By Carol M. Creasey
When someone has been racing for a long time, winning multiple titles along the way, they tend to get taken for granted. Their wins are also taken for granted, but winning is often not possible even if you have the fastest car. Winning on a regular basis requires tremendous consistency, which Lewis has shown to have in abundance. Last year he definitely did not have the fastest car for most of the season, which makes his performance even more remarkable.
Well, after Lewis took himself out of the conversation at the end of last year, it seem that the pundits and the media finally realised just how important he is to Formula One, and the speculation about his possible retirement and the impact it would have on the sport reached a fever pitch. However, after all the success that he has had, Lewis deserves to make up his own mind about when he will retire, and not to be pushed out by circumstances. In the meantime, what he has to offer to Formula 1 is invaluable, and the qualities he possesses are something not often seen in the sport.
First of those is his maturity as a driver. In racing there’s no substitute for experience, and over the years Lewis has shown he is a master at maximising his tyres and his chances, even when he is not in the fastest car. It is a quality which often eludes even those who have been racing as long as he has. Next is his attitude towards other drivers, always showing concern if they are involved in an accident, and always showing respect. Then there’s his ability to lose with good grace, which earned him a huge amount of respect after Abu Dhabi. Let’s not forget his fair and clean racing, as well as his ability to bounce back from difficult races and outdrive his car, like he did in Brazil last year.
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Outside the car, Lewis is not afraid to highlight issues that matter, such as racial justice and inclusion of ethnic minorities in motorsport. There are a few who criticise him and accuse him of meddling in politics, but such is their ignorance that they don’t recognise the difference between politics and basic human rights.
He is also not afraid to say he has suffered from mental health problems, which is so encouraging for those who have felt the same over the difficult past two years. It is a fact that none of us are perfect, including him, and he has the courage to admit it. We all have our weaknesses, but it’s important to strive to get better.
Lewis is also a great role model for the new generation of drivers, often offering them words of encouragement when they are down, and praising them when they drive well. George Russell has to be the luckiest young man on the grid to have Lewis as his friend and mentor, as well as the backing of the Mercedes team. With this support, he has the opportunity to become a champion of the future. In the meantime, like everyone else, I am patiently waiting for Mercedes to sort their car out, and I am looking forward to seeing them up there with Ferrari and Red Bull, fighting for yet another championship.
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