November 02, 2008

"You will never see a more dramatic conclusion to any motor race...: let alone a grand prix, and the result of it all is that, in the most harum scarum way possible - he doesn't make it easy for himself, does he? - Lewis Hamilton is the world champion." (Video here for the moment.)

(And for election prognosticators: Damon Hill/96; Mansell/92; Hunt/76; Surtees/64.)

posted by etagloh to auto racing at 08:25 PM - 12 comments

I felt neither driver deserved the title this year to be quite honest. To many incidents of piss poor driving. And it really did seem Lewis was trying very hard to not win the title this year. He is aware that you don't get extra kudos or money for it being close, right? Since God knows he really seemed determined to make it as close as possible.

However, regardless of who won, that race today was astonishing. I've followed this silly sport for 22 years now. My first memory of it was Mansell's tyre exploding in Adelaide, so I'm experienced of seeing Brit drivers snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

For the title to come down to the last corner of the last lap is just... I finished watching half an hour ago after avoiding the result all day. I am still shaking from the excitement. I was QUITE LITERALLY on the edge of my seat.

Who is champion is irrelevant. I don't really care for either driver, as neither is the best driver in F1. (That would be Alonso, and many people in F1 agree.)

The big winner today, after so much bullshit and controversy, was the sport. Really, you couldn't ask for a more perfect ending to the championship. For the race winner to cross the line and the championship to still be in the air. Amazing.

The season was one to forget. The final race was one for the history books.

posted by Drood at 12:10 AM on November 03

Well, remember that FIA gifted Massa 7 points (6 at Spa, the other 1 in his incident with Bourdais), so Hamilton would've wrapped up the championship in China with his win there.

posted by gyc at 01:19 PM on November 03

Unlike Drood, I think Hamilton deserved the championship and had to beat not only his rivals, but also the sport's organizers. The FIA and various race stewards tried their damndest to steal it from McLaren and package it for Ferrari. Thank God they failed.

The Ferrari team behaved badly, never acknowledging their (many) mistakes and encouraging investigations into everything so they could win on technicalities. The favoritism (or antipathy toward McLaren) from the FIA turned Ferrari into the worst kind of spoiled teacher's pet. I hold no ill will toward Massa or his family, but it was sweet revenge to the Ferrari garage celebrating early.

However, I will agree that Alonso has shown himself to be a cut above the rest in a lesser car. Hopefully Renault will continue their strong run into next season.

On a side note: what the hell was Kubica doing? He was lapped yet he inserted himself in the championship fight on the last lap?

posted by dusted at 01:29 PM on November 03

An exciting (if not excellent) finish to a repeatedly bizarre season.

The officiating got in the way of my enjoyment of the season somewhat - I could sort of ignore the Spa debacle because Hamilton put himself into a position where the stewards had to make a decision, but the drive through penalty assessed to Hamilton in Japan was bizarre. He outbraked himself into the first corner and forced Raikonnen wide and picked up a drive through for that, whereas in the last event Rosberg crashed into the back of Coulthard and Trulli forced Bourdais off onto the grass and they're considered "racing incidents" not even worthy of examination.

And that was still only the second craziest decision in Japan, behind the penalty for Bourdais for who knows what - "being on the track" perhaps.

Maybe everyone should paint their cars red.

Now I hope that Renault, BMW and RBR are all on their A-game over the off-season and pull out ultra-competitive cars for 2009, so that we can have an six man race for the title between Alonso, Raikkonen, Massa, Hamilton, Vettel and Kubica.

If the stewards could stay out of the way of that, that'd be awesome.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:06 PM on November 03

Second Thoughts for the Second Man. Clive at F1 Insight makes the case that Massa does not deserve the sympathy being heaped on him.

posted by dusted at 03:33 PM on November 03

Dusted: There is no rule that says a driver can't unlap themselves. He was on better tyres at the time. Was he supposed to just sit there and risk his own race? I've seen people saying Kubica should be disqualified, which just shows how little some people understand the sport, and they clearly only give a shit about a certain driver in a Silver car, which, as a fan of the sport before any driver, pisses me off.

As for the FIA dodgy officiating... Whatever, where have you people been? This has been going on since the 1950's. I guess I just don't get upset about it anymore as it's just part of the sport.

