Anyone who has read the recent biography I wrote on Michael Schumacher will know that one of his greatest qualities was that he never gave up.
It’s a vitally important quality in a sportsman; the game isn’t over until the final whistle, the chequered flag. It’s something I try to communicate to my own son, look at these guys like Schuey, they never think it’s all over, they try until the last and he’s taken it on board.
Anyway, this is by way of saying that we had a few examples of the value of never giving up on Sunday. Brawn GP wouldn’t even have been there if Ross and his management team had taken the easy option and given up at any one of the many stages during the winter, when a rescue of the team looked hopeless.
It’s become clear to me, incidentally, how vital a part Ron Dennis, Martin Whitmarsh and Norbert Haug played in saving the team. Mercedes didn’t have to come in with an engine, they already had Force India as a customer and to go from no customers to two in a matter of months is quite a logistical challenge.
Another man who didn’t give up was Lewis Hamilton. He went from 18th on the grid to 3rd and got a valuable result in a poor car. A lot of people think he’s overrated and that too much fuss was made in the last couple of years about a driver who was just privileged to be sitting in the best car. Fair enough, that might turn out to be the case so that is why it is vital to see, now that he has a poor car, whether he has Schumacher’s quality of doing the best with what he’s got.. until the bitter end.
I think Sunday was a credit to him. He was lucky that Vettel and Kubica collided, that Trulli was done by the stewards and that Ferrari messed up. Without those things he would have been seventh. But that’s precisely why you never give up, because those things do happen.
Hamilton has posted some reflections on his race on his site and I found resonances of what I’m talking about here.
“It was one of the most unexpected results of my Formula 1 career and, yeah, I think it was one of my best drives too. I’m a fighter, I’ve never given up at any stage of my motorsport career – both on and off the track – and last weekend was the same. I pushed like crazy on every single lap of the race, always looked for the gap and worked with the team over the radio to find every possible way of making us go quicker. This was a fantastic result..maybe on paper not look as strong as our victories, but to come from 18th on the grid to finish third, in a car that we admit is not as good as it should be, is a mega achievement.”
“I learnt to never, ever, ever, give up. We showed in Brazil last year that we would always fight until the very end, and we showed it again in Melbourne.”
It’s a fight now for him and his team to catch the Brawn drivers. At least he is ahead on points of his other likely title rivals, Kubica and the Ferrari drivers.