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Race Blog
Abu Dhabi 2016

Apologise? Not

I’d remove their passes. Sound the aggressive electronic ‘barp-barp’ rejection alarm on the Formula 1 paddock swipe gates every time. Access denied. They deserve nothing less.

Returning to the media room following all the Nico Rosberg title-winning hullabaloo on Sunday night in the Yas Marina pit lane, I was all at once shocked, perplexed and dumbfounded.

Believe it or not there were journalists – opinion formers – busily typing the most wretchedly unknowing prose, preachily imparting screeds of sanctimonious drivel. Hurriedly telling the world – or at least their limited readership – that what race-watchers around the globe had just witnessed was akin to a crime.

Lewis Hamilton is bang to rights – sack him from the team, ban him from the sport, lock him up, and, hell, let’s just throw away the key!

Of course you and I know better. The reigning world champion did absolutely nothing wrong. What does any person with a passing interest in the high-octane pressure-cooker environment of top-level sport expect from one of the very best F1 drivers we’ve ever seen?

I’m quite confident that if you’re reading this rant of a blog then you have an appreciation of the competitive mindset; and I’d go so far as to hazard a guess that you have an understanding of what it takes to be the best of the best.

If I’m correct then you, dear reader, are more worthy of a F1 pass than many who had them swinging around their necks last Sunday night.

Slowing his race pace to a veritable crawl – while maintaining his race-leading place – so as to back Rosberg into the attacking sights of both Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen was, is and will always be an entirely legitimate and acceptable tactic for Lewis, Fernando, Sebastian, Max, Nico and every other driver in F1 (or any other category of racing) now or forever more, to employ. 

My despair at some of my press-room colleagues’ views was not – to anyone who knows of my passion for the sport – a surprise, but I am struggling to understand the radio traffic from the Mercedes pitwall crew to their race-leading driver.

If, as the Mercedes hierarchy like to proudly and repeatedly state, your avowed mantra is not to interfere and to let them race, then don’t interfere and do let them race.

Lewis did nothing illegal and everything that is acceptable for a racer fighting to win a world championship. At no time were his actions dangerous, and at all times they showed a fantastic level of race craft and an appreciation of how the closing laps played out.

If – as has happened in the past – a driver in a title chase employs overly aggressive and/or illegal tactics then I would be the first person calling for sanctions, but that is most certainly not the case in this instance.

The tension, excitement and nail-biting, cliff-hanging suspense of the last ten or so laps of the 2016 F1 season made for primetime entertainment television gold. Isn’t that what we ALL want?

Hamilton is assuredly not the one who should be saying sorry, or being punished or admonished.

Perhaps it's all a sad reflection of the utterly hysterical and permanently morally outraged world we now live in. It's sad that such a ridiculous mindset now appears to have infected Formula 1.

Nico, to his credit, made a point of declining to criticise his team-mate – in spite of considerable goading from the unthinking hordes. 

C'est la vie.

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