F1 : HAMILTON SENNA-LIKE – VETTEL FUMBLES!

Author : cmunroe

There is a gentleman who earns 8 million dollars – US – per hour! Do you know who he is?

What a difference a week makes! At the end of the Belgian GP Lewis Hamilton did something that very few drivers usually do. Hamilton is not used to being pummeled relentlessly. At Spa he was on the receiving end of an onslaught of pace he has never seen from the Scarlet warrior.

MERCEDES

Befuddled and far from amused, Hamilton was left searching for answers. He went in search of those answers. Moments after he exited¬† his spent Mercedes in parc ferme, he shamelessly visited Vettel’s Ferrari. His examination was brief, but I am certain he grabbed all of the visible speed cues he could access and then some.

I can recall multiple World Champion, Michael Schumacher, doing similar R&D in parc ferme when his Ferrari was being bludgeoned by McLaren.

In the post race interview a stunned Hamilton responded – “He drove pass me like I wasn’t even there”. How often do you see Hamilton playing “catch up”?

At Spa, Ferrari’s “trick things” – Hamilton’s words – saw the Ferrari delivering oppressive speed. Hamilton and Mercedes were finally cornered and comprehensively beaten.

MONZA

The Italian GP – Monza – was next and with only a week separating the two GPs, the writing was on the track even before the machines were set free for FP1.

As expected, the Ferraris were in beast-mode. Hamilton was relegated to catch up – again – but pole selected an unfamiliar face – Raikkonen.

Larry Henriques has a habit of explaining to drivers at the pre-race meeting that the race cannot be won at corner 1, but it definitely can be lost! He would have a difficult time convincing F1 drivers that his statement is one of fact.

F1 is a complicated adventure in speed. It is a sport in which ‘dirty’ air and ‘clean’ air engage in a ceaseless war. Exiting corner one (or the first couple of corners) in the lead, carries more weight than a ton of lead!

Vettel, starting at P2 knew this. Hamilton starting at P3 knew he could not allow the Ferraris to enjoy a smooth get away.

It is my view that Vettel’s focus chose the incorrect target. He wanted to clip Kimi’s wings and snatch the lead. He should have had all his energy directed at ensuring that he escaped Hamilton’s grasp. I maintain the view that if Vettel sat at P2, as the race progressed, the team, without admitting it, would possibly ‘engineer’ a passing opportunity for him.

Hamilton had a week to reflect, rethink his options, fine-tune his race strategy and sharpen his spear of aggression. When the lights disappeared, all three machines responded positively. It was immediately evident that Vettel was gunning for P1 – Kimmi defended.

Vettel lost the corner 1 battle, but he insisted and organized another assault. He lost sight of his real mission – Hamilton.

Hamilton was the dark horse behind the two red-rocket horses. Corner 1 was history, but not long after, Vettel’s myopic approach gave Hamilton a gap the size of a needle’s eye! Aryton Senna intervened. Who gives a multiple World Champion a gap?

Hamilton’s brute force possibly caught Vettel by surprise and when he countered, Hamilton was already in the space that he had previously occupied – they made contact – Vettel spun – damage control.

Kimi was still in the lead, but I have not yet seen the driver on the grid, in the current format, who can suppress a charging Hamilton. Kimi fought as best he could and he fought well. But at Monza, possibly  motivated by detractors and the innumerable Tifosi voices, chanting and booing, Hamilton delivered that which separates him from the ordinary.

Hamilton ascended to the top step. Italy wept! The Fight for Five continues. At Monza, Hamilton selected Senna-mode and stoutly defended his position as the best F1 driver of the current era.

Can Vettel recover? Is this the beginning of the end for Vettel’s Fight for Five?

The nightmare continues for Italy!

VETTEL FUMBLES!

Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer

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