As I continue my countdown to Christmas it’s time to fill grid slot #23. Once again, my selections are in no particular order. It adds to the suspense, don’t you think?
The slot belongs to current F1 star Lewis Hamilton and his 2008 Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes. I will admit that until this past season I was not a fan. I considered Lewis to be arrogant, distant and immature but – at the same time – I appreciated how he rose above episodes of racial slurs and criticism. During the 2010 season I came to admire him as a maturing and confident young man with the talent, focus and determination that could make him an all-time great.
With my new perspective I enjoyed looking back to Lewis’s 2008 season, including his battles with Kimi Raikkonen and the nail-biting finish in Brazil that resulted in his becoming the youngest driver (at the time) to win the World Drivers Championship. Despite his frustrations and misfortunes of 2009 and 2010 I found his fifth and fourth-place WDC finishes commendable.
I have also come to admire and appreciate Lewis off the circuit as well. From his touching tributes to Ayrton Senna in a McLaren video and an episode of the British TV series “Top Gear” to his interaction with fans and visits with children. Lewis has always had the potential to be a top F1 star. Now he’s showing himself to be a top F1 ambassador and leader as well.