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GP Week : Issue 218
Now, as we all know, Nico Rosberg has almost everything going for him that a sports hero could wish for, and more. Famous father, fluent in five languages, di Caprio-like filmstar looks, adoring missus and immensely intelligent with it (at home, he reads books on economics). He's also a very fast racing driver, although evidence is emerging that he may not be quite fast enough. Wash out my mouth for daring to suggest this, old chap, but if Lewis was holding you up so badly in Shanghai, why didn't you have a go at passing him? The fact is that the bloke in the lead Mercedes (and who's going to argue with that assessment now that we're three races into the season?) has got Nico right where he wants him. If the German chap is serious about making the drivers' championship less one-sided for the Brit, and a bit more interesting for the rest of us, he's going to have to consider something drastic, like tipping Lewis into the weeds. Oh, but he tried that at Spa last year, didn't he? And it backfired on him, horribly. So, if we are to find something to enjoy in the coming races, we're going to have to look beyond the fast- diminishing chances of a proper intra- team duel for the title in the style of Piquet-vs-Mansell at Williams or Senna- vs-Prost at McLaren. With things threatening to become so processional on-track, it's the off-track stuff that will have to keep us entertained. Personally, I am taking a close interest in the increasingly bizarre routine that is Lewis Hamilton's post-race hair-fluffing. I am sure that I am not alone in this, although I note that until now the TV commentators have studiously avoided mentioning it. But if Lewis keeps on racking up victories at the current rate, the TV chaps won't be able to resist a few observations on all that self- pampering in the podium lounge. Much as he loves winning, Lewis clearly hates the close photographic scrutiny that comes with it. He's so anxious not to reveal his bonce that he has become inseparable from hats of various types. He's always the last man to take off his helmet, which seems to have led to some nasty facial bruises for his own crew as they greet him in the corral below the podium. Then he spends an inordinate length of time upstairs, towelling off his scalp as if it will magically re-grow a few extra fronds of hair. Making things even worse for Lewis has been that embarrassing anthem-and- red-carpet business that Bernie forced on us last year around the time when he decided that Vladimir Putin was a world leader of such prestige and compassion that the entire F1 brigade should be obliged to stand reverentially in his honour. (We'll see how that scheme works out for Mr E later this year when his Russki friend-for-life discovers that inflation has doubled the bill for his rather peculiar race out there in the sticks). Lewis clearly doesn't like the new ceremony any more than I do, albeit for different reasons. In Malaysia last month, one of the TV cameras on the grid dwelled pointedly on the gap in the drivers' anthem line-up where Lewis should have been standing. In fact, our hero was standing almost unrecognisable at the far end of the line in dark glasses, towel wrapped around his neck while skulking under an umbrella. As far as I could see, he was the only driver to insult the host nation by failing to remove his hat while the anthem was played. It was not a happy situation for a driver who, judging from the prominent Petronas branding on his kit, draws a substantial portion of his multi-million salary from an oil company in which the Malaysian government holds an important stake. Clearly, Lewis is ultra-sensitive about his image but it seems to me that Lewis has completely failed to understand that his behaviour draws far more attention to his lack of hair than if he were cheerfully to ignore it. It's not as though he can't do anything about it, either. It's true that a wig, which might stick embarrassingly tight to the inside of a helmet as it was removed, would be the wrong solution. A hair transplant would, however, do the trick, as various footballers have demonstrated. There would be a brief period of merriment in the paddock and press room immediately after the procedure, of course, but it would quickly be forgotten. It is possible, I suppose, that Lewis has a fear, at the back of his mind, that a shortage of hair somehow signifies a loss of sexual potency. This, though, is clearly a misapprehension. And for confirmation, I suggest Lewis has a quiet word with a chap called Stirling Moss, who never seemed to have any difficulties at all when making friends with the ladies. I'll say no more. ThE ENTERTAINmENT VALUE oF hAmmy'S hAIRdo OPINION OPINION mIKe doodson 13 GPWEEK.com // 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: