How Hamilton could win 13 races but lose the title

2014 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014Lewis Hamilton could win every race between now and the season finale at Abu Dhabi yet still lose the championship – due to the new double points rule.

With twice as many points being awarded at the final race of the year Hamilton could end the season with thirteen wins to Nico Rosberg’s five yet still be outscored by his team mate.

It would mean Hamilton winning all bar six of this year’s nineteen rounds, yet not being awarded the title.

The scenario it is not entirely far-fetched. Mercedes have had a significant performance advantage over their rivals in the first half of the season and have already scored six one-two finishes in the first ten races.

That included a run of four races where Hamilton won and Rosberg finished second. But even if that were to happen again twice over the coming rounds, victory for Rosberg in the double points finale would still secure him the championship, providing Hamilton finished lower than eighth or retired.

Here’s how the final points table would look in that scenario:

Driver Aus Mal Bah Chi Spa Mon Can Aut Gbr Ger Hun Bel Ita Sin Jap Rus USA Bra Abu Total
Nico Rosberg 25 18 18 18 18 25 18 25 0 25 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 50 384
Lewis Hamilton 0 25 25 25 25 18 0 18 25 15 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 4 380

This situation could only occur because of the double points rule. Without it, given these same finishing positions, Hamilton would head to Abu Dhabi already champion on 376 points to Rosberg’s 334. Instead he would be left worrying that a piece of ill-timed misfortune might deny him the title, as his team mate claims the only 50-point race win of the year.

As it stands Hamilton needs to do more than just win races to increase his chance of winning the championship – he badly needs Rosberg to finish further down the running order. That’s not likely to happen without some misfortune on his team mate’s part.

It also means the chances are rising that the hugely unpopular double points rules will end up deciding the outcome of the championship.

Bernie Ecclestone’s plan to award double points at the final race was strongly criticised by fans when it was announced last year. In a recent F1 Fanatic poll 96% of readers opposed it.

Work out how the championship could be decided using the F1 Fanatic Points Calculator:

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182 comments on How Hamilton could win 13 races but lose the title

  1. John H (@john-h) said on 22nd July 2014, 13:46

    It’s a combination of the double points rule, and the fact that 2nd place basically gets too much reward. I think we had this debate way back when the points changed a few years back, but personally 15 points for second place (giving the same ratio as the old 10-6) would be much better. Points can still be awarded down to tenth place as follows: 25-15-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1

    With regards the double, one thing is for sure: if either HAM or ROS win the championship because of the double points, it will be one of the most tainted wins in sporting history.

  2. Gideon Hadi (@) said on 22nd July 2014, 13:55

    Double Points could work nicely if there’s no retirements or bad luck or sabotaging cars. but I think it still give more negative effect than Positive. because somehow is unfair advantage for other drivers. but we’ll see in Abu Dhabi

  3. hobo (@hobo) said on 22nd July 2014, 14:09

    The best case scenario is that the driver leading the championships going in also finishes ahead in the race. If the doubling of points actually impacts the championship, I think there will be hell to pay with even more fans leaving.

    But even if the WDC title winner is not impacted, drivers down the order certainly will be. That will impact contract bonuses, possibly contract options, and pay. And aside from the drivers, the WCC order might be affected costing some teams millions of pounds.

    For what? To benefit Bernie? CVC? I know it’s a pie in the sky, wonderland dream at this point, but we need some people in charge who are interested in the sport first, not profit first. Yes, make profit, but don’t squeeze the blood out for short term profits and kill it off entirely.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 22nd July 2014, 14:16

      BE has even admitted the double points rule isn’t fair, which shows how desperate F1 must be for ratings, at whatever cost, and I’m sure he would argue your point to the teams that having strong viewership until the end of the last race benefits them too. Too bad it is at the cost of integrity of the sport, but then, integrity hasn’t always been that high up on the list of priorities.

      • hobo (@hobo) said on 22nd July 2014, 20:34

        Perhaps. But again, I would argue (and you seem to be doing so as well) that it is a short-term benefit if it exists. And at the expense of long-term harm.

  4. Hans Herrmann (@twentyseven) said on 22nd July 2014, 14:35

    Everyone knew the rules at the start of the season. Some drivers wouldn’t be WDC if they competed under the old points system. That’s the same thing, new rules which everyone agrees to, who knows if it’s gonna help you or not.

    I’m not saying double points is a good rule but it is the rule, this year, and drivers simply need to deal with it.

    Also, it’s interesting the slant on this article, surely Rosberg has more to worry about. His 14 point lead means far less this season that it would have in other seasons.

  5. Lustigson (@lustigson) said on 22nd July 2014, 14:46

    Although I root for Rosberg to win the title, it would be an utter disgrace if he took it off of Hamilton because of the double points rule.

    I do take comfort, tough, in the fact that over the past 20 (!) seasons, double points would only have made a difference in 3 instances:

    2012: Alonso, instead of Vettel
    2008: Massa, instead of Hamilton
    2003: Raikkonen instead of Schumacher

  6. Manalive said on 22nd July 2014, 15:18

    It’s looking very unlikely that the drivers’ championship will be decided before Abu Dhabi – so, I’m actually hoping that Hamilton and Rosberg are tied on points going into that race – that way, the double-points rule cannot possibly affect the result

    • Ottier said on 22nd July 2014, 16:29

      Unless Bottas or Ricciardo overhauls them both in Abu Dhabi. Personally, I think that would be awesome.

  7. Marcel (@mreis) said on 22nd July 2014, 15:33

    A great season… ruined by some guys at office.

