A driving ambition for Lewis Hamilton
ONE cannot but feel a great whoosh of sympathy for Lewis Hamilton when he is overtaken by a rush of patriotism.
Such an event happened on Sunday afternoon.
Much to the surprise of many, the Stevenage-raised Formula 1 race ace roared to victory in the German Grand Prix, leaving favourite Sebastian Vettel wallowing a long way back in fourth place.
It was only Lewis’ second win of the season and he was understandably emotional at the end of it.
What could not have been predicted was his reaction after the ceremonial prize-giving was over.
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He stood proud as God Save the Queen was played but then said the national anthem was too short at 44.4 seconds.
Lewis explained that a longer version was needed so that home-grown winners could relish their moments of victory for as long as those of other nations.
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He used a little journalistic licence saying that when Brazilian Felipe Massa wins a race, his national anthem “is 10 minutes long. When I’m standing there it lasts half a minute.
“I would urge the UK to make our national anthem longer.”
In fact, the Brazilian tune goes on for one minute and 53.2 seconds while the German one takes 54.4 seconds.
Usually, only one verse of the British national anthem is played at sporting events. It is thought the restriction is because many people do not know the words to the second verse anyway.
Perhaps the solution to Lewis’ complaint is to teach the full version of God Save the Queen as part of the national curriculum. I’m sure that would go down a storm in the UK’s classrooms.
A quicker way for Lewis to hear more of his national anthem would be for him to win more races, of course. But then there is the little matter of the Red Bull crew producing better cars than McClaren leading to the band striking up with the German or Australia national tunes more often than not at the end of Grand Prix races.
I’ve always thought it rather wasteful to spray champagne around after the trophies are handed over.
I bet they wouldn’t do it if they were handed a bottle of 1811 Chateau d’Yquem. One of these changed hands in London on Tuesday for �75,000, setting a new Guinness World Record for the most valuable bottle of white wine ever sold.
It went to a wine connoisseur to go on display in his new restaurant in Bali, Indonesia. The flight carrying it to the Far East will go nowhere near the southern part of Africa where the worst famine for years is threatening the lives of a vast number of people. Charities are appealing for many millions of pounds to aid them. I suppose one bottle of wine would not do much to help the plight of the starving and thirsty, but the money spent on this particular one could have gone a long way to assist in the struggle.