Monday, December 5, 2016

F1 - Hamilton and Rosberg

The F1 season has come to a close for 2016 and I have to say this has been a good season. I know F1's detractors say it's boring and processional but it really isn't. When you get into the strategy and tactics and don't just look at the on-track racing, it's quite involved.
Of course the two big talking points now are Hamilton's behaviour in Abu Dhabi, and Rosberg.
I think Hamilton did exactly what he needed to do. There was a chance - albeit a slim mathematical one - that he could clinch the title by backing Rosberg into traffic and hoping for something to happen. Despite repeated team orders, he kept to this strategy and in the end it was all for nothing, but you can't blame him for trying. He knew how long the race was, he knew Vettel and Verstappen were no real danger. He did the right thing.
To ask drivers not to drive, not to use tactics, not to do what their instinct says is right, is a bad idea for the sport. That's why I like Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez so much. They want to race, they want points and everyone and everything is fair game. So what if Verstappen changes lines to defend his position? It's nothing F1 drivers haven't done through history. Look at Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell; they were the masters of preventing people behind from being able to pass. That Max takes unconventional lines during his overtakes is one of the things that endears him to me. "You can't overtake on the outside of turn 1 in Brazil in the wet". Says who?
And Rosberg - I liked the frosty team combat situation he created with Hamilton. Intra-team rivalry is just as good as team-to-team rivalry. He's a great driver and he deserved his win this year, and I have a lot of respect for him now he's bowed out too. He set about F1 to do one thing: become world champion. He's done it, and that's all he wanted. Now he's out. This raises the specter of Hamilton maybe getting Verstappen as a team mate next year, depending on how Red Bull treat him. That could be entertaining.