Saturday, March 31, 2007

How the death of Senna affected Hamilton

Another great read from the Guardian, this one found at a site called, recalls how deeply moved Lewis Hamilton was when he heard the news of Ayrton Senna's tragic death. Mind you, Hamilton was only 9 years old at the time...!

From the article (written by Donald McRae): "I was nine when Ayrton Senna died, and he was my hero. I remember racing that weekend in Hoddesdon. My dad had a small Vauxhall Cavalier and a trailer at the back. We'd sit in the Cavalier and wait for my turn to race. And that day my step-mum came over to tell us Senna had just died. It hit me hard - but I never liked to show emotion in front of my dad. So I went behind the trailer and cried. That was the turning point of my life - because when you're so young, you believe people like Senna are invincible. And then you realise that they're also mortal. It made me understand I need to make the most of my talent."

Years later, he used his deep respect for Ayrton to help prepare for a Formula 3 race at Monaco: "With my engineers I watched an old Senna lap at Monaco. It was far harder to be an F1 driver then, and he basically drove the lap one-handed and had to correct the car four or five times. But he was still a second quicker than anyone. That's how he drove - on the very limit or just over it. That's what makes me want to be like Senna. Like him, I'm trying to be the perfect driver."

If I were Lewis Hamilton... I'd be pretty darn happy, that's for sure!

Didja hear what STIRLING MOSS and NIKI LAUDA said?!

I'm just saying, If I were Lewis and these two PINNACLES of motor racing praised me in the same way... well, whoa. Here's what they said after Hamilton's Australian debut...

Stirling Moss, I mean, SIR Stirling Moss: "He's a racer, not a driver. And he's the best thing I've seen in formula one since I came into it in the early 50s."

Three-time World Champion Niki Lauda: "He drove like he'd been in formula one for years, and the outstanding part of it was that for two thirds of the race he was quicker than the quickest man in formula one - because Alonso, with two championships in a row, is today the best guy and Hamilton had him under control. I've never seen anybody perform in his first race like he did."


Moss also said: "His greatest quality, in my opinion, is his humility. He's won so many things on the way up, in karts and so on, but there's no arrogance about him and in today's world that's rare."

These quotes were lifted from this article by Richard Williams for the Guardian online.

The Kid is Pretty Cool

One of the many, MANY articles that have been written about Lewis, this one in Singapore's "The Electric Newspaper" is so nice and thoughtful, it took me by surprise.

I learned things I didn't know about Lews:
- that his younger brother suffers from cerebal palsy
- that his girlfriend's name is Jodie Ma (could this be her blog?), and they've been together two years
- that, at the age of only 10, he was the youngest national karting cadet champion in Britain's history

And I also learned that this kid Lewis is, at the age of 21 or so, a better man than me.

Fast in the Wet at Sapang

So, Lewis set the quickest time in testing at the Malaysian circuit on Thursday under wet conditions (here's the report from Planet-F1). What does this mean, seeing how Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso sat out the session?

Well, it means Lewis can drive the MP4-22 pretty darn quick when it gets slippery. Let's leave it at that until we see what happens during actual qualifying.

(photo from

Friday, March 30, 2007

First race... Third Place!

Okay, if you follow F1 at all, you know I'm late to the game with this blog. The first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, was held two weeks ago, and everyone who's paying any attention at all know that Lewis qualified fourth and finished on the podium in third.

There have been tons of articles and interviews and opinions and historical notes and all that foof. But I had to address that race before I could move on to current events, so forgive me.

That said... I must also say this: if I were Lewis Hamilton, I'm not sure if I would have been quite so gracious in all of those interviews. After crushing everybody in the 2006 GP2 series and killing 'em in the 2005 Formula 3 Euro championship, my ego would be a little more, shall we say, "demonstrative?"

Good on you, Lew.

2007 actually started in 2006

On the day after the Thanksgiving holiday here in America, on what's known as "Black Friday" or the busiest shopping day of the Christmas holiday season, on Friday, November 24th, 2006, the press release from Vodafone McLaren Mercedes read:

"Long-term McLaren and Mercedes-Benz protégé Lewis Hamilton has been confirmed as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racing driver and will make his debut at the opening round of the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship in Australia. 21-year-old Lewis will join World Champion Fernando Alonso racing the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 during the 2007 season with both Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett continuing as test drivers."

And with that, history was made as young Mr. Hamilton became the first black racing driver to contest the World Driving Championship.

Being a black man and an autoracing enthusiast myself, I thought it would be fun to follow Lewis' first season as if I were in his capable driving shoes. Fantasy F1, if you will. Just having fun... I hope you'll join me for what promises to be a very exciting season of top notch autoracing.