Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lewis Hamilton Wins F1 Driver's Championship

I first began following racing in the 80's. I used to read car mags like Road and Track, Car and Driver, and Motor Trend as if they were a lifeline. They were to some degree because it took my mind off of the everyday drama that was school.

I had my favorite F1 drivers. Alain Prost. Ayrton Senna. Even Nigel Mansell, although he always looked kinda mean. To this day I can still feel what it was like to be in the car with them when I used to read descriptions of the driving prowess that these champions had.

As great as they were, there was one man that never won a championship who I'd get a glimpse of from time to time, scattered through the year in magazine articles. His name was Willy T. Ribbs. He was my hero. He was an underdog. He never seemed to be able to get sponsorship or a good car, although he was bubbling over with driving talent. And, he was impossibly fast on road courses throughout the US.

And so it is with Lewis Hamilton. Unlike with Willy, though, Lewis has had an inside lane on the Formula 1, with ties to the McLaren-Mercedes team early on in his young racing career. But, like Willy, he's fast. Really fast. And that's all that should really matter in racing.

I understand that in Brazil and Spain there have been decidedly racist sentiments in the crowd and online. The problem with that type of an attitude is that mean spirits and vulgarity doesn't make you slower, especially if you have a good ride. Sorry haters. To have Hamilton win the World Championship on the second to the last lap of the last race of the season must sting a little.

German language clip of the last lap.

My hat is off to Mr. Hamilton, now the youngest driver to ever win the Formula 1 Championship. He will be a hero to many regardless of the color his skin, or theirs. And he is mostly definitely a hero to me.

Cheers Lewis!


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