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Hungarian Grand Prix: Could Lewis Hamilton’s gesture cost him the title?

Alain Prost (left) won four world titles. But for missing out on the title by two points in 1983 and half a point in 1984 (pictured) it could have been six

It was a very sporting gesture.

Lewis Hamilton kept his word at the Hungarian Grand Prix by handing back third place to his team-mate Valtteri Bottas – a promise made during the race as Hamilton attempted to chase down the leading Ferraris.

But could it come at a price?

Finishing fourth instead of third cost Hamilton three points, meaning Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel leads the Briton by 14 points heading into the summer break.

Since the very first Formula 1 world championship in 1950, 27% of seasons have been decided by three points or fewer, so Hamilton has definitely taken a risk.

Gallery – selected titles decided by three points or fewer

Sir Stirling Moss lost out on the title by three points or fewer on two occasions, in 1956 and 1958.

Tense title deciders

There’s been plenty of thrilling title tussles over the years but these are the 18 that were decided by three points or fewer:

Year Champion Runner up Points difference
1950 Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo) Juan Manuel Fangio (Ferrari) 3
1956 Juan Manuel Fangio (Ferrari) Stirling Moss (Maserati) 3
1958 Mike Hawthorn (Vanwall) Stirling Moss (Cooper-Climax) 1
1961 Phil Hill (Ferrari) Wolfgang von Trips (Ferrari) 1
1964 John Surtees (Ferrari) Graham Hill (BRM) 1
1974 Emerson Fittipaldi (McLaren) Clay Regazzoni (Ferrari) 3
1976 James Hunt (Ferrari) Niki Lauda (Ferrari) 1
1981 Nelson Piquet (Brabham) Carlos Reutemann (Williams) 1
1983 Nelson Piquet (Brabham) Alain Prost (Renault) 2
1984 Niki Lauda (McLaren) Alain Prost (McLaren) 0.5
1986 Alain Prost (McLaren) Nigel Mansell (Williams) 2
1988 Ayrton Senna (McLaren) Alain Prost (McLaren) 3
1994 Michael Schumacher (Benetton) Damon Hill (Williams) 1
1999 Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) Eddie Irvine (Ferrari) 2
2003 Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) 2
2007 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) Lewis Hamilton & Fernando Alonso (both McLaren) 1
2008 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1
2012 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 3

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