Racing lines: November 2018

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

Current page

182

Current page

183

Current page

184

Current page

185

Current page

186

Current page

187

Current page

188

Current page

189

Current page

190

Lewis Hamilton’s Singapore GP pole lap was mesmerising, but Karun Chandhok was the architect of even greater visual drama at Goodwood

Advances in technology are often blamed for spoiling the spectacle of motor racing, but it has enhanced my enjoyment immeasurably in one area – the images provided by in-car footage. With modern race cars apparently glued to the track by downforce, these intimate over-the-shoulder views are often the only way we get some true perspective on what our heroes are doing behind the wheel.

In recent weeks I’ve seen two new gems of fresh on-board. Predictably, the first – and the one I suspect most of you will definitely have seen – is Lewis Hamilton’s exceptional pole position effort in Marina Bay, Singapore.

Somewhat more left-field, but certainly no less enjoyable, is Karun Chandhok’s lap in a McLaren M1A Can-Am car at this year’s Goodwood Revival Meeting. Given the dilemma currently facing Formula 1 as it grapples with the shape of its future regulations, these clips couldn’t be more timely. 

I’ve watched Hamilton’s Singapore lap many times now (all in the interests of research, naturally) and it gets more impressive with every viewing. The sense of speed is startling – an impression amplified by the proximity of Marina Bay’s hard track limits. But look beyond his blistering pace and it’s the commitment, confidence and pinpoint precision that’s truly jaw-dropping.

It could well be one of this era’s defining laps. But is it thrilling? No, not in the visceral sense of, say, Ayrton Senna’s ‘out-of-body’ qualifying lap at Monaco.

Contrast Hamilton in Singapore with Chandhok’s effort in the shadow of the Sussex Downs and, although the two machines are worlds apart, there are some parallels that make the comparison valid and relevant. Not least the fact that although Goodwood isn’t a street circuit, it might just as well be. Its narrow strips of grass and solid earth banks afford minimal margin for error.

And this in a car you really don’t want to crash.

Chandhok’s lap spoke to me as eloquently as any of his pitlane analyses. He’s not a driver of Hamilton’s calibre, but the way he handles the McLaren shows someone who is blessed with rare speed and smoothness, along with the mechanical empathy to understand how a car wants to be driven. The beauty of his on-board footage is that the McLaren allows us clearly to witness a driver use all his feel and car control to work just beyond its limits, to release its ultimate pace.

Hamilton’s lap is a thing of wonder, but there’s more obvious artistry and jeopardy in the way Chandhok floats the fearsome M1A through the formidable Madgwick, Fordwater and St Mary’s corners, gets the tube-framed missile slowed for Woodcote then neatly teases it through the chicane with deft applications of lock, masterfully modulated throttle and maximum forward motion.

Hamilton’s qualifying lap was stellar, but the capability of the car almost entirely masked its knife-edge nature. It was also the precursor to a tedious race, whereas Chandhok’s lap was typical of a race weekend featuring some of the most exciting racing and impressive driving you’ll see anywhere.

His wasn’t the wildest lap of the weekend by any stretch, but it offered proof that when driven with the meticulous mindset and precision of an ex-Formula 1 driver, cars with more grunt than grip are a true measure of driving skill and magnificent to behold.

The experience clearly resonated with Chandhok, for he wrote this comment to accompany his lap, posted on Twitter: “Wrestling with the McLaren M1A Can-Am car at Goodwood Revival en route to the fastest lap this weekend. Really gave me an appreciation of how much the drivers had to work and how much more the drivers could influence the result when compared to modern racing…”

It’s what many of us have been thinking for years, but it’s great to hear it from someone so well qualified to make the comparison. 

F1 has long referenced ‘the show’ being central to its proposition, but rather than take a root and branch approach to improve the spectacle over the years, sticking-plaster solutions such as drag reduction systems and forcing Pirelli to make tyres from white, milk and dark chocolate have been applied.

Both have had significant effects, but rather than address the underlying issues they’re contrivances that deliver titillation and temporary respite from race-long deadlock.

Of course we’ve had a few great Grands Prix in recent years, but they are often the result of adverse weather or quick drivers overcoming grid penalties, not an inherent rightness in the regulations or the cars they create. Despite the brightest engineering brains, finest drivers and near-limitless budgets, come Sunday afternoon our eyelids are all too often forced to wage an unwinnable war against gravity. This is not a battle fought by anyone watching the Goodwood Revival, be they trackside or online.

There are clever people running F1. Far, far cleverer than I. Which is just as well, for there are immensely complex issues of both a technical and political nature that need to be solved.

Still the crux of the matter – at least as I see it – is a simple one, and Chandhok’s Can-Am drive and subsequent social media post smacked the nail squarely on the head.

Oh that those shaping Formula 1 can watch Hamilton and Chandhok’s in-car footage and find a way to provide the world’s best drivers with the tools to demonstrate the dazzling speed of the former and the expressive brilliance of the latter.

Dickie Meaden has been writing about cars for 25 years – and racing them for almost as long. He is a regular winner at historic meetings

Related articles

Related products