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Hamilton

When Valtteri Bottas pulled his car up to the pole position sign in the middle of the track at the Circuit of the Americas yesterday at the end of Qualifying for the 2019 US Grand Prix, there was no celebration as his crew walked around his car and prepared to push it away. After the interviews, he was left to walk back to the garage as an entirely solitary figure. Today, wasn't any better, despite him winning the race.

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Lewis Hamilton has long been amazing and he's just getting better and better. And still the public don't get behind a driver who is set to eclipse every record in F1 history - and has already done so in most. He is now beyond being statistically interesting: it seems like every time he gets in the car it's another milestone or another record. And that's before we consider his driving which has reached a level of excellence that is so good it doesn't inspire devotion. We are in the presence of greatness, a true star and one who doesn't cheat to achieve it (although he can be brutal when needed and sometimes has gone too far). His French Grand Prix 2019 demonstrated things that the naysayers won't be impressed by. They should be.

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The Canadian Grand Prix produced excellent and exciting racing. Strategy played almost no part and we were treated to motor racing at its best. Sadly, the racing has been overshadowed.

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F1 is a team sport and that means that, sometimes, hard decisions produce results that prejudice one or other side of the garage. Team orders are both a necessary evil and a despicable trick. Gamblers hate team orders (serves them right for trying to fly in the face of the nature of the sport then whining when it goes against them), fans of pure racing hate them (but those who are fans of the sport, per se, acknowledge their importance) and casual watchers don't understand them. Yes, they interfere with the spectacle and yes, they leave a bad taste in the mouth. And the 2018 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi left a taste that even the victory champagne could not wash away for either the man who came in second nor, importantly, the winner. And that's sad for the events eclipsed a truly great race, but that's not this story.

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Some months ago, we produced a series of our views of some of the ways that Formula One could be improved to avoid it becoming a high-speed procession around circuits that are, often, not very interesting from a spectators' point of view. One of those was a system where the fastest drivers were rewarded for being fastest but started at the back. In the past few races, without the incentives, that's what we've seen and yesterday's German Grand Prix demonstrated why it's such an excellent concept, even when the stewards act to spoil it.

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The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai often throws up things that seem like anomalies but after 14 years of doing it, the strange is becoming the norm. And it's that unpredictability that makes this the race where, so often, the season comes alive. This year was no exception: while loyalty would have had some fans predicting the winner, no amount of analysis of form of driver or team would have identified the winner nor the final result down to tenth place. It was a race of derring-do, bravery and magical overtaking by experts and dismal failures when others tried identical moves. Literally edge of the seat stuff with multiple battles right through the field.

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er.. Wow. I thought I'd miss the Grid Girls (amazingly, I didn't notice they weren't there until someone pointed out that the parade as they left the grid carrying their signboards aloft didn't happen) and I thought I'd hate the halo (I did, until the racing started and then, except for one novelty moment, forgot it was there). I thought I'd be confused by the names of the tyres (I was, so I ignored it and it became irrelevant chatter) and I thought I'd be bemoaning yet another procession (actually, that was kind of true but it was a procession with enough drama to keep it interesting). Aside from the obvious colour changes, team changes and the halo, what's so different? The answer is "lots."

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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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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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I've had to watch a recording of yesterday's race before I could write a fair piece. And that's because, twice, I fell asleep during the race. At least with a recording, when I fell asleep again, I could go back and see the parts I missed. There has not been such a race of nothingness for .. well, since Bahrain 2010. Seriously.

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Nico Rosberg is this year's Formula One World Champion, and he picked up his trophy, then told the audience at the FIA dinner that he was retiring.

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Headline: Lewis Hamilton has won 10 races this year, Nico Rosberg has won 9. Hamilton won in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg won the championship. Hamilton has had a disproportionate number of mechanical and electronic failures but he's also had a propensity to ruin his own starts. But, even so, Hamilton does seem to have been hard done by and even his team has, from time to time, been a little less than even in their support for their two drivers.

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Hamilton won, Rosberg was second. Then it all got a bit muddled. Now the a third driver has been awarded third place. If the shoe fits...

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Some people like to live in, or visit for show-events, an environment where they can parade their frou-frou doggies with bows in their hair while comparing the price of Paris lips (expensive gains more kudos, regardless of how ridiculous they look), cellulite treatments and, of course, to criticise the effectiveness of someone else's skin cream at keeping sun-induced wrinkles at bay. And they expect clear blue skies and sun.

Welcome to Monaco where it pissed down on race day. Then the sun came out. Then it rained again. Then there was the race which didn't do as expected, either.

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Some people like to live in, or visit for show-events, an environment where they can parade their frou-frou doggies with bows in their hair while comparing the price of Paris lips (expensive gains more kudos, regardless of how ridiculous they look), cellulite treatments and, of course, to criticise the effectiveness of someone else's skin cream at keeping sun-induced wrinkles at bay. And they expect clear blue skies and sun.

Welcome to Monaco where it pissed down on race day. Then the sun came out. Then it rained again. Then there was the race which didn't do as expected, either.

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