Tue 27 May 2008
The last couple of races have got me thinking.
Over the last year or so, Lewis Hamilton has had some brilliant races, and some not so brilliant races where he made some pretty silly mistakes or bad choices.
Given the way last year ended, with those bad choices costing him the world title, it was important that he came out this year and made sure that history didn’t repeat itself. Questions were raised about whether he was experienced and knowledgable enough to set the car up properly and make the difficult decisions that he would have to make if he were to win races and be the champion.
It seems that fate has been on his side in this regard at least. When it’s been questionable whether Hamilton would make a correct decision, the choice has been taken out of his hands in the last couple of races.
In Turkey his team were advised that Lewis was so hard on his tyres that they wouldn’t last the race unless he stopped three times for new rubber. It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened and he managed to snatch an unexpected second place - would he have chosen to do a three stop strategy otherwise? I doubt it, and also doubt he would have managed that second place.
Again, in Monaco last time out fate offered a lending hand to the Englishman. I’m sure he wasn’t thinking it a good thing at the time, but his early pitstop after clattering the barriers actually worked in his favour, allowing the team to fill him with fuel and therefore pit later in the race at the exact time that dry tyres became essential. Without that early mistake, there’s no chance his team would have been so fortunate with their pitstops and I think it unlikely in the extreme that he would have driven to victory.
Personally, I can understand why Lewis and McLaren want to accept all the plaudits for these results but I don’t understand their reluctance to publically accept they have had more than their fair share of luck. There’s no denying that Lewis is a good driver, and McLaren are a good team but sometimes you need to have more than just skill and experience.
This year if Lewis is successful in his title bid then it will come at least partly because of the decisions which have been made for him rather than by him.