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The best of the Brits

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Lewis Hamilton, who has now el­e­vated him­self above all other Bri­tish driv­ers with a fourth world ti­tle. And now the ar­gu­ments can be­gin: is he bet­ter than Ste­wart, as good as Prost, and will he even­tu­ally beat all of Schu­macher’s records?

Those de­bates will al­ways be sub­jec­tive, re­gard­less of what the sta­tis­tics say. Pure num­bers don’t nec­es­sar­ily mean that A is bet­ter or worse than B, but it would be churl­ish of Lewis’s de­trac­tors to deny that he is a fan­tas­tic tal­ent who has taken his per­for­mances to another level in a car that has not al­ways been the best on the grid.

Here’s to ti­tles five, six and seven! Richard Walsh London, UK

An out­ra­geous in­jus­tice

What more has this amaz­ing fu­ture cham­pion got to do? The dig­ni­fied, prag­matic and calm man­ner in which Max Ver­stap­pen ac­cepted the shock­ing stew­ards’ de­ci­sion at the US GP does him enor­mous credit es­pe­cially for one so young and in what has been a dif­fi­cult sea­son for him. Se­bas­tian Vet­tel would have been eff­ing, jeff­ing and spit­ting feath­ers if he’d been stripped of a podium in the same way.

We got to watch two glad­i­a­tors of the sport, Kimi Räikkö­nen and Max Ver­stap­pen, in ex­hil­a­rat­ing wheel-to-wheel com­bat, demon­strat­ing in­cred­i­ble skills and keep­ing fans on the edge of their seats. Yet that’s been killed by ques­tion­able and in­con­sis­tent stew­ard­ing that may well de­ter driv­ers from rac­ing.

To en­cour­age fresh young tal­ent to race, and en­ter­tain the view­ing pub­lic, the rules need amend­ing to pre­vent fur­ther in­con­sis­tent de­ci­sion-mak­ing by race stew­ards.

At the US GP, more than a few other driv­ers gained an ad­van­tage in ex­ceed­ing track lim­its with­out re­ceiv­ing a penalty. Mika Salo was a stew­ard at that race: should we be ask­ing if he has a con­flict of in­ter­est hav­ing been on the Fer­rari pay­roll? David Ib­bott Maid­stone, UK

Un­fair ad­van­tage?

The fuss over Martin Bud­kowski’s move from the FIA to Re­nault is a load of hot air over some­thing that is pretty much be­yond the teams’ con­trol. While Bud­kowski the­o­ret­i­cally has a greater over­all knowl­edge of each team’s sys­tems, with all due re­spect, the in­ter­nals of a Sauber struc­ture are hardly likely to be earth-shat­ter­ing stuff. Hence it is there­fore only the likes of Mercedes, Fer­rari and Red Bull who should be cry­ing foul.

It still re­mains to be seen at this stage just what dif­fer­ence Bud­kowski will make at Re­nault. But, think­ing about it, the sit­u­a­tion seems to be lit­tle dif­fer­ent to the sce­nario of a top driver, engi­neer or de­signer mov­ing over to a ma­jor ri­val. They will al­ways take in­sider knowl­edge of op­er­at­ing sys­tems with them to a com­peti­tor.

The cru­cial part of the story, which is not of­ten re­ported, is that three months’ gar­den­ing leave is the max­i­mum per­mit­ted un­der Swiss, and there­fore FIA, law. You can’t blame any team for want­ing to in­crease their com­pet­i­tive edge and this, af­ter all, is meant to be a cut­throat busi­ness.

You could ar­gue that gar­den­ing leave shouldn’t even ex­ist in fu­ture, or, if it must, then why not make it a max­i­mum of three months for all such tech­ni­cal moves? Michael Bri­er­ley, Manch­ester, UK

How­ever you rate him against other great F1 tal­ents, there’s no denying that Lewis Hamilton is one of the best

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