What’s on your mind this month
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
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