Sunday, October 7, 2007

Gutted ... But Still Hopeful

Blitzen' Benz

I was hoping here to be celebrating the first British Formula 1 world champion since Damon Hill clinched it in 1996, but alas it was not to be - at least, not yet.

Lewis Hamilton had a shot at clinching the championship in the penultimate race, in Shanghai, early this morning. Alas, he slid off trying to make the last corner before reaching the pit-lane. He'd stayed out too long on worn tyres and that, combined with very slippery conditions, meant his hopes were dashed as his car ended up stuck in the gravel trap.

He still leads the points total for the year and so nevertheless goes into the last race in a strong position, but it would have been a fitting end to a quite remarkable year to see him wrap it up with one race still to go.

Fingers crossed that in Brazil in two weeks time he can still lift the driver's title for himself and Mercedes McLaren, thereby becoming not just the youngest champion ever but also the only driver to come out on top in his first year in F1. And if you get the chance and want to see what the fuss is all about, just watch his final qualifying lap for Shanghai. A quite astonishing performance, seemingly effortless but yet completely focused. It's no exaggeration to say that Hamilton is the first modern-era driver I've seen who could realistically be compared with Ayrton Senna.

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