Why we’re done gone with ‘the done thing’

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

to their el­ders. James Hunt was a public­school rufan, a fully paid-up mem­ber of the Hellre Club. He would turn up to black-tie events wear­ing cut-off, but­tock-clench­ing denim shorts, a tie-dyed T-shirt (all the rage back then) and ip-ops. My fa­ther al­most choked on his prawn cock­tail. He (my fa­ther), de­spite hav­ing been ex­tremely badly be­haved him­self on many oc­ca­sions, knew the rules of deco­rum. You don’t push it too far. Oth­er­wise you’ll be made an ex­am­ple of. James just didn’t give a toss – and drove like it, too. He wasn’t there to kow­tow to any­one.

Jackie Ste­wart was a lit­tle more re­spect­ful of my old man. He learned a lot of sar­to­rial tricks from him and went to the same tai­lor in Sav­ile Row (be­fore switch­ing to Scotch House). That didn’t stop him ‘for­get­ting’ the team or­der in Monza ’65 to take his rst F1 race vic­tory from un­der my daddy’s nose. There were some dis­cus­sions after that one, ap­par­ently. But rac­ing driv­ers are not sup­posed to stand on cer­e­mony. I think my fa­ther un­der­stood that you can’t keep a good man down. It’s all about how fast you are. Who­ever thought up that crazy idea?

In the pre­vi­ous era, gen­tle­men moved over for one an­other and would hand their car to their team­mate, if he needed it. Moss could have been Bri­tain’s rst F1 cham­pion but for the fact that he de­fended Mike Hawthorn’s dis­qualication in the 1958 Por­tugese GP. Imag­ine that! Not the done thing, old boy, to win by de­fault. But that was then, and this is now. So when David Coulthard was asked to hand his lead of the 1997 Euro­pean GP to Mika Häkki­nen, he would have been within his rights to hold on to it. But the McLaren fam­ily is a tight one, and David du­ti­fully re­lin­quished the highly prized vic­tory to his team-mate. Chivalry, or just obey­ing or­ders? And what did it do to our im­pres­sion of DC as mer­ci­less slayer of the other guy? I un­der­stand that this was Mika’s rst ever grand prix vic­tory and he was a man in re­cov­ery from a horric ac­ci­dent and an all-round de­cent chap to boot. But a grand prix vic­tory? Just given away? What if DC had said ‘okay’, and then gone ahead and won? Might that have put down a marker for 1998? Or would he have got the sack?

In Monaco this year, the guy lead­ing the cham­pi­onship let the guy want­ing to deprive him of it past. I mean, he just let him past. ‘After you, Claude.’ Ex­tra­or­di­nary be­hav­iour for this day and age. But it made him all the big­ger a sports­man for that. He knew he couldn’t chal­lenge The Honey Badger, so why spoil it for the team? Still, it must have been a galling ex­pe­ri­ence. And what if he had just gone into to­tal road­block mode? Hamil­ton and his 3.4 mil­lion Twit­ter fol­low­ers (plus a small per­cent­age of Justin Bieber’s 82.7 mil­lion) would have de­clared an all-out Twit­ter­storm of abuse against the mod­est would-be champ. You gotta think of these things nowa­days. Imag­ine if Moss hadn’t given a damn about Hawthorn back in ’58? He would have been cas­ti­gated for be­ing un­sport­ing, too, only it would have taken three days for the news to lter through. But you’d like to think these guys did it sim­ply be­cause it is the right thing to do, not be­cause of the ‘Tyranny of the Mob’. Mean­while, new boy Max looked third-hand post-Monaco. It’s a long hard road to the top. Ask Lewis: 44 wins is just base camp.

Vet­tel was out­raged by Ric­cia­rdo’s move up the in­side at Turn 1 in Spain, say­ing: “What is this? Rac­ing or Ping-Pong?”

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