Sat 20 Oct 2007
This was being billed as a big weekend for English sport - first up today was the final of the Rugby World Cup, followed tomorrow by Lewis Hamilton striving to win the F1 World Championship.
Unfortunately, the first part hasn’t gone to plan, as the English were beaten in a pretty poor, nervy game by South Africa. There wasn’t a huge amount of good flowing rugby played, and as seems to be the norm these days the emphasis was on kicking penalties and drop goals rather than winning by scoring tries.
England did have one good shout for a try, but the video judge ruled that England’s Mark Cueto had just gone into touch before putting the ball down so the try was ruled out.
It seemed the stage was going to be set for a Jonny Wilkinson inspired comeback, but it failed to materialise and South Africa ran out 15-6 winners and England’s reign as the world champions has come to an end.
Will Lewis Hamilton’s drive for the F1 World Championship also falter at the final stage tomorrow, or can he go one further than his country’s rugby squad and captured the glory?
Mathematically he has a huge advantage, and to a certain extent his destiny is at least in his own hands - as long as he finishes first or second he will be the champion. If that doesn’t happen then there are a huge number of possible outcomes so as the race progresses tomorrow we may see the title heading in different directions, but it’s what happens at the end of the final lap which counts.
Lewis will start on the front row of the grid just behind the Ferrari of Massa, which must be more or less what he wanted - the last thing he can afford is to be caught up in a midfield tangle of cars which would leave the way open for his teammate and main rival Fernando Alonso to race his way to the championship. Being out front, he should be able to avoid too much trouble at the first corner, which will then allow him to settle down in the race and stifle his nerves a bit.
The other two drivers in with a chance of winning, Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen both know that to stand any chance they simply must score points tomorrow - and lots of them. So from that point of view they have to steer clear of any trouble at the start as well. Alonso has the biggest chance of overtaking Hamilton and clinching the title, but he does face an uphill challenge starting from fourth on the grid.
Massa faces a strange race tomorrow - it’s his home grand prix so of course he will want to win it, but his teammate really could do with his help in slowing down Hamilton to help Raikkonen’s chances in the title race. So what does he do? It’s a tough one to call, as he can’t blatantly hold up those behind him or he risks being penalised yet running off into the distance and winning the race himself doesn’t help his team any. It’s going to make for an interesting race that’s for sure!
I’m no big fan of Hamilton, as any reader of the blog will know, but if he wins tomorrow then no-one can say he hasn’t deserved it. He has had more than his fair share of luck in many ways (even before his entry into F1), but then he has also driven way beyond what anyone expected of him in his first year (except perhaps his Uncle Ron).
Having said that, if Kimi or Alonso win then you can’t really argue that they don’t deserve it either!
I’m just looking forward to what will hopefully be an exciting second part to this big sporting weekend.