November 2, 2008

Two Champions.

Thing is, in sports somebody has to win and somebody has to come in second so, congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and McLaren for the Driver's Championship and Ferrari for the constructor's title.

But I would make the case the correct outcome should have been the reverse, Massa and Mclaren.   Hamilton's title was built on his own talent of course, but also very much on Ferrari's mistakes. Mclaren gave him a car which never failed and the benefit of unchallenged number one status.  Even so, I think it would be fair to say Ferrari lost the title for Massa rather than that Hamilton beat him.  Massa had more race wins, more fast laps and just one less pole.  Crucially, it was mechanical failures and that clown moment in Singapore which cost him the title. Mclaren as a team were essentially perfect and without question deserved the constructor's championship more than Ferrari this year.

Everyone naturally will be gushing about Hamilton so indulge me if I spend a few words for Massa, up to now the Rodney Dangerfield of Formula one. 

We've been hard on Massa and at times deservedly but Felipe finally got his respect.  He's not the slick driver with the immense natural talent, he did not have the benefit of a planned career and a top team his first time out, he spent time as a test driver and he's the guy who works hard and learned to develop his skills. This makes him a more sympathetic character.
I came across this moment at the end of the race today I thought was emblematic: it's Massa's race engineer Rob Smedley, emotional and no doubt wondering what could have been. Smedley was a key to Massa's success this year, an expert in telemetry interpretation it was him who would convince Felipe that certain corners might be taken faster and that the car could be pushed further. Part friend, part psychologist, Massa's success would have been very much his as well,  who can say if Massa will ever be in this position again?

Maybe cheesy to say but in the end, as fans, we all won: for the second year in a row we've had a nail biter of epic proportions.  I think this added another ten years to Bernie Ecclestone's life he must be so happy. 

By one point on the last corner of the last can't make this stuff up.  

Felipe last lap in Brazil

( Thank you all for your comments after the race,  and I do mean all of you,  it's great you participate and make these pages more interesting and alive!)


  1. Was it just me, or did it seem like Fernando was caught off guard when Kimi said he did as he was told so he didn't challenge Fernando for 2nd during the post-race interview? And Glock was BFF up until the last corner. Poor Massa....

  2. Massa was the better driver, Lewis had the more reliable car. One thing's for certain, though; there hasn't been a less likable champion in a very long time. Schumacher was a prick but he also had some respect for the sport.

  3. "there hasn't been a less likable champion in a very long time"

    JV? MS in his later more stroppy years?

    Hamilton is a bit of a polariser, but he's certainly not universally disliked. He suffers from bad press from a few sources in particular. That's not to say he's not got a lot of dislikeable qualities either though.

    I think you can make an argument for both guys to have won, same as last year when Kimi won.

    Ultimately we got some fantastic drama and great action for most of the year. Sport and the public are the real winners.

    Them and Hamilton.

  4. Very true and matches my own perception. Both are great drivers, but only one had to win. I just hope Massa won't feel too broken to shine in the following seasons.

  5. This Rob Smedley video is heartbreaking :(
    He always seemed like a really nice guy... I'm very sorry for him and Felipe, you said it correctly - Singapore disaster and two (Australia and Hungary?) mechanical failures cost them title.


nRelate Posts Only