Japanese GP, 2008 – Felipe Massa
Having narrowly missed out on the title in his debut F1 season, Hamilton overcame the disappointment and challenged again in 2008. He was involved in a close fight with Ferrari rival Felipe Massa in a season full of tension and drama. With only three races remaining, and separated by just seven points in Hamilton's favour, the pair clashed at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Hamilton had started on pole position at the Fuji Speedway but locked up heavily into Turn 1 and dropped down to sixth, behind Massa. After diving up the inside at Turn 10, Hamilton found himself on the outside at Turn 11 and was nudged into a spin by his title rival, who had bounced over the kerbs.
Massa was given a drive-through for his role in the incident, but the same penalty was handed out to Hamilton for forcing Kimi Raikkonen wide at the start. Massa salvaged two points in seventh, with Hamilton more than a minute adrift of winner Fernando Alonso in 12th. Hamilton would come out on top at the end of the campaign in a hugely dramatic finale in Brazil.
Belgian GP, 2014 – Nico Rosberg
After clinching his first title with McLaren in 2008, Hamilton had to wait six more years to fight for another. He joined Nico Rosberg at Mercedes for 2013 and, initially, all seemed well. However, as the Silver Arrows stole a march on the field at the start of the sport’s turbo-hybrid era in 2014, Hamilton and Rosberg found themselves going head-to-head for the crown.
Matters quickly turned sour and, after several close calls, came to a head at the Belgian Grand Prix. Hamilton got the jump on Rosberg at the start and held the lead going into Lap 2 at Spa-Francorchamps. Rosberg tucked into the slipstream along the Kemmel Straight and attempted a move around the outside of Les Combes, only for his front wing to connect with Hamilton's left-rear tyre, inflicting a puncture on his teammate.
Rosberg continued to finish second, while Hamilton eventually retired as a result of the damage. Hamilton nonetheless went on to win the title.
Spanish GP, 2016 – Nico Rosberg
Two years and several more controversial moments later, Hamilton and Rosberg collided again – this time in spectacular fashion at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
After losing the lead to Rosberg at the start, Hamilton fought back through Turns 2 and 3 to get a run on his teammate. However, as Rosberg – in the wrong engine mode – robustly defended his position, Hamilton went onto the grass and lost control of his car, resulting in a dramatic collision between the two Mercedes drivers at Turn 4. Both retired on the spot, opening the door for Max Verstappen to take an unlikely win on his debut for the senior Red Bull team. Mercedes bosses were furious and it marked a new low in the Hamilton/Rosberg dynamic.
Hamilton won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015, but 2016 proved to be Rosberg's year and, after such a mammoth effort to overcome Hamilton, he retired as World Champion.
Austrian GP, 2016 – Nico Rosberg
It wasn't the only incident between the pair in 2016, as Hamilton and Rosberg clashed again at the Austrian Grand Prix. Hamilton started on pole at the Red Bull Ring but a slow pit-stop dropped him behind Rosberg. In the closing stages, Hamilton closed in on his teammate and ramped up the pressure.
An excellent run out of Turn 1 gave Hamilton a shot at overtaking Rosberg into Turn 2 on the final lap of the race. Hamilton moved to the outside for the braking zone, but Rosberg turned in late and the pair made contact; Rosberg's front wing was damaged, while Hamilton was pushed off the track. They almost hit each other again when Hamilton rejoined the track. Hamilton moved ahead at Turn 3 and took the chequered flag, while Rosberg limped home to fourth – behind Verstappen and Raikkonen – with damage.
Azerbaijan GP, 2017 – Sebastian Vettel
In 2017, Hamilton was involved in a bizarre incident with Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel behind the Safety Car at the Baku City Circuit.
As Hamilton rounded the tight Turn 15 at particularly low speed, Vettel got caught out and ran into the back of the Mercedes. Believing that he had been brake tested, a furious Vettel drew alongside Hamilton's car and swerved sideways into it. Hamilton denied Vettel's claims and described the German's actions as "disgusting". Vettel was given a stop-go penalty for dangerous driving, but still finished ahead of Hamilton, who was forced to pit with a loose headrest.
Amid calls for a more severe penalty, a post-race examination of the clash took place, though Vettel escaped further action after admitting responsibility and apologising. "I had no intention at any time to put Lewis in danger, but I understand that I caused a dangerous situation. Therefore, I would like to apologise to the FIA," said a contrite Vettel.
Hamilton won that year's title after Vettel and Ferrari's bid unravelled through a series of costly late-season incidents.
Mexican GP, 2017 – Sebastian Vettel
Hamilton and Vettel met each other on track once more in 2017 at the Mexican Grand Prix, a race that proved to be decisive for the championship.
Vettel started on pole, ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton, with the three drivers running next to each other into the first chicane. Verstappen went around the outside of Vettel into the first right-hander, where they banged wheels and bodywork, allowing Hamilton to get in on the action at the left-hander. But then, on the exit of the chicane, and having edged ahead, Hamilton was tagged by Vettel. Both drivers had to pit for repairs – Vettel for a new front wing, and Hamilton replacement tyres – and dropped to the back of the grid.
Vettel needed to finish second to keep his title hopes alive, but could only manage fourth, meaning ninth-placed Hamilton secured a fourth crown.
Italian GP, 2018 – Sebastian Vettel
Hamilton went head-to-head with Vettel again in 2018 and they were separated by just 17 points as the paddock arrived at Ferrari's home race at Monza.
It started well for the Scuderia, as their drivers locked out the front row of the grid, though Vettel was frustrated at losing out to Raikkonen and the potential to put a car between himself and Hamilton. Having almost collided at the first chicane, Hamilton got a run on Vettel into the second braking zone and went for a move around the outside. However, they made contact midway through the chicane and Vettel was sent spinning to the back of the field.
After a crucial mistake at the German Grand Prix, it marked another blow for Vettel, who could only recover to fourth as Hamilton grabbed the win. There was no looking back for Hamilton, who stormed towards a fifth title.
British GP, 2021 – Max Verstappen
After several wheel-to-wheel scraps earlier in the 2021 season, the inevitable happened at Silverstone when Hamilton and Verstappen came together on the opening lap of the race.
In a frantic first half of the lap, Verstappen held onto the lead up until the old pit straight, where Hamilton managed to force a gap and get alongside going into Copse. As they entered the corner and their lines converged, Hamilton's front-left tyre made contact with Verstappen's rear-right tyre, sending Verstappen sideways into the barriers at high speed – recording a massive 51G impact in the process.
Verstappen was taken to hospital for precautionary checks, while Hamilton was given a 10-second time penalty after the stewards deemed him predominantly to blame. Despite this, Hamilton recorded victory on home soil. In the immediate aftermath, tensions between Red Bull and Mercedes reached boiling point.
Italian GP, 2021 – Max Verstappen
After a well-needed summer break, and two clean events, Hamilton and Verstappen collided again at Monza.
The pair went wheel-to-wheel through the first chicane as Hamilton came out of the pits, with Verstappen using his momentum to draw alongside. Verstappen hung on around the outside of the right-hand part of the chicane, before the pair made contact at the apex of the left-hander. Verstappen hit the sausage kerb and was sent flying, his Red Bull getting pitched over the top of the Mercedes. Both drivers were eliminated on the spot, with Hamilton's Halo saving him from serious injury.
Verstappen held on to a five-point lead in the standings, with the rivalry showing no signs of easing up.
While Max Verstappen is most known for his performances in a Red Bull F1 car, his passion for motorsport can be seen in what he drives when he's away from the track.