The Inside Line #64: Flags in passports, hearts on sleeves

TILI Logo Print“Eng-aaa-land” yelled a euphoric Lewis Hamilton on his slow-down lap after the winning the British Grand Prix, no doubt emotional after a rollercoaster weekend that looked set to end in disappointment 24 hours earlier after he’d made an error of judgment in qualifying. There was every reason for Hamilton to be emotional; his fifth win of the season saw him back in the title fight with teammate Nico Rosberg after clawing back a significant points deficit for the second time already this season, and taking maximum points while his teammate suffered a non-finish for reasons outside of his control must have been some comfort to Hamilton given he’s endured the lions’ share of the bad luck at Mercedes this season.

Hamilton is pure box office – as well as being a brilliant driver, he always wears his heart on his sleeve – but his comments after that Silverstone victory about the next race in Germany were, by his standards, oddly calculating. Suggesting the German Grand Prix isn’t really Rosberg’s home race because Rosberg left Wiesbaden as a baby to live with his world champion father and mother in Monaco was an unusual move for Hamilton, who is usually wrestling with his own mental fluctuations rather than trying to plant the seeds of doubt with someone else. The tabloids predictably lapped it up, and as the season ticks into its second half at Hockenheim this weekend, the tension is only going to increase. Playing mind games probably suits Rosberg more than Hamilton, but it’s interesting that the Briton has chosen to go down that road so far out from the end of the championship, which looks set to go down to the wire (and doesn’t need a double-points finale in Abu Dhabi to artificially spice things up, as I may have mentioned). Can Hamilton keep control of his emotions for the next four months as the season ebbs and flows? What will Rosberg’s response be? The answers will be fascinating.

A comprehensive preview of the 10th race of the season features on Episode 64 of ‘The Inside Line’, while there’s plenty more in this week’s show to sink your teeth into. We review the final in-season test for 2014 at Silverstone, look at the sale of Caterham, and take a trip with Susie Wolff as she guides us through her British GP weekend, where she became the first female driver to take part in an on-track session at a race weekend in 22 years. Disclaimer: Susie is great to deal with from this media person’s point of view, so I was really disappointed for her that her Friday practice session was cut short when her Williams broke down just four laps in. Let’s hope she gets a better shake at Hockenheim this coming weekend.

Catch ‘The Inside Line’ on SPEED TV Australia (Foxtel/Austar channel 512) at 7pm on Wednesday July 16, and/or on ESPN (Foxtel/Austar channel 508 in Australia) at 8.30pm on Thursday July 17.

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