The psychology of being an F1 champion

Published: 17 October 2008

After last week's Japanese Grand Prix, it appears that Lewis Hamilton is not as cool as we all thought. Although mature beyond his 23 tender years, last weekend showed us why he's not quite the full package yet.

Hamilton's natural desire is to win – but, as with many of the great champions in the F1 pantheon, he can be selfish. Were he the finished item here and now in 2008, he'd surely have taken the sensible option: he would have hung back. The McLaren team had planned this strategy, but Hamilton elected not to take the sensible option at the Fuji Speedway. He paid the price.

Luckily for Hamilton, Massa is prone to making similar errors. Call it tempestuousness. Call it nerves. Whatever. This weekend will be the true test of character for both rising stars.

Who will keep a level head? If neither Hamilton nor Massa can manage it, then Kubica is waiting in the wings.

The 2008 F1 championship is far from over – and that's why this is one of the most interesting seasons for a while. Compelling, if contrived...

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