“You made me be­lieve that I can do any­thing”

F1 Racing - - FINISHING STRAIGHT -

Fu­elled by his fans and armed with one of the finest cars ever built, Hamil­ton sails to a sec­ond ti­tle

Fate, des­tiny, kismet… call it what you will, but there can be no ar­gu­ment that the right man won. Not only the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, of course, which Lewis Hamil­ton despatched in com­mand­ing style, but the 2014 world cham­pi­onship contest, from which he emerged a wholly con­vinc­ing vic­tor.

Cir­cle com­pleted, he took the win­ner’s 50-point haul at this nal race, while team-mate and sole ti­tle ri­val Nico Ros­berg suf­fered en­gine grem­lins (chiey ERS fail­ure) that dropped him to 14th, lapped and point­less, by the che­quered ag. Nine months ago, half a world and a lifetime away in Mel­bourne, it was Ros­berg who pros­pered as Hamil­ton’s PU106A dropped a spark plug and forced a re­tire­ment. On this heady Emi­rati night, it was Nico’s turn to suf­fer, the ght snatched from him through no fault of his own. And cer­tainly not from lack of spirit. As elec­tri­cal woes seeped like a virus through his W05 Hy­brid from lap 26, Nico be­came ever more ur­gent in his de­mands for in­for­ma­tion from his pitcrew, des­per­ate to know if there was a se­quence of but­tons to push, a re­set to per­form, that might re-en­er­gise his ail­ing craft.

When he slid off at Turn 1 on lap 47, hav­ing missed his brak­ing point be­cause of the re­duced brak­ing ca­pac­ity re­sult­ing from ERS fail­ure, he seemed wounded prey: re­fus­ing to die, but bat­tling in­sur­mount­able odds.

He went down gal­lantly, ig­nor­ing a team call to re­tire, in­sist­ing that he push his car over the line and declar­ing: “I want to go to the end”. And that says so much about his role in the epic sea­son just gone – as did his im­mensely sport­ing ges­ture of seek­ing out Hamil­ton in his mo­ment of tri­umph to con­grat­u­late him, pub­licly, be­fore a bil­lion global eye­balls.

But could the year ever have been his? He con­trib­uted mas­sively to 2014 – of­fer­ing speed (11 poles), guile (Monaco), skul­dug­gery (Spa) and nous (Canada) – but on race day, all year long, Lewis was the faster man. And for this alone, not to men­tion a new-found grace un­der pres­sure, Hamil­ton de­served this ti­tle more than any other. He had a bril­liant car, yes, but he also drove quite bril­liantly, as much here as any­where.

As with any race or ti­tle suc­cess, the foun­da­tions were laid long be­fore the com­pet­i­tive mo­ment – years ago, in fact. Post-race, Hamil­ton was swift to praise the likes of Mercedes F1 ar­chi­tects Ross Brawn and Niki Lauda for lur­ing him to the team in 2012 and con­vinc­ing him that to­gether they could con­tinue build­ing the dream of sport­ing deication. On a more pro­saic level, Lewis spoke, too, of the visit to his ho­tel room by his clutch en­gi­neer on race morn­ing, to check through the set­tings he’d want on this ti­tle-de­cid­ing day. In the com­plex and del­i­cately bal­anced world of Lewis Hamil­ton, ques­tions of ‘torque ver­sus slip’ are as vi­tal a com­po­nent of suc­cess as ex­is­ten­tial con­sid­er­a­tions of man ver­sus god.

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