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GP Week : Issue 31
>>GPWEEKOPINION Sod’s Law of F1 championships Will Buxton GPWeek Editor There comes a point in all of our lives when things are taken from us due to circumstances out of our control. We give all that we can, but somewhere down the line something conspires against us. Something goes wrong. Something, or somebody screws up. There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s just the way life goes. Sod’s Law, we call it in England. It strikes when you least expect it and it hits you hard, and low. Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton know all about Sod’s Law. They’ve had their own pretty substantial lessons in it over the last two years. Take Massa as our prime example. In Hungary, a dud batch of con rods saw a truly superb, absolutely faultless drive finish three laps from home with a blown engine. Then Singapore, where another excellent race ended up in the toilet thanks to the Ferrari traffic lights. Hamilton has had his fair share of Sod’s Law too. There was Belgium and the highly debatable penalty. There have been punctures, pit-lane crashes, grid penalties. And last year, in China, his McLaren team, with all of their years of combined knowledge, failed to bring him in to change his completely knackered tyres. The lost points resulting from retirement cost him the title. With such good knowledge of Mr Sod and his First Law of Low Blows, both will be approaching the final three races of 2008 in a fairly similar frame of mind. Their current batting averages are similar, their recent points hauls also have little between them. This championship could well be decided by the simple factor of who has luck on their side and who does not. Hamilton admitted this week that he had learnt an important lesson in Singapore – that points really do mean prizes. Glory is all well and good, but when you’re fighting for a title, you have to look at the bigger picture. Now that may not bode well for a rip-roaring edge-of-the- seat conclusion to the season, but it may just see a level of maturity creep into the minds of both championship contenders. There is little anyone can do to stop Sod’s Law from slapping them in the face. It’s the way we react to it that marks us out. We can stomp our feet, get upset and say that this should have been done or that should have been done, that warnings should have been heeded and actions taken to avoid the mess. Hamilton and Massa however have shown the very best way to deal with such a scenario, and that is to keep one’s head down: to keep pushing, to keep working, harder and better and with more conviction and purpose than ever before. Whether they win or lose, and regardless of what circumstance throws into their path, they will know that they gave it everything they had. And they can hold their heads up high. 23 opinion