Monday, October 23, 2017 at 8:14 AM

Hamilton’s US Win (Practically) Guarantees F1 World Championship

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Lewis Hamilton passed title rival Sebastian Vettel to take a dominant victory in the United States Grand Prix but will have to wait at least one more race to win his fourth world championship.

The Mercedes driver is 66 points clear of Vettel, who finished second, with only 75 still available in the remaining three races.

It means Hamilton is almost certain to clinch the title at the Mexican Grand Prix next weekend.

(BBC, October 22, 2017)

I know. Nobody in America cares about Formula One (F1) racing. Here, sports like Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey, and even NASCAR are far more popular. Indeed, I imagine this is like raving about Curling at the Olympics, where sports like Swimming, Track and Field, Gymnastics, Soccer, and many others are far more popular.

This is why sports programs gave F1’s only race here nothing more than a honorable mention. That race played out in Austin, Texas, yesterday. But even featuring former president Bill Clinton and former Olympic champion Usain Bolt as mascots did little to increase media interest.

Nonetheless, the following excerpt should explain (1) why F1 is worthy of your sporting interest, and (2) why Lewis Hamilton is worthy of the kind of fan worship Tiger Woods used to get in his heyday. It’s from “Hamilton Becomes the Youngest Ever and First Black F1 Champion,” November 3, 2008.

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If you don’t know Formula One from Formula 409, please take note:

F1 car racing is a sport that requires the steady hands of a surgeon, the daring skill of a jet fighter, and the physical stamina of a marathon runner. Moreover, no sport can match the sustained thrill and nail-biting suspense one gets from watching those drivers navigate the zigs, zags, and hairpin-turns of a Grand-Prix racetrack as they jockey for position at speeds exceeding 200 mph! …

Naturally, given the uncanny similarities in racial background and precocious talent between Hamilton and Tiger Woods, the barons of Hamilton’s sport are banking he’ll do for F1 what Woods has done for Golf.

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Incidentally, to win a championship, drivers compete in a series of 20 races on Grand-Prix circuits around the world. Competition begins in Australia in March and ends in Abu Dhabi in November – with stops in places like China, Russia, and Monaco in between.

The winner of each race gets 25 points, second 18, third 15, and so on. The driver who ends up with the most points after the last race in the series wins the championship.

That said, the analogy to Tiger Woods begs clarification. As it happens, I provided it two years ago:

The spectacular downward spiral Tiger’s career took [in 2009], just one year after I wrote this, makes the analogy to him a little unfortunate in hindsight.

I’m sure Tiger never imagined that booty hunting in his private life could haunt his professional life the way it has. Therefore, I hope Lewis learns this lesson, especially given the way he flaunts his pursuits in this respect. Indeed, that he’s so often featured as a front-row gawker at Victoria’s Secret and other fashion shows does not bode well.

But there’s no gainsaying today that the only driver who can stop him from rewriting the records books in F1, as Tiger was supposed to do in Golf, is Lewis himself.

(“Lewis Hamilton, F1 Champion … Again,” The iPINIONS Journal, October 26, 2015)

With that, here’s to Hamilton doing what Woods no longer has a prayer of doing: becoming the most accomplished athlete in the history of his sport.

Woods is trying to eclipse Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major championships. But he has been bogeying (on and off the course) ever since he won his 14th in 2008.

Hamilton is trying to eclipse Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 F1 championships. But he had better pick up his pace. After all, it has taken him 10 years to get halfway there with his 4th. And, at 32, he’s unlikely to race at the top of his sport for another 10 years.

Not that the barons of F1 are complaining, mind you. After all, they have already milked Hamilton for more cash than they ever imagined in their wildest dreams, much as the barons of Golf milked (and are still milking) Woods, their cash cow.

Congratulations (and good luck), Lewis!

Related commentaries:
Hamilton youngest and first black
Hamilton
Tiger Woods

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