14th July 2009
What Formula 1 is really about.
“Lewis, box this lap”
Cut to the banshee wail of a Mercedes V8 as it hurtles down the hill to the Dunlop hairpin.
Bang, bang, bang goes the downchange in an almost seamless shuffle of madly spinning gears. The engine revs drop and Lewis speaks calmly to confirm:
“Box this lap, okay.”
Now back hard on the loud pedal he pushes the revs high, flicking gears up, up and up again as the McLaren MP4-24 rushes towards the challenging left-right of the Schumacher ‘S’.
As man and machine climb steeply uphill the engine note just keeps on rising with not a hint of lift to be heard, and as he crests the rise Lewis screams:
“Wah ah – waoooh, come on boys!”
Race after race after race of disappointment all but forgotten in a moment of utter exuberance as a sportsman revels in the joy of his craft.
Why is the world champion so happy with his ride?
Ask the guys. Ask the McLaren men (and women), both at the Nürburgring and home base, and they’ll tell you why.
Of how 10 weeks of work have been condensed into four, of how a new rear floor, a new front wing and a new top body (to name but three completely redesigned parts of the car) had been endlessly finessed. Of how the ever-devoted team literally burned the midnight oil to give Lewis something closer to the car he deserves.
Of how the people in the fabrication shop worked 36 hours straight, so that within just 12 hours of their shifts’ end the hurriedly dried parts could be packed, freighted to Germany, machined, assembled, decaled and fitted to the car so that at 10.10am on Friday morning, wheels could roll at the ’Ring.
This is what Formula 1 is all about.
Forget the politics, forget the litigation; the sport is built strong by those who really matter and who really love to race.
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