all know that the winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix never wins the WDC!
When Hamilton wins one of the first two races of the year, he becomes the world champion. When he doesn't, someone else wins the WDC.
70.6% of Champions won either the first or second event.
Which also means that ~30% of Champions didn't win their first GP in
their Championship-winning year until the third (or later) event.
Ten Champions didn't win until the 3rd GP:
1960 Brabham [McLaren, Moss]
1961 Hill (P) [Moss, von Trips]
1966 Brabham [Stewart, Surtees]
1970 Rindt [Brabham, Stewart]
1972 Fittipaldi [Stewart, Hulme]
1973 Stewart [Fittipaldi (both)]
1977 Lauda [Scheckter, Reutemann]
1981 Piquet [Jones, Reutemann]
1986 Prost [Piquet, Senna]
2010 Vettel [Alonso, Button]
1976 Hunt [Lauda, Lauda, Regazzoni]
2003 Schumacher [Coulthard, Raikkonen, Fisichella]
2012 Vettel [Button, Alonso, Rosberg]
1958 Hawthorn [Moss, Trintignant, Moss, Brooks]
1975 Lauda [Fittipaldi, Pace, Scheckter, Mass]
1989 Prost [Mansell, Senna (2, 3, 4)]
1964 Surtees [Hill (G), Clark (2, 3), Moss, Gurney, Clark]
1979 Scheckter [Laffite (1, 2), Villeneuve (3, 4), Depailler]
Two others' first win was later:
1987 Piquet 8th
1982 Rosberg 14th
In 1987 - Prost, Mansell, Prost, Senna (4, 5), Mansell (6, 7)
1982 - Prost, Piquet, Lauda, Pironi, Watson, Patrese, Watson,
Piquet, Pironi, Lauda, Arnoux, Tambay, de Angelis