Sunday, 7 September 2008

File under "stuff"

I'm a huge fan of Formula One, have been ever since I was very young. I've been to several, and I watch every race on television. Today's Belgium Grand Prix was one of the most exciting and unpredictable I've seen in a long, long time, culminating with a dazzling victory in the rain for Lewis Hamilton. His was an audacious drive –- brave, skillful, fearless, exhilarating. And then, after the race, the stewards penalised him 25 seconds for apparently gaining an unfair advantage on a chicane (watch the footage, it didn't) which robbed him of his victory and demoted him to third place, thereby promoting his main rival in the world championship, Ferrari's Phillipe Massa, to first, and cutting Hamilton's lead in the driver's championship dramatically. Now this is the same Massa who only last week in Valencia wasn't penalised by the stewards for what many believe was a dangerous piece of driving in the pit lane, pulling out in front of the Force India driver Adrian Sutil and nearly causing an accident. The stewards discussed the incident and deemed Massa not to be at fault. (A drive through penalty, which is the usual punishment for unsafe driving, would has cost Massa his victory.) In Belgium, Hamilton was penalised. A cynic would say this is yet another example of blatant piece of favouritism towards Ferrari. Others might call it cheating. It certainly has cheated not only Hamilton out of a deserved and just win, but the millions and millions of viewers watching on TV around the world who love this sport. Maybe they won't love it quite so much any more. I'm not sure I do.

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