by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 205
23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: tHe LAWs of pHysiCs OPINION Newton’s first law states that an object in motion will not change its velocity without interference from an external force. Most of us understand that simply as momentum will continue unimpeded unless it is somehow interrupted. By rights, the momentum of Formula One in 2014 should belong to Nico Rosberg. After all, the German racer inherited the first win of the season from teammate Lewis Hamilton, and made it nearly to the mid-point without any form of retirement- based impediment. But Hamilton – who is often compared to Ayrton Senna but who is more accurately an echo of Gilles Villeneuve – is not the sort of racing driver who lets simple things like the laws of physics stand in his way. Hamilton is a fighter through and through, and as he has grown older has matured into the kind of man who finds motivation in disappointment. The story of 2014 thus far has been a seesaw of success for Mercedes, with the balance of power swinging first in one direction and then in the other. Rosberg lost his momentum with Hamilton’s streak of four consecutive wins post-Melbourne, but took it back when he pushed too hard in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix and crashed out into pole position. Now Hamilton has taken it back, and the title fight is alive and kicking once more. But for the three men who stood on the podium after a thrilling British Grand Prix, the loss of momentum was a particularly challenging affair on Sunday afternoon. Each of the top-three finishers turned a miserable qualifying session into a triumphant grand prix, overcoming the disruption of a long red flag in the process. “It’s not easy, you know,” conceded Valtteri Bottas (left), who crossed the line in second place after making up five places on the original start, and continuing the fight when racing resumed. “There’s a break and you need to keep your focus in the race. You can’t really start to think about other things than the race so you just need to keep thinking forward: the restart, how to get your tyres warm, brakes warm, everything. "You can always speak with the engineer. You just really wait, let the time go and all the time keep focused for the next moment.” Third-place finisher Daniel Ricciardo agreed: “It’s tricky when you don’t know how long the break’s going to be,” he said. “The race was at one today, so you do all your preparation to sort of peak at one o’clock in terms of your energy and your focus so you get the race started and you feel your adrenalin and everything is where it needs to be and then it comes back down. “I think the limbo of not really knowing when we were going to start again, it’s like ‘do I still keep a high level of intensity or do I go and relax? When do I start to then warm up again?’ It’s a little bit tricky but at the same time it’s the same for everyone. It does break a little bit of momentum, I guess, but then it’s up to us and our trainers how we get it back and make sure we’re switched on for the restart.” Disrupting the carefully planned preparation – both mental and physical – is a real challenge, Hamilton acknowledged. “We work very hard,” the race winner said. “I’m sure everyone is working so hard in preparation. You get in the car, do the start, you really gain the momentum and then the race stops and [in Silverstone] we had quite a long break. I went back to my room just relaxing, drinking – it wasn’t alcohol! – making sure I was having plenty of fluids and trying not to think of anything else. It isn’t easy.” While first lap red flags are hardly a common occurrence in Formula One, the prospect of standing Safety Car restarts in 2015 brings with it the potential of a loss of psychological momentum for all of the drivers on the grid. And it was partly with that in mind that the idea of standing restarts was proposed and then adopted – every break in momentum brings with it a chance to spice up the show. Not that any of the top three finishers at Silverstone found themselves put off their stride on Sunday afternoon... OPINION KATE WALKER