Monday, June 11, 2007

Of course he won - Ebren

In October 2001 I started rowing, I trained hard, worked on my technique, hit the gym and worked with my crew and coach to make us as good as we could be.

In June 2002 we raced competitively, five times in four days, got promoted and won "blades" - something only ten per cent of rowers manage over their careers.

I was asked if I was happy with the achievement, I wasn't. All I had done was avoid disappointment.

We had trained to be better than those around us and the promotion and oar with my name on it on the clubhouse wall were the natural result of this.

Yesterday Lewis Hamilton won his first Formula One race. Grinding every other driver under his heel. First in qualifying, then in the first stint, then every time the safety car came out to remove the lead he had built up.

But the prevailing emotion after the victory sense was not surprise, it felt normal. Normal that this 22-year-old had dominated a field of the best drivers on the planet. A field of Grand Prix winners and former and world champions. Normal that this result pushed him eight points clear in the drivers' championship. Normal that he had done it in his sixth race in his first season in the sport.

In the press conference afterwards he was happy - of course - but calm. Collected. In control. Just like he has been in every race this season.

He has lost it once - a crash in Monaco - but he simply failed to notice this. And watching him four-wheel drift a car around this famous track, inches from the walls, to try and out-qualify his team mate (the double and reigning world champion) in a heavier car a few hours later was the thing that made me really sit up. In fact, it was the first thing in an F1 race that has got me out of my seat in the sport for a very long time.

He races the car, slides it drifts it, out-brakes men racing in their hundredth grand prix, holds his nerves under pressure as people with lighter cars ride his rear wing to try and pass and attack his team-mate's position.

And yet he remains a likeable, intelligent, good-looking, modest person. One who seems to take the sport and winning in his stride - simply because that's the way it's meant to be.

From the first time he stepped behind a wheel he has been the best on the track, and he has worked hard to stay there. This is normal. Why should F1 be any different?

It's just a shame he isn't four years older - to see him take on Schumacher in his pomp would have been a sight to behold.


nesta said...

h the LARGE links. Are you afraid we may miss them?

Good read and undoubtedly a British world champ in the making. You blokes are pretty good at the sitting-down variety of 'sports'.

50K said...

Already he looks a complete winner, i.e. a Woods, Federer, or as you mentioned Schumacher. I only hope he can cope with all the money, women and fame....

On a serious note it will be interesting to see how the press treat him as often young British stars get the tabloid treatment although he seems level headed - almost too good to be true.

Ebren said...

Big links - oops...

They look normal on my screen.

Ho humm, back to work.

mimi said...

Don't know why everyone is making such a fuss. Hamilton has been a driver of extreme talent since he first hit the radar years ago. That he got a McLaren seat was pretty much a given as he'd had the balls to approach the Ronster as a child. The way the press is going on about him, I think, makes them look a bit uninformed. It's as though he appeared from nowhere. Do they only bother with F1? I was even tempted to blog on GU about this, but thank goodness the Lord Ebren has saved me from succombing!

offside said...

Thank you for this, Lord Ebren. To be honest, the last time I sat up, was when Senna took Prost out of the last race of the season in Japan. I had waited all night for it, and it was over at the first corner.

I do think that having the European grand prix just after lunchtime is a great idea. If you keep the TV sound down, the drone of the engines is perfect to lull you to sleep. zzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZ

The nap is just the right time, too, and the German anthem never failed to wake me up.

I nearly feel compelled to write something about one of this weekend's events, but there is so much to drink, sorry, to do here, that I'm not sure I can muster the courage...

mimi said...

I've just re-read my comment, and I do apologise if it sounded censoriously smug. My mum, who knows nothing except not to ring me when the motor-racing is on, just rang to say what a fine boy young Lewis is. I get absorbed in my enthusiasms and not for me to castigate the world for not having recognised this talent over the last 10 years or so.

Ebren said...

Mimi, we knew he was good.

But then we knew Kovalainen was good - and he was going to be at Renault (who provided the last world champion), Rosberg (son of a world champion, great form), Massa dominated junior formulas, Raikkonen dominated (and has been repeatedly compared with Senna), Alonso did too.

All these drivers would have a go at winning (or have won) races and world championships in the best car.

My point is that in this company he dominated. And still we weren't surprised. And neither was he.

Which was my point. I think.

I've lost my point. Did I tell you about the time I drove in a formula Audi car? I did? I'll go home then.

DoctorShoot said...

Ebren yes
of course he won, (the tiger woods of british racing stands up)...

and to echo offside, I sat up in wonder watching Senna in practice laps at Adelaide (yes way back then) driving a John Player car, black with gold trim, like a wildman spinning and sliding and making the whole circuit twitch with his unstoppable energy.

He couldn't stay on the track until his sponsors and mentors calmed him sufficiently to begin finishing.... then he took the world like a feeding shark with a different brand on his back....

Tweet it, digg it