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July 22, 2018

F1 Soap Box: Hamilton wins the race he shouldn’t

Another great race, but let’s talk about two drivers.

Vettel

Again he’s made a mistake, this one is a devastating one for his championship BUT I still think he can recover. The question isn’t if he can recover, he has a car advantage and 80% of the time he is a SOLID driver. The question is rather, when he catches up and the pressure returns, will he be able to hold his nerve? Right now I am not sure.

A great qualifying lap and a great run to the lead (Kimi had to let him go, it’s just common sense) but he dropped it at the worst possible moment. I recommend listening to the Mark Webber F1 podcast interview, he says “Vettel is a brilliant until there are unplanned variables thrown at him, something happens.” Listen to that and then rewatch his incidents since Baku last year…

Hamilton

Given the lap from Bottas on Saturday, I think Lewis would have started on the front row without a failure. But he didn’t, so he started 14th. I watched the race live and then I rewatched it from his onboard camera. My verdict? He continues to get better and better. His adaptability was difficult to comprehend.

In the dry he took a very wide line into the hairpin at the end of the back straight, braking early and going down the gears like silk (not his usual gearing-down style by the way), affectively going off line. When it started to rain I thought to myself, “Ok he will continue to take that line,” but instead started rolling through the corner on a tighter ‘dry’ line. It was counter intuitive and he was the only one doing it, the result being lap times about two seconds faster than the others.

At turn 2, about half way through the race he started to tighten the approach to the apex and opened up the exit quite aggressively, then when it rained he kept that line. However, after the safety car period he returned to a natural dry line with a wider entry approach and absolutely obliterated the drivers behind him.

It’s always been my opinion that Champions are those who win the races they shouldn’t. Hamilton fits comfortably in that box.

What a driver.

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