Sunday, November 2, 2008

He Did It! Cue "We Are The Champions"

At the last corner on the final lap of the ultimate 2008 F1 Grand Prix season, Lewis Hamilton gained back the one place he needed in order to clinch the world driver's championship. Just as he lost by one point last year, so he duly won the most coveted prize in motor racing by one point also in this.

After a somewhat dodgy start, things were going swimmingly well, with Hamilton in a solid 4th place and holding station, right up until the last 6 laps that is, when it rained again....

Five of the front runners pitted to switch to wet tyres with Hamilton joining in. However, one car - Glock's - stayed out on dry rubber meaning Lewis was now running 5th. Two laps before the end, Kubica, a back marker at that stage but on a charge (for some reason), pushed past Vettel and was sitting right behind Hamilton. Lewis sensibly let him past but in the process slipped wide and Vettel pounced. Hamilton was now 6th and was about to repeat the misery of losing it all in the final race once again. The whole UK held its breath, but by now it was clear he wasn't going to be able to get Vettel back before the end of the race. Unbelievable. After 17.98 races, Hamilton was going to lose again by reason of total race victories in the year; the points tally with Massa, now taking a comfortable win up ahead, was even.

We Brits are good at defeat. We far prefer winning, of course, but given our relative size and importance on the world stage these days, coming second is still quite respectable (See what I mean? If proof were ever needed....) But just then, with the pack comprising places 4 through 6 approaching the final straight, a glimmer of hope. Glock, who had stayed on dry-weather tyres as everyone switched to wets, had finally reached the limits of what he could achieve and had slowed dramatically as he lost more and more grip in the increasing rain. While Massa was crossing the finish line to take first place, and Ferrari were wildly celebrating his winning the world driver's title to boot, he was actually in the process of losing it.

Hamilton passed Glock and crossed the line to finish 5th, just enough to clinch the crown in only his second year as a Formula 1 driver.

An unbelievable and fairy tale ending to an unbelievable and ... well you get the picture. This has been the most exciting season I can remember for many a long year and for once, just once, we can celebrate a new world championship at the end of it all.

I'm off to the pub ... so good job I'm on a layover in London before heading to Geneva! That beer is about to taste pretty damn good. Congratulations to Ron Dennis and all the team at McLaren. Despite everything, you did it.

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