Lewis Hamilton’s lifted his fifth Grand Prix yesterday, a feat that has only been surpassed by Michael Schumacher who collected a total of seven championships.
The win, however, did little to shift the odds on Hamilton lifting this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award which will be held on Sunday, December 16th in Birmingham’s Gentling Arena.
The Formula One driver – priced at 6/1 by all major bookmakers – continues to be considered as an outsider for this trophy at least.
The explanation for the bookies’ valuation is likely due to Hamilton having already scooped the award back in 2014, when he lifted the Grand Prix title for a second time.
Two candidates sit ahead of the Formula One driver in the bookies’ lineup of favorites – Harry Kane whose 41 goals in club football over the course of the 2017/2018 and subsequent Golden Boot at this year’s World Cup have placed the England striker at second favorite on 3/1; and Welshman Geraint Thomas who carried off this year’s Tour de France and is listed as outright favorite at 6/4.
Whilst the achievements of Kane and Thomas are noteworthy, it does feel that Hamilton may unfairly miss out on the recognition that five years at the top of his sport would seem to deserve.
History Repeats With Little Pattern
For SPOTY, however, history rarely repeats itself – only four sportsmen or women have ever won the award more than once. Tellingly, however, two of those were Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill, themselves both former Formula One champions, leaving an argument in its wake that that Hamilton may indeed be overpriced.
Hill first won the BBC prize in ’94 for having finished second in that year’s GP after one unfortunate collision in the final race undid an entire season’s work, arguably making that year’s SPOTY the largest sympathy vote in British sporting history.
Hill, nonetheless, did pick up a second SPOTY in ’96 when he finally landed his first and only GP in that same year. If the BBC prize was awarded on the back of historical comparison alone, Hamilton would surely be favorite.
However, the vote is one that is ultimately decided by the public, and it may be that there has been one media controversy too many over the years by Britain’s all-time leading Formula One driver.
On the other hand, the British public have been not unknown to demonstrate a short memory on occasion. And if that’s the case, then Hamilton is arguably the best value bet we have seen for the BBC prize in a long time.