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When will Lewis put it all on red?

Who will remember the scrappy race for a P9 finish that confirmed Lewis Hamilton as 2017 world champion? Probably not too many F1 Racing readers, I’d venture – unless they’re ardent fans of dominant race winner Max Verstappen of course.

It was a flaccid title conclusion to a season that has been positively thrilling for two thirds of its duration – that is until lap 4 of the Japanese Grand Prix, when a spark-plug failure on Sebastian Vettel’s SF70H ushered him into retirement and simultaneously banished his title hopes to the realms of ‘mathematical possibility’.

What a reversal! Vettel had led the drivers’ world championship for 12 uninterrupted rounds, from Melbourne to Spa. But since the summer break and Hamilton’s win in Belgium, he and Mercedes have been dominant, winning five from six, with P2 in Malaysia and only that one slip-up in Mexico.

As the most successful Brit by any statistical measure, he is worthy of the admiration of every fan.

No question, then, that the right man won – and F1 Racing will be celebrating Hamilton’s stunning achievements in full next month. As the most successful Brit by any statistical measure, and surely one of the fastest men ever to have driven an F1 car, he is worthy of the admiration of every fan.

Yet Lewis’s claim to greatness would be further enhanced if he did one thing: race for Ferrari. Indeed, I’d go further, he must drive for Ferrari to establish himself as an immortal, for in embracing the Scuderia he would embrace the possibility of failure and imperfection. These qualities may be anathema to the titans who’ve marched through F1 over the years, but they’re intrinsic to the magic of the scarlet team and essential to understanding why ‘The Reds’ and their drivers are so revered: they appeal to our souls as much as to our heads.

Nigel Mansell, heroic though he always was for Williams, only became Il Leone at Ferrari. The Schumacher legend was written in red ink. Gilles Villeneuve: the Ferrari archetype. Senna, we know, had agreed to conclude his racing career in cars from Maranello. Imagine the power of a Hamilton-Ferrari combination, were he to make the switch.

By 2021, Vettel’s contract will have expired and Kimi Räikkönen will surely have retired – so an opportunity is likely to arise whereby Hamilton could join Ferrari as a five-, six- or even seven-time champion. It’s an enticing prospect, even if all these conversations are rendered moot by the emergence of Verstappen as The Man.

Enough romanticism already! Though, maybe not… We make no excuses for painting F1 Racing red this month, to celebrate Ferrari’s 70th year.

Long may they rule our hearts.

Anthony Rowlinson
Editorial Director

Inside the issue

This month's features include

70 years of Ferrari
Richard Williams explores the myth and magic behind this special team

Can Ferrari win titles again?
Vettel’s impressive run this year is a sure sign that the Scuderia are heading in the right direction

Now that was a Ferrari
A look back at seven dream machines from each of Ferrari’s seven decades in Formula 1

History of Ferrari: Part 1
We revisit 1947 and the birth of Ferrari, continuing through the early struggles and Ascari’s dominance

The heroes of Ferrari
In conjunction with FerrariChat.com, we asked who was the greatest Ferrari GP winner of all time. And now the results are in… 

A new start for Sainz
At the US GP he graduated from Toro Rosso to Renault. F1R was there to see how he got on

Alonso in Tokyo
A pre-Japanese GP publicity stunt for the launch of Fernando’s new clothing range gets out of hand

You ask the questions...
...and young Red Bull ace Max Verstappen answers them

Plus

Ignition
What next for Lewis Hamilton?

Parades
The very best F1 photography

F1 insider
Expert opinion and analysis

Racer’s edge
Peter Windsor on the drivers’ favourite: Macau

This F1 life
Pat Symonds on learning to accept failure

Power play
Dieter Rencken on how Ferrari control the future of F1

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