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F1

Was it madness, bravery or simply feeling that all the bad stuff that could happen had already happened? Lewis Hamilton, so often almost dismissive of his achievements, is collecting records, awards and accolades with every race. But in Mexico Hamilton, directed to the place where the top three cars were parked despite finishing ninth, was beside himself with joy. Unable to give a proper interview to the persistent and increasingly irritated David Coulthard, all Hamilton wanted to to was to get back to his team. And so, as the crowd swarmed onto the track, he turned and ran. There was no personal security, no looking around: just Hamilton running the long way back without a care in the world. Now, perhaps, the world will start to like him.

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It didn't rain. Vettel's tech problems in qualifying put him at the back of the grid (and tech problems put Raikkonen out on the grid) and he drove brilliantly, without bullying or cheating, to challenge for third (but then he reverted to type and behaved like an idiot after the race had finished: does he have a heavy left hand, or poor peripheral vision on his left?), Hamilton came second sandwiched between the Red Bulls, Verstaapen, on his 20th birthday weekend, won. This is what F1 is all about, the best racing on the best track in the world. And now, with a heavy heart, it's time to report that F1 in Malaysia is over.

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Let's be clear: I've lived in Malaysia, I love Malaysia, I'd like to live there again. It's a wonderful country full of absolutely lovely people (with a few crazy exceptions) and in the ten years I lived there it began to restore its fortunes as a regional leader, a position it had somehow lost in the 1980 until the mid 1990s. Amongst its crowning achievements was the astonishing Sepang circuit. But, due to a succession of errors of judgement, this amazing place managed to lose its pole position as the regional home of motor racing, surrendering without a fight to newcomer Singapore which doesn't even have a track but has a can-do, will-do attitude that seems to have completely eluded the Malaysian authorities. The reasons, it saddens me to say, are plain to see and are a mix of the neglectful and the deliberate. Things have become so bad that I'm in Malaysia but I'm not going to the race.. read on to find out why I and many more will miss the final (ever?) F1 in Malaysia.

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It's easy to blame Sebastian Vettel for so many incidents, especially where he collides with another car. He's a horrible person and he's aggressive when he shouldn't be. But for once, although he was highly aggressive in the first corner of this year's Singapore Grand Prix, and he caused a crash which took out his team-mate Raikkonen, Verstappen and Alonso and himself and put Hamilton into the lead, it wasn't entirely his fault.

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While many recognised the successes of Michael Schumacher, he was never a hero to generations: his achievements were simply a target while those of e.g. Clarke, Senna and a handful of others were as much a matter of folk-lore as numbers. These, like Jenson Button and Filipe Massa had drawn adoration, even love. Lewis Hamilton currently holds pretty much every record there is to hold in Formula One but the status of icon eludes him. How come?

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Leaving aside Vettel's dangerous driving and the stewards' lenient treatment of that, the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was a genuine classic with some inspired driving by several drivers and some surprising results.

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Let's be clear about one thing: if a normal person deliberately drives his car into the car of another driver, he goes to jail. How, then, does Vettel get away with an insignificant penalty plus three points on his licence (that will have little or no effect due to points due to expire soon) for exactly that action. The FIA needs to review the Azerbaijan stewards' decision, retrospectively cancel Vettel's points from Baku and impose a meaningful and immediate ban of, say, three races. Also, he should be penalised for causing a collision when he ran into the back of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes causing extensive damage.

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This might just be the shortest motorsport article ever. Can it even reach past the "Read More" link onto a full page?

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We all know motor racing is dangerous, be it F1, MotoGP, Indycar, Aussie V8s or any of a host of lesser series. But safety developments have been such that most drivers and riders walk away from the most devastating crashes. Here are some that have been spared serious injury, never mind death, by those improvements, many of which began with the work of Prof Sid Watkins, Ayrton Senna and Sir Jackie Stewart.

If you are a fan of motor racing, don't bother with yesterday's Monaco Grand Prix. An utterly dull procession for almost the entire event was punctuated only by odd-ball happenings and intrigue. If you are a conspiracy theorist and find humour in the oddest places, there might be something for you. But first, this telephone call from Fernando Alonso waiting to drive in the Indy 500 to Button, in the car on the way down the pit lane to his own, personal, lonely, starting line.

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Russian President Putin, who it is generally accepted was at least instrumental in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 seems to think it's OK to bash the South East Asian country. His comments to a driver for team the name-sponsor of which is a Malaysian oil company, demonstrated an astonishing lack of sensitivity: is he simply callous or is he trying to inflame passions?

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It is, perhaps, ironic that one of Ferrari's most ardent supporters, Bernie Ecclestone, isn't the boss of F1 any longer as the Prancing Horse danced its way into the first victory of the 2017 F1 Grand Prix season in Melbourne, Australia.

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Now the cars have arrived at a proper race weekend, we can at last see what the cars look like, hear what they sound like and get some comparative data on this year's cars against last year's. And we can see what might be not quite right and that's a long list.

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Oh, no we didn't.

Oh, yes they did.

The pantomime that is Formula One is underway, even though the season is not.

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Listening to Bernie Ecclestone trying to swerve between keeping commercial confidences and his natural desire to talk to the press at the end of last season was an object lesson in how to tell smiling lies, or to tell such a deviant version of the truth that it might as well have been lies. There were two special examples: there were no negotiations for the sale of F1 and, when that was proved wrong, that Bernie would be in place at the new company for three years. That one was proved incorrect, yesterday, when the deal with Liberty Media was completed and Bernie's jobs were both taken over by someone else.

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