With eight races still to run in 2015, Lewis Hamilton already has his hands on one prize. It is the new pole position trophy, awarded to the driver with the most poles each season. The new measure was introduced for 2014, with the regulations now demanding that a "trophy will be awarded to the driver who sets the most pole positions" each season.
Last year, the winner was Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, although the German warned his British colleague not to get too excited after clinching it in Belgium. "I never got my trophy for last year," Rosberg told Hamilton, "so don't expect a trophy coming your way for that."
Hamilton said he wouldn't mind anyway. "The pole trophy is not particularly exciting," he said. "Winning the world championship is the goal, but getting poles is definitely a great thing. I would give up everything else - all the poles, the pole trophy - for the world championship but I'm really happy with how qualifying has gone this year," said Hamilton. "It's been a huge step."
Team boss Toto Wolff admits that qualifying is a big reason for Hamilton's success in 2015. "You do half the job on a Saturday," he is quoted by Italy's Autosprint, explaining that controlling the race from the front is particularly crucial this year.
Poles or not, however, team chairman and F1 legend Niki Lauda thinks Hamilton is simply "unbeatable" at present. "Nico is fighting like crazy," he said, "but Lewis raised his game. I think he was unbeatable, especially at Spa. If Lewis does not do a mistake in the next couple of races it will be hard for Nico" to win the title, Lauda added. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing