A few moons ago scorn was constantly blown Vettel’s way. Why? It was widely felt that Vettel, when he was Red Bull’s gladiator, slaying everyone and collecting scalps, was aboard a superior machine. So, even though he was dominant, his equipment was credited for his achievement.
Red Bull’s superiority, like a derailed train, eventually screeched to a careening halt and Vettel landed at the prancing horse. The prancing horse was not the Kentucky Derby winner of the Schumi era though so it was evident from the onset that Vettel’s flight would be a turbulent one. Perception quickly became reality and the ride was devoid of adjustable dampers!
Several lost titles later, in 2017, Ferrari finally assembled a machine which could give the German Hammer more than a cause for concern. Ferrari rang victory’s bell at the season opener. Vettel’s threatening alarm was audible along the corridors of the Hammer empire. Restless nights were widely distributed in Germany!
Hamilton responded at one of his favorite tracks – China – P1. Vettel was not intimidated. He found oil in Bahrain – P1. Then the unexpected happened. Bottas, the cool character went red hot in Russia – P1!
So, in Spain, Hamilton had a larger burden than that which a Caterpillar 797 is familiar with. Qualifying sent comfort Mercedes’ way – Hamilton P1. But, the constantly changing landscape reared again when the red lights disappeared. Vettel selected hyper-drive and stifled Hamilton. Vettel led at corner 1!
Hamilton played catch up, but there was no catching Vettel – the red mist would not allow it. F1, however, is no longer a race of machines only, winning actually occurs via strategy and the Hammer accessed the algorithm.
Unplanned but fortunate circumstances favored the Hammer – virtual safety car and Bottas playing block the opposition – which allowed Hamilton to appear on faster tyres in the dying stages of the contest. Hamilton’s karting days resurfaced. He chased and swept by a stumbling horse.
Vettel’s mettle, in 2017, is on display, but there is no doubt that Hamilton is ready for the war. The evidence? Hamilton, in a bid to reduce his machines load, chose to go without having sips on board (refreshment). The scale told the tale at the end of the race. Hamilton was 4.5 lbs lighter, but the victory in Spain meant that he was only 6 points behind Vettel in the championship race!
Hamilton vs Vettel vs Bottas – Who will win the 2017 championship?
Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer