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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lewis Hamilton, STILL a champion despite Brazilian GP result

Britain's Lewis Hamilton began the day, at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Brazil, as the leader in the race for the Formula 1 World Championship.

At the conclusion of the race, Hamilton fell short of this lofty accomplishment by one point. However, this season has been a magical one for a driver with unbelievable talent and ability. Lewis Hamilton was staring at Formula 1 immortality as the first rookie, first black man, and the youngest ever to win a world championship in racing history.

This year's 17 race schedule came down to the last race to determine this year's world champion. Today marked the 35th anniversary of the Brazilian Grand Prix and featured three driver's with a chance to win the championship.
Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, and Kimi Raikkonen were set for battle amid blistering track and air temperatures. This was the 11th time in the 57 year history of Formula 1 where three men were eligible to win the world championship entering the last race. The 145 degree track temperatures marked the highest ever during a Formula 1 event.

Lewis Hamilton has faced many obstacles on and off the track this season. McLaren- Mercedes was penalized $110 million dollars by the Federation Internationale De L'Automobile for spying on rival Ferrari. The FIA also mandated a forfeiture of points and disqualified McLaren from the constructor's world title. In Formula 1, there are two championships that are contested each season. A points championship for the drivers and a title for the teams. There were allegations made, by Hamilton's teammate Alonso, that McLaren was biased toward the Brit. This became evident this week when a Spanish journalist said that McLaren and Great Britain are guilty of racism against Fernando Alonso led by Lewis Hamilton. Despite these distractions, Hamilton performed admirably and entered today's round with a four point lead over his teammate Alonso and a seven point lead over Raikkonen.

The age old racing adage "you cannot win a race on the first lap, but you can lose it," came true today. Hamilton, who qualified 2nd, slid to fourth at turn 1. After coming under attack by his teammate Alonso, Lewis went wide at turn 3 and rejoined the fray in eighth place. This off-track excursion was thought to have created the problems that nagged Hamilton for the rest of the race. A hydraulic clutch problem relegated Hamilton to 13th place on lap 15 and he never fully recovered. Despite a dazzling last stint, where Hamilton set the fastest race lap, his world title hopes relied on attrition and luck. He received neither and wound up in seventh place. This effectively handed the world championship to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen was also the winner of the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of his teammate and Brazilian Felipe Massa.

Lewis Hamilton ended the world championship in a tie for second with his teammate Fernando Alonso. He can take comfort in the fact that he had one of the most extraordinary season's in the history of Formula 1. He is only 22 years old and has plenty of time to win a title. Hamilton's season accomplishments go beyond racing. A black man has been the focal point of McLaren International, which is one of the richest sporting organizations on the planet. The championship may have been lost, but a Formula 1 star for the ages was born. Lewis can prepare for next year without the pressure of being a black rookie Formula 1 driver. He can concentrate on just being a driver.

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