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GP Week : Issue 207
20 GPWEEK.com // 20 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: DO YOu fEEL LuckY? WELL DO YOu, puNk? OPINION At some point during winter testing, lewis Hamilton went on a mirror- smashing spree, shattering reflective surface after reflective surface. While searching for more mirrors to break, the Mercedes driver walked back and forth under ladders while black cats crossed his path. His interior décor features an art installation of thousands of umbrellas that open and close indoors, and every Friday the 13th he does a bad luck dance. It’s the only possible explanation for the seemingly endless run of terrible luck that has beset the Briton this season. Gifted with the second-best car on the grid – the best would be Nico Rosberg’s, of the same spec yet rather less susceptible to breakages and random fires – Hamilton should be leading the drivers’ standings with a comfortable clutch of points in hand. At the very least, the Mercedes teammates should be on near-level pegging on the points front. But an endless run of bad luck has made the title chase an uphill struggle for the British racer, who has had to fight hard for every point secured. Last week at the Hockenheimring Hamilton delivered a master class in overcoming adversity, fighting his way up through the field to finish in third place after a brake disc failure in qualifying and subsequent gearbox change saw him start the German Grand Prix from the back of the grid. It was one of those once in a season (if that!) drives that allows a real racer to show what he’s made of, both in terms of natural aptitude and mental fortitude. At least, that’s what we all thought at the time. But when Hamilton kicked off qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix by driving a car whose back end was hidden by a wall of fire it became clear that the once in a season drive we’d seen the week before was going to have to be reprised, making it twice in a fortnight. On Saturday it looked like mission impossible for the racer who often loses out thanks to the heart worn firmly on his sleeve. While racing with heart over head doesn’t have any detrimental effect on aero, lining up onthegrid–orinthepitlane–witha brain flooded with negative emotions isn’t the best of starts. But Lewis has grown up a lot over the course of this season, and has matured into a racer able to keep his emotions in check once his gloves are on and the wheel in his hands. Which isn’t to say that he let Saturday’s qualifying disappointment roll off him like water off a duck’s back – far from it. Understandably miserable to be knocked out yet again when it wasn’t his fault, the British racer left the circuit early on Saturday afternoon, and spent the evening cheering himself up with those stalwarts pizza and chocolate. Racing drivers! They’re just like us! When he woke up this morning, however, Lewis was determined to put Saturday’s misery behind him, so fired up was he for Sunday’s fight. And what a fight it was – while his performance was no doubt aided by two Safety Cars and changeable weather conditions during the race, Hamilton also took no prisoners as he carved his way up through the field. Even teammate Rosberg was fair game, and the pit lane starter was able – just – to keep the pole-sitter behind him in the dying laps of the race. Passion is now partnered with precision, and if Mercedes were able to give the 2008 a reliable car Hamilton would be the most dangerous combination of pace and power unit on the current grid. OPINION KATE WALKER