F1: young driver gives sports journo a workover

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarTuesday, March 4th, 2008

 
 

There’s a great article in today’s Times that reveals what happened when the paper’s motor racing correspondent went on a training session with Lewis Hamilton.

A dictionary definition of the word schadenfreude tells us that it describes satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.

Well, next time you’re thinking about press tickets to grands prix worldwide, VIP enclosures, paddock passes and exclusive access to the stars of F1, just picture Edward Gorman experiencing this:

How Lewis Hamilton racks up suffering to make sure the force is with him

…I climbed into what is effectively a cockpit complete with steering wheel and foot rests. Then Hamilton attached a series of bungee cords to the helmet – two on each side and one each at the front and back – at the other end of which are weights. The steering wheel is connected by bungee to pulleys and weights.

As you turn the wheel and turn your head in the direction of an imaginary corner, the machine replicates the pull of gravity that at some tracks can be the equivalent of more than four times a driver’s head weight. With 7.5kg on my head plus the weight of the helmet and 17.5kg on the wheel, I found it manageable, but I quickly got into trouble with the young man who finished agonisingly close to an unprecedented World Championship title in his rookie season last year.

“Pull your head up, man,” Hamilton, 23, said, laughing, “or you won’t be able to see where you are going.” For a few seconds, as I turned the “car” this way and that, sometimes holding the angle as you would on a long bend, I thought that it was not too bad. Then Hamilton reminded me that at a typical track he would make the same movements as I was attempting up to 18 times during one lap.

[snip]

I had earlier completed an exhausting two-hour workout in the gym, with cardiovascular exercise interspersed with weights routines designed to strengthen muscles used by drivers, particularly in the arms and neck. Hamilton and Kovalainen would complete a similar routine, but at double the intensity… Read the full article here…

Now, just you remember that laughing at other people’s misfortunes is a bad thing. Oh yes it is. This is absolutely not something to call to mind next time you find yourself in the Silverstone stands, soaked through on a rainy day, eating a substandard hamburger and drinking cold coffee…

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