Open Mic: The Greatest Achievements and Biggest Disappointments in the World of Sports
Lewis Hamilton's first season in Formula One has been second to none; the very first black racer in the sport, Lewis had media attention and marketing brand talent written all over him before he even arrived in Australia for his first ever GP in F1.
Lewis' first season was ground-breaking, sensational, pushing boundaries and standards to new levels; this young man changed the face of Formula One in his very first season. In seventeen grands prix, Lewis notched a whopping six pole-positions, four victories, two fastest laps, and 109 points in the driver championship. A maiden season of that sort in Formula One has never been witnessed let alone recorded in the annals of the sport.
An achievement in itself that reflects the hard work and determination Lewis has put in during all those years, preparing to join the elite club of drivers one day... His record before then is nothing short of impressive:
- 2000: World Kart Champion
- 2003: British Formula Renault Champion
- 2005: European F3 Champion
- 2006: GP2 Champion
Hamilton's first strike came in the very first grand prix of the season in Melbourne, Australia. Fourth in qualifying, the Briton made it to third in the end, becoming the first-ever driver to score a podium finish on his very first race!
An achievement in its own measure, yet as history would have it the world of Formula One would be in for one of its biggest rollercoaster rides with Mr. Hamilton at its command. Taking the lead of the driver's championship in Spain, then somewhat being caught by the skin of the teeth by then teammate Alonso in the Monaco street showdown was just a measure of respite; for Lewis was back in the big seat when he rolled his first GP victory in Montreal on his sixth career grand prix only; yet another achievement!
Lewis by then was eight points clear of runner up and fellow teammate Fernando Alonso, the next grand prix in Indianapolis Hamilton decided he would own this race and he did it beautifully taking his second win of the season. Another achievement of equal proportions and surprisingly by then Kimi Raikkonen was behind Hamilton by a whopping margin of twenty-six points; who would have thought the Iceman would be world champion in 2007?
Lewis' mean streak of domination continued, thanks to his being capable of keeping his high performance on a very consistent regime!! Scoring podiums and thus keeping his lead, in actual fact Lewis had scored nine podiums in a row before his downturn in the European GP. Yet another great achievement and for a newbie to combine everything he had achieved so far was just the stuff of legends, to keep his head above water focusing on his races was just next level!
However after such a successful start to both his career in Formula One and to the 2007 season, Lewis' fate was to take a turn for the worse. Heading into the European Grand Prix; Lewis crashed in qualifying prompting medical attention; cleared to race his second jinx came when he ran wide because of the wet track condition; his ninth place on this occasion was the sweetest opportunity his opponent had been able to get hold off in a while; winning at the Nurburgring Fernando Alonso managed to narrow the gap to two points with his teammate.
Lewis managed to hold on to his grip on the driver championship's top spot with extra wins in Hungary and Japan and a consistent run, always scoring points, whilst his opponents were sharing amongst themselves the remaining grands prix.
Lewis' chance to re-write the history books came crashing and burning - let me rephrase that- his chance of winning the world title went spinning into the gravel, because McLaren pitted him one lap later which further damaged his over-worn tyres...hence giving his opponents one last breath of hope to lift the silverware in Brazil.
Coming into the Chinese Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton had the very opportunity to be crowned champion with runner up Alonso twelve points adrift. All Lewis had to do was score three more points to "seal the deal". However events did not turn out in his favour; in the most unbelievable turn of fates this season, Lewis Hamilton had to retire in a most embarrassing fashion, sliding off a damp pit lane and beaching the car in the gravel. His fans would find it hard to believe it was check and mate.
From there his direct opponents for the driver's title (i.e. Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso) were like sharks smelling blood from an injured prey; the Iceman won with Alonso second in China meaning the driver's championship was to be decided in Interlagos.
Interlagos 2007- Lewis' biggest disappointment in Formula One ever; coming from such a long way to achieve greatness in Formula One yet falling behind unable to beat the pressure on his small shoulders, Lewis' disappointment was equally measurable to his achievements in his first season:
- Third place in first grand prix
- Briefly led driver's championship after Spanish Grand Prix then went on to lead with commanding authority following his first win in Canada and lasting until the season's finale!
- Won his first grand prix after only his sixth race.
- Won his second grand prix the very next race weekend following his first, thus making it his first career double.
- Scored an impressive nine podiums in a row.
- Owner of two fastest race laps.
In the face of all these great achievement in his first year of racing - what was to happen in Interlagos was to wipe away the dream of becoming the first ever black and rookie driver to win a world championship in Formula One!
Coming into Interlagos Lewis had a four point lead over Alonso and seven over would-be winner and world champion Kimi "The Iceman" Raikkonen. All Lewis Hamilton had to do, could he not beat his challengers, was to score six points if Alonso won the race, (although they would have been equal on points and victories Hamilton had more second places); moreover Hamilton's job against Raikkonen would have been all the sweeter only having to score four points to secure the title; the reason is the Iceman had one victory extra over Hamilton so it was vital to finish a point over the Finn in the driver standings to clinch the world title.
In the end Hamilton finished seventh despite qualifying second; too much pressure and a big mistake out of sheer frustration of losing position to both Raikkonen and Alonso saw Hamilton losing it completely at turn four; the rest is history and this has been Hamilton's biggest disappointments when weighed in to his greatest achievements in his rookie season.
In the end Lewis' first season has just been phenomenal to say the least.
Having gone beyond, the sky was just not the limit for this young talent who fought tooth and nail for a chance to write a page of history of his own making. Why all the disappointment in the face of having achieved so much others just could not boast of?
My guess is Hamilton wanted everything that had number one written on it; furthermore because Lewis was the first rookie to perform in such a dominating fashion in the F1 world; to come this far and not become champion at the climax of the season was all the more melodramatic and terribly disappointing;
Hence a greatest achievement and a biggest disappointment in one season. A page of history written by a talented young man who saw nothing less than victory as his sole measure of greatness!