The Inside Line #55: Back to the beginning

TILI Logo PrintIt took Lewis Hamilton eight weeks to get back to where he started, but he made it there eventually. After qualifying for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on pole, the race looked his to lose in Melbourne before an mechanical gremlin sent him into an early retirement, one he’s been trying to make up for ever since. That he’s closed down a 25-point deficit under the scoring system in place in just eight weeks is testament to his brilliance, his confidence and the shedding of what had become somewhat of a hoodoo.

After having to watch his teammate Nico Rosberg spray the victory champagne in Australia, Hamilton has responded almost perfectly – three poles and four wins in as many races as Mercedes continues to embarrass the rest of the field. Yes, he has a significant car advantage, but his teammate is in the same machinery, and team management seems committed – for now at least – to letting them fight [1]. It’s a fight that he’s right on top of after winning the Spanish Grand Prix for the first time and taking the championship lead in the process. And it’s a fight, despite Hamilton’s repeated protestations to the contrary, that he’s undoubtedly the favourite to win. [2]

A review of a Spanish Grand Prix that was slow to start but bubbled beautifully to the boil is the focus of Episode 55 of ‘The Inside Line’, while we also preview this week’s second in-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya, and continue our ‘Horse Power’ series that takes you behind the scenes at Ferrari. If only we could have got access to the post-race debrief after Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen went wheel-to-wheel in the closing stages on Sunday – just before Raikkonen was lapped (lapped!) by Hamilton … [3]

‘The Inside Line’ is on SPEED TV Australia (Foxtel/Austar channel 512) at 7pm on Wednesday May 14, and also on ESPN (Foxtel/Austar channel 508 in Australia) at 7.30pm on Thursday May 15.

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[1] Post-race interviews with Niki Lauda are always a highlight of any Mercedes win, if only to see how uncomfortable Ted Kravitz is with (gasp) an adult using a mild obscenity on TV.

[2] Hamilton has been great in all his wins except for the “I won but Nico was faster than me” angle. I’m not sure he’s trying to play the psychological card either against his teammate. You won, you take the plaudits. End of story.

[3] Speaking of mild obscenities, this Raikkonen interview – and the response of the interviewer – still raises a grin. He was happier then too, in the good old days when he finished on the lead lap …

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