In the warm up to the qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix Nick texted me to say, “I wish they’d shut up about Lewis”. I reminded him to embrace and enjoy it as it would be going on all summer.
It did, at the time, seem pretty over the top. I mean he hadn’t even won anything. Was this another Jenson situation? Was he being hyped? Clearly there was an element of hype going on. But I think the guys on ITV knew he was the real deal.
They had to ramp up the chances of Jenson, or at least they felt they had to, because they ratings are never higher than when they have a British champion to cheer. I think what they didn’t realise was that the excessive way they went about it meant that viewers had higher expectations than they should have. I think this often left viewers disappointed with Jenson even when he’d done quite well for him.
So I think viewers were naturally skeptical at ITV when they started going crazy for Lewis. And yet this time it was different. This time it was for real. In fact so far Lewis has exceeded even the lofty heights he has been raised to. They put him on a pedistal, he put himself on the podium.
So now it has all come true. He’s won two races. He’s been on pole twice. He’s only getting better. The only danger now is that he begins to believe he’s invincible. He was getting pretty close to those walls. We don’t want to see him have a nasty crash.
He has a race in hand now. It will be interesting to see how he uses it. Alonso traditionally has been willing to settle for second once he was this far ahead knowing that because he was more reliable he’d always be in first or second so there was very little chance for Michael to catch up. But I’m not convinced that Lewis is that kind of driver. I think he wants to win badly. And with Alonso nipping at his heels he’ll have to be careful. Even if Alonso is a big girls blouse about wanting to be loved by the team, he’s still extremely quick.
Back after Lewis’ first grand prix I was so impressed I said he’d equal Michael Schumacher’s seven world championships. I was told I was being a bit previous. And maybe I still am. But everyone must see that Lewis isn’t an empty shirt, no he’s the real deal.