Experts give their views on big race
WITH the title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg coming to a climax in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, I brought together a panel of experts to discuss the 2014 season.
We met at the home of Britain’s only triple world champion, Sir Jackie Stewart, with Damon Hill, 1996 champion and the son of double world champion Graham. There was John Watson, who, like Stewart, drove in an age when death was an occupational hazard and whose win at Long Beach in 1982 was achieved from further back on the grid than any other winner of the modern era. Also on the panel was Karun Chandhok, who raced with Hamilton and Rosberg.
Jonathan McEvoy chaired the discussion. The butler poured the wine.
McEVOY: Gentlemen, we go into the final race with Lewis Hamilton leading Nico Rosberg, his Mercedes colleague, by 17 points. Do we agree that if Lewis wins the title he would be a deserving champion?
STEWART: Historically the championship has been more warmly received when it has been achieved by the driver who has won most races.
The year has been rather spoiled by the domination of Mercedes. But Nico Rosberg has behaved very well, presented himself very well.
I didn’t like Lewis’s behaviour in Monaco (when he was angry at Rosberg’s crash impeding his final qualifying lap).
That tainted my appreciation of him because it wasn’t one day that he sulked, but two. He should have been able to ride over it.
McEVOY: Did he not have any justification? Did Rosberg mean to wreck his lap by going off track?
WATSON: What Rosberg did was make an error and he then chose the best option to mitigate that. I don’t believe he sat there and thought, ‘Ah, Lewis is on a qualifying lap, if I reverse out it’s going to compound the situation so I am going to do it.’
He might subsequently have realised the benefit of what he did, but I don’t think it was premeditated.
HILL: If he hadn’t been anywhere near looking like getting pole position and suddenly set the quickest time and then decided to protect it, you could see it in a different light. But he had dominated all weekend.
CHANDHOK: Going back to who deserves the title, the last race in Interlagos was really the first race that Nico won in a straight fight.
Yeah, Lewis fell off (the track) but he did so under pressure.
If you look at the races Nico won before that, Lewis had problems. Interlagos was the first time he genuinely had him beaten.
Based on that, it would be hard to say that Lewis is not the more deserving champion. In terms of races, he has won 10-5. What has also surprised me has been Lewis’s ability to think in the races.
Their reputations are that Nico is the one with the bigger brain, Lewis is the brawn. But I think he has used his brain and picked his moment. – Daily Mail