Columnists 8.9.2016 03:57 pm

Despite all that bling, Lewis can really drive

Jon Swift

Jon Swift

Fight for Formula One dominance raises some questions.

There is no real discussion and any dissenting voices are firmly drowned out; when there is a Formula One Grand Prix on offer as the afternoon’s sporting entertainment, it becomes required viewing. The Demented Irish Miner is a firm fanatic, as is Big Chris.

The Incomprehensible Scot really only wants to watch the chaos which often accompanies the frantic charge towards the first corner at the start, the Towering Thespian enjoys the theatricality of the proceedings, while Dave the Silent, the Fearsome Fireman and the Arithmetically-challenged Golfer are largely ambivalent about the whole exercise. The Former Fast Bowler abstains from any involvement.

Although, for one or other reason, the bulk of the usual gathering had gone AWOL for the Italian Grand Prix – and the Thespian had arrived in his characteristic breezy manner – the concentration on the race at Monza was intense.

And, to the delight of the Arithmetically-challenged One, it was the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, rather than the machine piloted by Lewis Hamilton, that held the lead Hamilton had surrendered with a poor start from pole.

In their almost pathological dislike of Hamilton, Demented Miner and the Arithmetically-challenged One find common cause, much to the consternation of the more liberal Thespian.

“He is a jerk,” is the Arithmetically-challenged One’s less than scientific assessment of the driver who arrived at Monza as a three-time world champion, Britain’s all-time leading winner with 49 grands prix victories, and leading the current battle between Mercedes team-mates for this year’s title. “But,” said the Thespian, attempting a bit of quiet diplomacy, “you have to admit that Hamilton can drive.”

And while there is more than ample proof that this is indeed a correct assessment, the Arithmetically-challenged One was having none of it. “He wears more bling than an LA rapper,” he said, “and have you seen him when things don’t go his way? His bottom lip could double as an aerofoil on the back of his race car.”

The Thespian’s exaggerated shrug and a roll of his eyes tacitly signalled his disagreement as Hamilton charged his way into second spot on the track ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, and it was in this order they took the chequered flag.

But the real drama was still to come as the top three racing machines rolled rather sedately into the parc ferme. Rosberg’s headlong dive into the arms of his pit crew delighted him. But he was less than enamoured by the perfunctory shake of the hand offered by Hamilton – who then retired po-faced into the corner to pimp his hairdo before the podium ceremony – while the two German drivers swapped congratulations and smiles, which broadened considerably when Vettel mistakenly donned the race winner’s cap.

“That,” said the Arithmetically-challenged One, “is the kind of thing I’m talking about”. The Thespian thought it over. “Perhaps,” he said, “just perhaps you are right. But boy, you can’t deny that Hamilton can drive”.

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