By Carol M. Creasey
Ahead of the last triple-header of the 2021 season Sir Lewis Hamilton declared that the championship fight in far from over. With two track which favour Red Bull – Mexico and Brazil – coming up, he was even more determined to give it his all.
In Free Practice 1 Valtteri Bottas led, with the Briton in P2 and Max Verstappen in P3. However, Verstappen was back on top in FP2, and by FP3 Red Bull was totally dominant. Sergio Perez got P1 with more than six tenths of a second lead over the Mercedes of Hamilton, while Verstappen followed in P2. Afterwards the Dutch driver stated jubilantly that it was looking good for Red Bull in qualifying.
But sometimes pride comes before a fall. In Qualifying Verstappen topped Q1, while Lewis was sixth, but by the end of Q2, the Briton was in the lead. When Q3 commenced Bottas got a tow from Carlos Sainz, which gave him provisional pole with Lewis a tenth of a second behind him. In his final run Verstappen tried to get a tow from Perez to beat Bottas’ time, but Yuki Tsunoda and Perez both ran wide on their final lap, which disrupted his lap, and he had to settle for third. He was quick to blame Tsunoda, but was confident he would get the run down to Turn 1.
On race day once again the pendulum had swung back in favour of Red Bull. At the start Lewis went for the lead, with Bottas running side by side, thus leaving the door wide open for Verstappen to pass them both and claim the lead. Bottas was then hit by Ricciardo, which caused him to spin, and he ended up falling back down the grid. Verstappen’s car showed its dominance once again, and he drove out to finish sixteen seconds ahead of Lewis.
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Lewis, however, drove an amazing race, he maintained his second position, and held his nerve when threatened by Perez in the other Red Bull. Although his pace was much faster and he was on fresher tyres, try as me might Perez could not pass him, and the Briton showed once again that he is in a class of his own. He remained unruffled by the threat of the dominant car, and he held onto his second place. Unfortunately, Verstappen now has a nineteen point lead over him, which makes his championship hopes even harder to achieve. However, his fans can take comfort from the fact that all throughout the season he has outdriven the car, but it just cannot compete with the speed of Red Bull.
I feel disappointed that this year Mercedes decided to put all of their resources into the 2022 car, as it was a good opportunity for Lewis to get an unprecedented eighth championship. But, still we rise, our champion will continue to drive from his heart and put everything into his performances because it’s not over yet. Verstappen has already stated that Brazil is going to be good for them next week, but that won’t stop Lewis from being in full attack mode. I wish him all the best, and I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart for his valiant effort so far this year. Still we rise, Sir Lewis, still we rise!
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