A few weeks ago I stayed up until the early hours of the morning to watch formula 1 cars whiz around a race track 55 times to decided the 2016 driver’s championship. While it wasn’t the result I was hoping for the fallout from this year’s championship has been particularly interesting.
The three main talking points have been around whether or not Lewis Hamilton’s tactics were fair, is Nico Rosberg a worthy champion and Nico Rosberg’s sudden retirement. In part 1 of this blog series I’ll talk about Lewis Hamiltion and his tactics.
Part 1: Fair or not?
Needing to win and have Nico Rosberg finish 4th or lower, Hamilton drove at speeds slower than he was capable of to allow the chasing drivers a better chance of catching and therefore overtaking Rosberg, who was in second place. Some have suggested that this was not sportsmanlike.
In my mind this is unfair. Why should Hamilton have driven as fast as he could? One reason is we pay to see the best perform at their best. In tennis we’ve recently seen Nick Kyrgios banned for ‘tanking’ or not doing his best to win points. The big difference between the Kyrgios and Hamilton situation is that Hamilton was doing everything he could to ensure the best result. Sometimes maximum effort does not mean maximum results.
Why else? Perhaps one might argue that it was unfair to Rosberg. In these situations it is a question of gaining an advantage by not following the rules. There is nothing in the formula 1 rules that says you must go as fast as you can.
There, are however, a lot of rules about ensuring safety, and for some driver’s self-imposed rules that you do not endanger the welfare of others. Were Hamilton’s tactics dangerous? No, he did not move across in a braking zone, force Rosberg off-track, squeeze Rosberg into a wall or do anything remotely close to hurting Rosberg, another driver, a marshall or a fan.
Hamilton’s take on the whole situation? ‘Leave me alone I know what I’m doing’
The sporting lesson? At the end of the day you have to live with how you behave, rules or not.