The pinnacle of motorsport they say, the fastest sport in the world they say, the most expensive sport, there are different ways to define this sport but I see it as the sport that changed the entire way I look at life.
It’s none other than the great sport of Formula 1 racing.
Formula 1 or F1 dates back to the early 1900s but the first official Race/ Championship was recorded on May 13th, 1950 which was held in the historic circuit of Silverstone in Great Britain.
For me, F1 is not just a sport, its something far greater. F1 is my motivator. Just watching the sport on TV and seeing drivers fighting for the win at 300 km/h is just staggering. Some people say F1 isn’t actually a sport but I always tell them to watch a race to see what goes on in a race weekend.
I started watching Formula 1 right after the summer break of 2017. It was the Belgian Grand Prix held at the famous race track ‘Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps’. Watching that race made me fall in love with the sport and I’m still falling to this day.
I might be a little bit of a stereotype but I am a huge Lewis Hamilton fan.
After watching my first race I went back in time to find out and do a little bit of research on the sport. Here are some stats for you to know. (Updated to the end of the 2019 season)
- Most Drivers Championships:-
- Michael Schumacher- 7
- Lewis Hamilton- 6
- Juan Manuel Fangio-5
- Most Constructors Championships:-
- Ferrari- 16
- Williams – 9
- McLaren – 8
- Most Wins by Driver:-
- Michael Schumacher- 91
- Lewis Hamilton- 84
- Sebastian Vettel- 53
- Most Pole Positions By Driver:-
- Lewis Hamilton -88
- Michael Schumacher- 68
- Ayrton Senna- 65
The way I became a passionate fan was through following a Motorsport media page on Instagram know as WTF1. It stands for Who’s The Fastest 1, not what instantly pops to your head. So yeah I randomly followed this page when it was acquired by another Youtube channel I was following known as Car Throttle. This page WTF1 had everything you needed to know on their YT channel as well as in their website, which you should definitely check out after reading this :).
Watching F1 is something you have to dedicate yourself to properly understand the true way how the thing works out. For instance, a race weekend consists of 4 days.
- Day 1 being Media day. Usually a Thursday
- Day 2 being the day for Free Practice 1 and 2 on a Friday
- Day 3 is for Free Practice 3 and Qualifying on a Saturday
- And finally, Day 4 is for the Main Event, The Race on a Sunday.
Free Practice (FP) is given for teams to do testing on the cars and get the car’s set-up to their optimum working window to fight for the win.
FP1 is where teams test any upgrades they bring to the weekend to test them out and make adjustments to make the car work at 100% efficiency.
FP2 is mostly about seeing how the tires work for the circuit in the long runs and gather all the data required to plan various strategies for the main race.
FP3 is mostly a practice qualifying round, teams do low fuel load runs to make the cars go fast as they possibly can and get a benchmark on how they perform in Qualifying and The Race.
Qualifying is what decides the starting grid for the race.
Qualifying is done in 3 parts namely Q1 Q2 and Q3.
Q1 is a 30 minute session where everyone must do a lap and the 5 people with the slowest time get eliminated.
Q2 is a 20 minute session where the 15 drivers will set a lap time and again the 5 with the slowest time will get eliminated.
The remaining 10 will go into the final shoot out where they battle for pole in Q3.
Q3 is a 10-minute session where every team cranks up their engine as far as they can go to battle for pole position.
When Pole Position is taken the drivers say only 50% of the work has been done.
Race day, the moment every fan wants to watch without missing is the race, it starts at different times depending on where the race is held. But the FIA tries to start the race where the time to watch every race is the same globally. For example, all European races start at 6.40 pm here in Sri Lanka. Sometimes they have night races which would be the Bahrain GP, Singapore GP and the Abu Dhabi GP. The American leg of races usually starts very late, around 11.40 pm for us in Sri Lanka. And the Australian GP, Chinese GP and Japanese GP and probably the Vietnamese GP ( New Race Venue for 2020) will start in the morning, around 10.40 am here for us in Sri Lanka.
Now for the moment you guys probably came to see where this Sport changed my way of living life. Since I’m a huge Lewis Hamilton(LH) fan I’ll show you my point of view of the 2018 season. 2018 season starter, the Australian GP started out great for LH with one of two perfect Q3 Laps of the season. When the Ferrari’s were stronger and faster he still managed to get the lap done.
Now go to the race, LH started out great, he had a great start and was going well until a hazard on track brought out a virtual safety car where Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel saw an opportunity to get a free pit stop. When this was happening LH had a software glitch and was driving slower than what was necessary. With all the events combined Vettel could get pass LH in the pit lane and get the race win. Vettel won the second race as well, this brought up an old statistic where every driver except one who won the first two races always wins the Championship. This was not so good for LH he was still staying strong since it’s still the start of the season.
Moving on to the British GP (Home race for LH) where the Ferrari’s were strong every session LH managed to extract a Q3 lap that blew everyone’s mind, something no one ever saw before. Still, with the race start he lost his 1st place to Vettel then at Turn 3 Crashed into Kimi which put him to the last place. This was heartbreaking for millions of fans, you could hear the crowd in the stands gasping, but lewis kept his head down and went with all his strength and beyond and climbed up the order to finish P2. When he came out of the car the guy was exhausted but happy to have a strong race.
LH was still behind the points and to Vettel when going on to the next race in Germany. A mistake from him at the end of Q1 made him start P14 in the race. He had a lot of catching up to do. He kept his head down and doing what he does best, race hard and fast, the strategy was disturbed when the rain started, since race tracks cover a vast area of land only part of the track was wet but the majority was dry so rain tires was not ideal. This triggered what most people called the turning point of the season, the race leader, Sebastian Vettel went in too deep into a corner and crashed. A small mistake that cost him dearly. This made the race fall into LH’s hand and finally giving him the win, which is from P14 to P1 which was phenomenal considering that he is the second driver ever to win a race from starting from way back in the field.
Looking at these races and going back to many many races we could see how LH always keeps his head down and just keeps on doing what he does best, how when you dedicate yourself to the things you love to do, things work out well even though you have a very rough start.
This sport is cruel at times, for example in 2007 Chinese GP, LH was supposed to have an easy race to get his 1st Championship in his rookie year where a small gravel trap at the entrance of the pitlane which no one knew was there because it was so small, caught him, losing him the Championship. In 2008 Brazilian GP Lewis had to finish the race 5th or higher to win the championship but in the latter part of the race, rain started falling he pitted for rain tires and he was in 6th place until the last lap in the final corner before the Timo Glock who was on dry tires was struggling when he passed him to get 5th position and win the championship only in his 2nd year in F1 which was a first. This moment was famously known as the Is That Glock moment.
So to wind it all up F1 is a sport which showed me that planning and having a good strategy can take you a long way. Working while keeping your head down gives you the best results. Never lose hope till its finished. Push harder and harder every time you seem to have a problem and finally, all the hard work will always pay off and everything will be alright with time. When the sport starts to inspire you to get motivated to keep pushing harder and harder to get out of your comfort zone to do something you fear and make it work like nothing else.
I would really like to know your feedback and explain anything you want to know more about this great sport.
Just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Rtr. Theekshana Gunasekara