Up, Down, Up

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Or maybe a more appropriate title would be Up, Down, Up, Down, Up, Down, Down, Down, Down and then Up, and Down again, or something like that. So has been the 2015 season of Lewis Hamilton. From the outset, the smart money is on Hamilton to win another championship this year. But then again, as we have been witness to, just when it looks as though it is all going the Briton’s way, something like Hungary happens.

The checkered flag waved in Hungary a few Sunday afternoons ago and F1 braked for the summer. Had things gone to plan, with Nico Rosberg starting in second as the only person that realistically could get in the way of a driver’s title, Lewis should have consolidated the momentum that has been his throughout the first half of the year and taken win number six. Hamilton should have won this race, no questions asked.

Instead Hamilton blew the start (again) and made it worse by panicking which then caused him to miss a corner and lose more positions so that when the dust settled at the end of the first lap our championship leader was back in tenth place. So much for things going to plan.

Let me step back for just a second before I dish the dirt on Hamilton and address the 800-pound V-6 turbo in the room. There have been some rumblings about how this season is a bore-fest, how F1 needs to spice up the action and how the drivers are not driving the car. As with many complaints in F1, there is a tiny bit of truth in this. For the record I am always in favor of spiced up action. But I would say there have been plenty of thrilling races this season. Back in Malaysia the race seemed quite exciting when Vettel took a surprise win while Mercedes was asleep at the wheel (no pun intended).

While F1 was in Bahrain, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg locked horns throughout the second half of the race, which also was pretty darn exhilarating.

Monaco, while routine for most of the race, threw up some excitement at the very end which resulted in Hamilton and Mercedes with egg all over their face and that was pretty stimulating. And how can you not in some way see the British Grand Prix as stirring, at least the last several laps?

Hungary was definitely not boring albeit for the entirely wrong reasons as far as Hamilton is concerned, in this blogger’s opinion, but exciting nonetheless. That being said, F1 needs a race or two of complete chaos just to remind everyone that is involved in this sometimes boring formula (not), that even in this Mercedes-dominated era, just like the Michael/Ferrari era or the Sebastian/Red Bull era, nothing should be taken for granted and the dominant team does not always win.

Everyone should take note it is not totally inconceivable that one Sebastian Vettel could make a real run for the title in the second half. It is a big if but just remember Fernando Alonso did the same thing in 2010 and 2012 and dare I say begrudgingly, Vettel’s freshman year in red looks hauntingly similar to the Spaniard’s. Enough said.

Back to our points leader. As the Hungary weekend got underway, it looked like Hamilton was in one of the up phases with a win in his home grand prix, a win prior to that in Canada, a podium second in Austria. And also by completely dominating Hungary Qualifying, until all of a sudden he was in 10th place. What’s the old saying in F1? Anything can happen and it usually does…

If Hamilton was a stock it would be not be a stretch to call this stock volatile. We all know how the tide can change in F1 and all of a sudden a driver’s hot streak can come to an abrupt end. Hamilton called it perfectly at Silverstone, but it could have very easily gone the other way. If the skies had refused to open up it would have been Nico Rosberg who would be the victor. But as it turned out, lucky for Ham, unlucky for Rosberg.

In Hungary, Hamilton was not so lucky as he was in England. The thing is, what befell the driver in car number 44 was of his own doing. Hamilton just kept piling on the errors. Still, the Briton took it in stride. Accepted responsibility and now must move on. If jet setting around over the break with Instagram photos of Hammy with Jack Nicholson and Bon Jovi (not quite sure about that one even though I like some of the his songs) is any indication, Hungary is water off a ducks you know what. My guess is Hamilton has long forgotten the weekend to forget and is excited to race in Belgium at a track similar to Canada, which he excels at.

And so it goes for Lewis. One race, driving the car to its limits and looking unstoppable to the outside world. The next moment, licking his wounds and trying to figure out what the hell just happened. One moment being asked to leave the royal box at Wimbledon the next moment hanging out with Hollywood royalty. What does this mean for the rest of the season? Not quite sure what it means as far as the jet setting stuff. But in regards to the racing stuff we can only guess.

Right now Lewis has a twenty-one point lead and a two-race advantage on Nico Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel is a further twenty-one points and three race wins back. Percentage wise it looks like this Lewis Hamilton has won fifty percent of the time to Rosberg’s thirty-three percent and Vettel’s twenty percent if I have down my math right.

To me, that is not much of an advantage. A few accidents, a couple of reliability issues and Hamilton’s points lead is nil. As it were Rosberg was on track to really gain some ground back in Hungry until his own mistake with Daniel Ricciardo put that plan to rest. True, in the end the winning driver only needs a slight advantage, one point to be exact. Or less if he is ahead on tiebreakers. But with the whole second half of the season to go, Hamilton better hope for a lot of boring races no matter if it upsets the F1 caucus. Because too much spiciness might cause an indigestible result.

The results from free practice one and two for this weekend’s contest in Belgium in the picturesque Ardees Mountains are in the books and Hamilton is a couple of tenths behind his teammate which at this point is negligible. Hamilton usually goes well in Belgium and I have predicted a win for the Briton, which is to say I am predicting Hamilton will be back to his old self.

But lets all remember what goes up at some point must come down…

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Paul KieferJr

….and we can look forward to that next year.