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Summary - 2018 was a memorable year for Lewis Hamilton, and a mixed one for England's rugby and cricket teams.

As the year draws to its close, now is a fine time to review a memorable 12 months of sporting action, one that will live long in the memory for the epic moments and glorious triumphs it has produced.

The year has brought many winners, from the European Ryder Cup golf team to the home nations gold medallists in the Commonwealth Games in Australia and Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, who was crowned the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year. 

If there is one man who stands out as a perennial champion, however, it is Lewis Hamilton. His 2018 Formula 1 triumph was his fifth overall and fourth with the Mercedes team. It puts him in the finest of company, drawing level with the number of titles won by the Argentinean great Juan Manuel Fangio. Only Michael Schumacher's tally of seven lies ahead of him.

Hamilton's triumph was all the more impressive because halfway through the season, Mercedes looked to be trailing behind Ferrari. But a series of immensely impressive performances in an improved car saw Hamilton pull clear of Sebastian Vettel, and the title was clinched in Mexico with two races to spare.

If Lewis Hamilton had a triumphant year, the England rugby team had a distinctly mixed one. After winning the first two matches of the Six Nations, the defending champions then succumbed to Scotland, France and eventual winners Ireland.

Having only lost one match previously, head coach Eddie Jones was left facing his first crisis a year out from the World Cup.

The team continued its struggles on the summer tour of South Africa, losing the first two tests before grinding out a win in the third.

A key question was whether the autumn would provide better results. A narrow and lucky victory over South Africa was followed by an equally unfortunate defeat against New Zealand, but Japan and Australia were both defeated heavily to end the year on a high note. The question now is whether England can find a new peak in 2019.

For England's cricketers, this has been a year of two halves, at least in Tests. Having lost 4-0 in the Ashes series down under, they lost 1-0 in Zealand after being bowled out for only 58 in the first Test. When they lost the summer's opening Test against Pakistan, that made it seven defeats in ten matches.

However, after winning the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley to square the series, everything changed. World number one side India were vanquished 4-1, before the first winter tour brought a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka.

It was a year that saw Jimmy Anderson set a new record for the most Test wickets for a fast bowler, while another veteran, Alastair Cook, finished his Test career in style with a match-winning century at the Kia Oval.

At the same time, new players emerged, none more so than all-rounder Sam Curran, whose brilliant lower-order innings helped dig England out of deep holes at crucial moments in the India series. Without him, a handsome series win could have ended in defeat.

While 2019 will bring a home Ashes series, the 50-over team will be hot favourites for the World Cup. They won every single series they played - although there was the embarrassing loss to Scotland in a one-off game - and the batting possesses a level of power and versatility no other side can come near.

It has certainly been quite a year - and one that will surely whet the appetite for the year to come.

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