  8. BerndMaylander (@berndmaylander) said on 22nd July 2014, 15:45

    Thank you Keith for highlighting the point I made last week (

    I would add that I have done some Monte Carlo simulations (the statistical procedure not the race) and most of the unfair outcomes due to the points system are reasonably unlikely. In only 8% of simulations do we get a different champion with double points in the season finale (which doesn’t mean it’s not daft).

    As others have pointed out it’s Mercedes’ reliability that should be more of a concern to Lewis Hamilton. With their current failure rate, Rosberg wins the championship in 61% of simulations (if both drivers have an equal chance of winning a straight fight). If you rate Hamilton as a better driver (I think he’s won 4 of the 6 races unaffected by any car issues this year, a 67% success rate) then he still only wins the championship in 49% of simulations.

    It’s only if you give Hamilton a 90%+ probability of winning each glitch-free encounter with Rosberg that he gets a 2/3 chance of winning the championship.

    Obviously, if Mercedes reliability improves there is a greater probability of the championship going to the stronger rather than the luckier driver, whoever that may be.

  9. ME4ME (@me4me) said on 22nd July 2014, 16:00

    “How Hamilton could win 13 races but lose the title”

    Why always Hamilton? Personally getting a bit fed up with his name popping up in all the news, even if it’s not necessarily all about him. It feeds the critics saying english website = english baised.

    • Michael Brown (@) said on 22nd July 2014, 16:45

      It’s because he’s second in the championship.

      • ME4ME (@me4me) said on 22nd July 2014, 17:39

        This article is about double-points. You could say Rosberg could win X number of races and still loose the WDC. Or just debate double-points without specifying a driver. But as usual it’s about Hamilton. It’s like the article says “oh look how much injustice our dear Hamilton has to withstand”. I find Hamilton a very interesting driver, but sometimes enough is enough.

        • Lari (@lari) said on 22nd July 2014, 17:41

          Amen to that. Tried to suggest that Keith should do it with both scenarios in mind but doesn’t seem to be “compelling” enough for him.

        • David Not Coulthard (@davidnotcoulthard) said on 23rd July 2014, 8:01

          @me4me @lari Because replacing Lewis with Nico would mean replacing the number 13 with 11 .
          11<13, thus "How Nico could lose the championship having won 11 races" is a less compelling sentence than the headline.

          As for "Why not both?", if 1 example already does a good enough job of making readers understand @keithcollantine‘s point, thus fulfilling the purpose of the article, why another?

      • Lari (@lari) said on 22nd July 2014, 17:42

        @lite992 It should be how Rosberg could lost the WDC because he’s leading atm, that would make alot more sense if that’s the criteria.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd July 2014, 18:19

          @lari – Nico Rosberg can’t win 13 races and lose the title. The max races he could win and still lose the title is 11, and that isn’t a record equaling amount of wins in a season like Hamilton’s theoretical 13.

        • The criteria is the most unfair situation. Either driver losing it unfairly is just as bad, but if Lewis loses it, it is 13 wins to 5 vs 11 wins to 7. Lewis’ example is a better showing of the broken system, and thus is the headline.

        • The criteria is the most unfair situation. Either driver losing it unfairly is just as bad, but if Lewis loses it, it is 13 wins to 5 vs 11 wins to 7. Lewis’ example is a better showing of the broken system, and thus is the headline.

  10. Oli (@dh1996) said on 22nd July 2014, 16:14

    The points system if flawed with our without Adu Double. Imagine a consistent driver who scores 5x 4th place and 5x 5th place during the first half of the season in a mediocre car. The team then finds something and he goes on to win 9 races in a row. He will still lose the championship to a guy who scored 19x 2nd places (without double points – with double points he’d actually win tied on points).

    What we really need is the 10-6-4-3-2-1 system. Or a 25-15-10 … system. And no doubles except for 600km races.

    • Michael Brown (@) said on 22nd July 2014, 16:50

      Actually compared to the previous points system of 2009 (10-8-6) a second place is worth less now than it used to be. To match the value of 2009, a second place must be worth 20 points, which was included in the original 2010 points proposal.

  11. jasonpoly said on 22nd July 2014, 16:30

    So what happens if one merc driver is leading the championship by 14 points or less at the start of the last race, but qualifies 2nd..? That could be interesting.

  12. Hamilton got some stick earlier this year for saying he’d prefer if the field were closer, but he had a point even it it was poorly expressed. What makes the race between he and Rosberg so close is that their car is, for all practical purposes, the only one in the field. They could start dead last and second last in a GP this year, or first and last, and still finish first and second. It’s almost impossible for either of them to gain many points on his teammate, barring mechanical issues. If some other team – Williams, most likely – can start finishing between the Mercs then things will get a lot more interesting.

    • Eric (@) said on 22nd July 2014, 20:16

      Hamilton got some stick earlier this year for saying he’d prefer if the field were closer

      And followed that up with a comment about how he wanted to win races by 20s or more as soon as the races started. But then, Hamilton has always been a flip flop like that.

  13. 9 races left:

    Hamilton wins 8 races at 25 points plus last race in second place with double points (36) = 236
    Hamilton: 176 + 236 = 416

    Rosberg wins 8 races at 18 points plus one race in first place with double points (50) = 194
    Rosberg: 190 + 194 = 384

    Am I missing something?

    Anyway the point of the article is more to do with the double points rule which I disagree with. Each victory should be equal to every other.

  14. dutchtreat (@dutchtreat) said on 22nd July 2014, 17:30

    I think if it comes down to the Championship being decided by the double points rule, the Mercedes driver in the lead will not take the win! He will let the #2 car finish ahead.
    After all these guys are not stupid they know to win like that will upset the whole F1 community…

  15. maichael (@maichael) said on 22nd July 2014, 19:11

    I don’t understand why the article suggests Hamilton could be the one to suffer; being as close as they are, they’re both as likely to win or lose out due to the double points rule.

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