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Hat-trick high and World title woe

Steven LynchMay 1, 2014
Lewis Hamilton recently won the Chinese Grand Prix © Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton has just won three GPs in a row. Has anyone ever pulled off such a hat-trick before, but not won the world championship that season? asked Bob Goldberg.

This has happened too often for Lewis Hamilton's fans to put the bubbly on ice just yet. In all there have been eight instances of a hat-trick of wins in a season not being enough to give the driver that season's world championship. All of them have been in fairly recent years, when the increased number of races meant that such a hat-trick would not be an almost certain way of claiming the title.

The first instance was in 1979, when Alan Jones won three successive GPs in his Williams - in Germany, Austria and Holland - but a poor start to the season meant he only ended up third in the championship, behind the Ferrari pair of Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve.

Then in 1989 there was an occurrence which might worry the Hamilton camp: Ayrton Senna won the second, third and fourth races of the season - but ended up as the championship runner-up behind his team-mate, Alain Prost. The following year, Prost won three races in the middle of the season, but Senna came out on top in the title race. Then in 1991 Nigel Mansell won three in a row in mid-season, but couldn't overcome the advantage Senna had built up by winning the first four of the year.

In 1993, new boy Damon Hill won three in a row towards the end of the season, but his Williams team-mate Alain Prost had a commanding lead in the championship. The following season Hill managed another hat-trick, but was thwarted this time by Michael Schumacher.

In 1998, Schumacher's own mid-season hat-trick couldn't deprive Mika Hakkinen of the title, and the same thing happened in 2006, when Schumacher's late hat-trick couldn't get him past Fernando Alonso.

Stirling Moss won the last two races of 1957, and the first of 1958 - but didn't win the championship either year (or, indeed, ever). Jim Clark won the last two races of 1967, and the first of 1968, before his fatal accident.

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