Monday, April 19, 2010

Lewis Hamilton's XXI

A number of interesting points emerged from Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, not least of which is that the WWF have apparently now been put in charge of Formula One pace-car deployment.

Normally virtuous individuals can sometimes behave in a steely manner when they perceive themselves to be the victim of injustice, and there seemed to be more than a little of this when, just before the re-start of the race on lap 25, Jenson Button slowed the artificially concertinaed pack to the type of crawl last seen when Michael Schumacher was in the sport. The intervention of the pace-car had brought Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bulls to within striking distance of Button's McLaren, and if all three had come together at the final corner, Jenson would surely not have shed a tear.

Another revelation to arise from Shanghai is that it's ok to nail your team-mate under braking on the pitlane entry road. Racing in the pit-lane itself is also just about ok, so long as you only make one move.

Despite Button's finely-judged brace of victories in Australia and China, the true racing star of the past three Grands Prix has surely been Lewis Hamilton. In fact, Lewis has executed at least 21 on-track overtaking manoeuvres, for position, in these races alone. Not counting positions gained in pit-stops, cars overtaken on the drag to the first corner, positions gained from retirements, or places ceded by vastly slower cars, this is the count:*

Button (Lap 6, inside of turn 3)
Barrichello (Lap 11, inside of turn 9)
Massa (Lap 16, around outside of turn 2)
Webber (Lap 16, turn 3, Webber on the inside running into the gravel)
Massa (Lap 22, clipping the Ferrari's rear tyre down the pit-straight)
Rosberg (Lap 26, around the outside into turn 11)

Buemi (Lap 2)
Alguersuari (Lap 3)
Kobayashi (Lap 4, inside first corner)
Petrov (Lap 5, inside final corner, re-passed into turn 1 on lap 6)
Petrov (Lap 7, inside final corner)

Barrichello (Lap 7, Barrichello running wide into hairpin)
Webber (Lap 9, slipstream down back straight)
Vettel (Lap 11, Vettel running wide at hairpin)
Sutil (Lap 11, Sutil running wide at hairpin)
Schumacher (Lap 16, cutting inside exiting hairpin)
Webber (Lap 25, inside of final corner at the re-start)
Schumacher (Lap 26, inside of turn 9)
Petrov (Lap 27, inside of turn 9)
Kubica (Lap 29, outside down back-straight)
Rosberg (Lap 36, inside turn 9, re-passed into turn 10)

Which is something for the rest of the field to ponder as the new charter airline, RonAir, makes its first flight from Shanghai to Spain this week.

* Jonathan Noble claims that Lewis has completed 32 competitive overtaking moves in the first four races. This count perhaps includes some of categories excluded above.


Sean said...

Of all the drivers Lewis is the one I would pay to watch going round circuits by himself.

I always tell people Senna is the best ive seen, and make a point of it when talking to Germans, I am beginning to think Lewis is better.

Gordon McCabe said...

Yep. In some ways, Lewis is almost a combination of Senna and Gilles Villenueve. He needs to demonstrate, however, that he can think tactically during a race.