And despite loathing Ferrari, I didn't see anything wrong this year. Never attribute to malice what can adequately be attributed to stupidity. Certainly not of the caliber of Alonso being punished for "blocking" when he was 96 meters ahead of Massa at Monza.

And the drive through in Japan was irrelevant anyway as Lewis had destroyed his tyres in his first corner stupidity and they were down to the canvas when he pitted, so he shot himself in the foot (once again) long before anyone else did. Not to mention the penalty was fair as his driving can be directly attributed to Coulthard's accident which in turn ruined Nakajima's race. When your actions destroy one car and damage another, yeah, I'd call a drive through more than fair.

And comparing incidents from Brazil is a little uneven as the track was soaked. Though I agree, Trulli was out of line with that move on Bourdais. But did the team contact the stewards? It's fine for everyone to sit and criticise but you have NO idea what is going on in the pitlane and the communication that's going on. Perhaps STR didn't complain to the stewards.

It's very easy to sit there and watch on TV and think you know better than the stewards. The reality however is somewhat different.

145 days until the next season.

The title is merely on loan to Hamilton from Alonso. ;)

posted by Drood at 03:43 PM on November 03

And the Second Thoughts link... What a crock. MOST drivers would vehemently defend themselves to the stewards. Blame the stewards all you want.

Petty articles like that make me sick. Fine, have your beef with Massa, but leave his family out of it. And how is having a race victory "stolen" comparable to losing a world championship? Honestly, that sight is the least appropriately named site on the net. No "insight. Should be "F1 Vindictiveness".

Lewis fans really are some of the nastiest pieces of work it's ever been my misfortune to encounter in 20+ years following this sport.

posted by Drood at 03:50 PM on November 03

Drood, your comments just show that two people can look at the same facts and come up with entirely opposite conclusions. Of course, I'm right and you're wrong...

If you cared for the sport as much as you claim, you'd be yelling at the top of your lungs about the FIA corruption instead of calling it a "part of the sport." There have been bad decisions in the past, but this season has seen an unconscionable amount of interference. It's been a farce, a race between the stewards, lawyers and race control.

But by all means, ignore the facts and attack the fans.

posted by dusted at 04:34 PM on November 03

The favoritism (or antipathy toward McLaren)

Yeah, I guess cheating their way through the last year with stolen specs could cause problems further down the line. Who knew?

posted by rodgerd at 04:59 PM on November 03

you'd be yelling at the top of your lungs about the FIA corruption

Were you yelling about McLaren's cheating last year?

posted by rodgerd at 04:59 PM on November 03

"When your actions destroy one car and damage another, yeah, I'd call a drive through more than fair."

And so Nico's drive through for sunday was... where, exactly? This is the point I was trying to get across - you shouldn't misread my question as some sort of McLaren fan-boy nonsense. In my time watching F1 I've come to the opinion that the Stewards close their eyes for the first few corners, because there has been bumping and boring and front wings coming off in Turn 1s around the world for decades without action, (including this sunday), so I was perplexed as to why it was that specific incident that woke them up.

When it was followed later by the Bourdais penalty, I marked it down to general buffoonery.

"did the team contact the stewards? It's fine for everyone to sit and criticise but you have NO idea what is going on in the pitlane and the communication that's going on. Perhaps STR didn't complain to the stewards. "

STR, (or any other team), don't need to complain to the Stewards for them to investigate an incident.

The Race Director can report an incident to the Stewards for investigation, or the Stewards can contact the Race Director and say "we think this incident needs our investigation - please advise." Neither of those options require the action of any team to trigger.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:37 PM on November 03

Changes to race stewarding announced:

1. Written explanations of decisions.

2. All film used in making the decision will be made available to the public.

3. Replay system to try to make all decisions during the race, rather than after.

4. Training system for stewards requiring observational role for five races before stewarding a race.

5. Short bio of stewards to be posted online.

6. Encourage former race drivers to become stewards? Not sure about this one...

Anyway, positive changes toward transparency and better-trained stewards. Hopefully us nasty Lewis fans will have less to complain about next year.

posted by dusted at 02:43 PM on November 06

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