It's been a long time since I put anything here and since I haven't really written anything particularly recently I have plonked this here instead. This was a response to a comment on F1 Fanatic where someone was asking why people were diminishing Lewis's victory in their comments on the race. They also mentioned Lewis has won 3 races in his worst season and Jenson in one of his best has only managed the same. I didn't directly talk about that part but I have added my thoughts to the end of this post.
The reason people are not calling his victory spectacular is almost certainly due to Seb retiring. It’s understandable, this season he has been the yard stick for all other drivers and winning a race without him there to be beaten on track is likely to diminish the reaction of the viewers. I recall something similar with Rossi in the MotoGP some years back when he crashed out and couldn’t compete to defend his championship. Everyone was saying ‘what if’.
The other drivers are unlikely to admit it but the fans want to see the best drivers competing. When Lewis took the fight to Fernando in 2007 it was special because FA was the world champion and Lewis was the up and coming rookie with huge promise. He didn’t fall into a McLaren seat by accident he had a great talent to back him up. Lewis was given huge praise for matching one of the best drivers F1 has seen.
When JB won his world championship he was widely criticised because he had won with such a dominant car in the early season and no one was able to measure him against Fernando in the lacklustre Renault, Lewis in the terrible (at the start) McLaren) or Kimi in the equally awful Ferrari. There is an element of truth to all this, plenty of people said stick Lewis in that Brawn and he’d wipe the floor with Jenson and yet the last two years have proven JB to actually be a very fast and competent driver. No he doesn’t have the raw speed Lewis has, I don’t think many would claim he does but he has excellent race craft and he has been a match for Lewis over a season where the young lad has had a lot of trouble to deal with off the track. Lewis will learn from this season and will be stronger for it in the future.
Is this win special? Yes, it shows Lewis is heading back in the right direction, he had a great weekend and capped it with a measured and mature win.
Is it less special because Sebastian was forced to retire? Yes, because people will wonder what could have been.The point that Lewis has won as many races a Jenson is a bit of an odd one since most people are aware of the season they have both had but to reiterate. McLaren have not been the fastest all year, early in the season before Lewis started to go downhill he won a couple of races with great drives. Sebastian being off his usual pace and Lewis being on it in Germany and McLaren's strategy/Lewis's pace in China won the races. Things went from bad to worse for Lewis; retirements and accidents have messed his consistency. Jenson has been pretty consistent all year, a couple of retirements that weren't his fault and a few poor finishes due to bad starts i.e. stuck behind Felipe in Melbourne. This season Jenson has been strong and consistent and genuinely quick. He is not up to the raw pace of Lewis, I don't thing anyone but Fernando and possibly Sebastian Vettel are, but Jenson has been racing wonderfully and fully deserves his 2nd in the drivers championship (all being well in Brazil) and the number 1 slot at McLaren for next year. Though I full expect Lewis to be back on top in 2012 if he sorts his head out and McLaren are competitive.