Hamilton carries English hopes after defeats

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Interlagos, 2007, 6 | DaimlerAs the week began three major sporting events were dominating the headlines:

England versus Russia in the Euro 2008 football tournament qualifier, England versus South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final, and Lewis Hamilton fighting to win the F1 world championship.

But after two defeats it falls to Hamilton to lift the sporting spirit in his homeland – and cement himself and his sport in the nation’s affections.

A surprise comeback by Russia saw them win 2-1 and all but see off England’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s European championship. South Africa’s rugby victory was less of a surprise, but no less galling to fans of the former rugby world cup holders.

The English media fixates on the country’s great sporting failures – or, at least, those individuals and teams deemed failures in the eyes of the press and public. Tim Henman is a fine tennis player, but he’ll never be forgiven for not winning Wimbledon.

I don’t care for the nauseating hype that now pervades most mainstream coverage of anything to do with Lewis Hamilton. But I like to see F1 in good health in my home country. I’d like to think that a Hamilton championship and the surge of public interest it would bring would lessen the likelihood the British Grand Prix disappearing from the calendar.

If tomorrow’s race does give Hamilton’s British fans the result they want, I won’t be complaining if I end up reading more F1 headlines in the future, and less about all those other sports that leave me cold.

But above all, let’s have a close, exciting, free and fair fight, with none of the acrimony and controversy that has spoiled the season. Let it be decided on the track, and may the best man win – whoever it may be.

Photo: Daimler

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4 comments on Hamilton carries English hopes after defeats

  1. verasaki said on 21st October 2007, 7:03

    This sort of puts some of the Hamilton hype into perspective for me. I expected it but the devisivness of support surprised me a bit. Especially since so much of it seemed to be among the Brit populace itself. But, new kid on the block, and hot to boot-maybe not surprising anyone prepared to be underwhelmed would not like to find themselves proved wrong.

    The US, being as large as it is is able to support it’s own microcosm of sport, most of which I happily ignore. I’ve never really understood Mansell mania and the whole Button hype, although I understand how Mansell could be loved,times were I loved him, too; and how the hype may have doomed Button. It never really occured to me, and Brit buds never bother to explain, that your sport deals on a more international level than we do and occupies a smaller scale at the same time when it comes to a support level. I suppose that odd contradiction exists because GB is geographically and popluation-wise a smaller country with more traditional bonds to certain sports and, historically has closer ties with a wider world.

    While US sport fans can appreciate the Futbol World Cup, they don’t actually sweat a US soccer team losing to some obscure country most Americans couldn’t point out on a map-Brazil for instance- but Green Bay losing to Philadelphia-is a national tragedy (example only, I randomly picked team names and honestly I’m not sure one isn’t football, the other baseball). Most of the world sees the US get it’s ass kicked in a futbol match but, few Americans notice. In alot of respects we’re really still an isolationist country.

    Which for lack of segue, brings me to why this year was so disappointing. It should have been Hamilton’s year, hype and all. I guess it was just bad timing it all got caught up into several other issues,all emotional, all connected, more or less. But I can’t help but wonder if all the sideshows going on didn’t take some of the pressure off him. If it weren’t for the atmosphere around him, he might have been hit in the face full bore (pun intended) of the press.

    At the beginning of the season I was open mouthed and wide eyed about the kid and tellng people, here we go…talent turns up when most needed. What unfolded was something else and really shadowed this guy’s year and possibly, probably permanently skewed attitudes about him one way or another. The nature of fandom and loyalty I suppose. I still don’t actually belive Prost took out Senna deliberately at Suzuka. That shadow of doubt will always persist.

    This year found me formally declaring myself in a driver camp (Kimi) and finding reasons to compare Hamilton to Prost (my last declared driver fav). Alonso? I still have to love what I’ve alwayss seen and hope next season sees that Alonso 100% back on form. If GB needs a Hamilton win, I think the odds are good. I’m not sure I share your optimism that that will be either a raucous or quiet end to it.

    I agree, though, to lose a British GP round would be devastating not only to GB but F1 as well. If it takes a British driver to guarantee the round, I think he’s been found. I think it’s sad that it takes a British driver to secure the position on the calendar.

    Cheer up, Spa went off the calendar and came back. I doubt Britain will go off, but, I can pretty much guess it won’t be for long.

  2. It’s not been a total waste of british sport we already have one champion, James Toseland won the World Super Bike championship but got swept under the carpet because england beat estonia (i Think) evan so it will probably be a footballer or rugby player that wins the sports personality of the year award and not some one who deserves it like Hammy or Toseland!!

  3. I think that Lewis Hamilton has got the Personality of the Year trophy sewn up this year now that England have lost the rugby. Lewis has simply been hyped too much for it to be otherwise.

  4. There are other sports? Why wasn’t I told?

    Seriously though, go the Pack!

    (inserted to amuse American readers and confuse everyone else)

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