Lewis makes right choice on the track
PUBLISHED: 13:52 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 22:26 26 October 2009
HOCH ZWEI / Michael Kunkel
BBC 5-live F1 commentator David Croft gives us his exclusive view on events in Turkey last week IT was a weekend of choices in Turkey. For some of us no more mundane than do I stay in the heart of the city where all the fun is, or do I find a hotel on t
BBC 5-live F1 commentator David Croft gives us his exclusive view on events in Turkey last week
IT was a weekend of choices in Turkey.
For some of us no more mundane than do I stay in the heart of the city where all the fun is, or do I find a hotel on the Asian side where it's not quite so exciting, but at least it doesn't take you two hours to get back from the track.
For those who know Istanbul, there's only one choice.
Forget Taksin Square, wave goodbye to the traffic jams on the one bridge over the Bosphorus and stay on the Asian side of the city.
A 20-minute drive to and from the track more than makes up for a few quiet nights in and with Monaco next on the calendar, there's no harm in getting a good night's sleep in Turkey.
Anyway back to the choices, which for Lewis Hamilton were slightly more important.
Some he got wrong, some he got right, and some he really had no option with, but made the best of the situation nonetheless.
It started on Thursday when he was invited to play the Greek God Apollo in a re-enactment of the Battle of Troy.
His team title sponsor Vodafone decided it would be a splendid idea to have Lewis fly in and break up the battle, before flying off again.
They were wrong!
Lewis looked uncomfortable and to be blunt foolish, hanging around in his branded race suit.
He admitted that wasn't cool and told the newspapers that he just turned up and got on with what he's been told to do.
After seeing the footage he thought it was one of the worst things he'd ever seen, and I'm not going to disagree.
But he had a choice and should have said no.
Besides, would the mobile phone company have got more mileage out of Lewis breaking up the battle with a quick phone call to the troops?
Or couldn't he get a signal?
Let's face it; it wouldn't be the first time!
On the track, Lewis and his McLaren team were faced with another choice for Sunday's race.
Bridgestone had found that because of Lewis's unique driving style the front right tyre could be prone to failure the longer it ran.
Turkey is a unique track in that it runs anti-clockwise and the mammoth turn eight puts immense strain on the sidewall of the tyre.
They advised the team to run a three-stop strategy to eliminate the possibility of something going wrong, a strategy that would weaken McLaren's chances of victory.
So faced with the choice between safety and victory what did McLaren do?
They went with safety, and bearing in mind that last year Lewis did have a tyre failure that cost him third place, it was the right call to make.
It did, however, put them at a disadvantage, starting behind Felipe Massa.
At best Lewis, running a lighter fuel load, was going to be held up by the man on pole. At worst, his team-mate would get in the way as well.
In fact, the gloomy prediction from the team for Lewis Hamilton on Saturday was a best-placed finish of fifth.
No wonder then that his demeanour was so glum, out-qualified by his team-mate who was carrying more fuel than him, and on course for only fifth in the race.
So what was the choice? Accept your fate? Or do something to change your destiny?
Thankfully, Lewis chose the latter and treated us all to a fabulous display of out and out aggression for 58 laps.
Constantly chasing down and on one occasion sweeping past the eventual winner, Lewis put in a performance that he said afterwards was his best in the sport.
It certainly made for a great race to commentate on.
Even with a few laps remaining when victory was out of the question, Lewis had to hold off Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen, who had the scent of second place and was catching his title rival.
As it was, Lewis held onto second and celebrated with his crew as he came back to the pits as heartily as the victorious Felipe Massa.
He knew that by choosing to defy the odds he'd not only had a brilliant afternoon, but he'd also put some spark back into his title challenge ahead of Monaco, a track where after three wins in four races he goes brilliantly well.
I don't think he'd chose to head anywhere else after a fine weekend on the track at least here in Turkey.
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