AS REGULAR readers of my weekly rant fest know, I am one of the world’s finest armchair experts on all things sport.
Near the top of the things I enjoy most is F1 motor racing and I’m a particularly big fan of Lewis Hamilton. I always watch it if I can. This week Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix and traditionally, at the end of the race, there would be a great celebration. He usually leaps from his car, runs over to his massive team of mechanics and other Mercedes team members, and jumps at them hi-fiving and hugging the ones at the front.
This week’s win did not go like that at all. Lewis sat in his car till the second place driver, his team mate Valtteri Bottas, got out of his car. Lewis then just walked over to Valtteri, shook his hand and told him he was sorry, then walked slowly off over to the Mercedes team. He shook a few hands and then went inside not really wanting to talk to anyone else. So why? Well this is the reason I’m grumpy. He didn’t actually win. He went over the line first but not because he was the best driver on the day but because of team orders that forced his team mate Bottas to move over and let Hamilton win.
This is wrong in so many ways. Winning is not winning if you have to cheat and that’s what they did. They cheated the best driver on the day out of his rightful place. It wasn’t even that if Hamilton came second they would still not be in front in either the manufacturer’s or driver’s championship. And what about if you like a little flutter and had a few bob on Bottas to win, after seeing how he had performed to get pole position (1st on grid)? How can this not be race fixing? If this is now the acceptable way of winning a race it shouldn’t be. The best have to win. We mustn’t let this ‘win at any cost’ get worse than it is. In F1 it’s obvious if it happens but it’s the same in all sports. In the Olympics the whole of the Russian team was banned for drug taking. Lance Armstrong was a multi winner but only because of drugs and the list goes on. I think the rules for F1 have to be changed. There must not be team orders. Every driver is there to win, not to make up the numbers. Mercedes should be fined and made to forfeit points. Let the old saying ‘May the best man win’ actually mean something.