another high point for f1 talent was the early 1980s. Here Jones leads Villeneuve, Prost and Piquet at the start of the 1981 finale in las Vegas. By contrast, Hakkinen and Schumacher (Belo W) often had only each other to beat in the late ’90s.
from even a bucking bronco of a car, the
guy who gave us an Ayrton Senna-like
demonstration of outrageous superiority
in the rains of Silverstone 2008.
But he’s also the one most likely to find
trouble – either on-track or off. Some see
that trait as immaturity, but that implies
it will in time be tamed. In fact, that hair-trigger emotional release is just the way
he’s wired up and is also what makes him
great. The one thing that may prevent
him fulfilling all his potential isn’t that.
Rather, it may be the apparent turning of
his head by the celebrity company he keeps.
Sport and showbiz – with its lifestyle, its
poisonous neediness, the vacuous way it
celebrates and positively reinforces
celebrity-hood – make a bad mix.
Alonso is almost as naturally gifted,
has a warrior spirit and a much shrewder
feel for what’s required at all levels. When
he’s locked onto a target – either on-track
or in a title campaign – he’s a heat-seeking missile that will not be diverted.
But emotion can take him, too – witness
his skewed reaction to rookie Hamilton’s
speed alongside him at McLaren in 2007
– and if his cause is seemingly hopeless,
he has a tendency to lose focus.
Vettel is super-smart and applies that
intelligence to a high raw ability and is
becoming ever-better on a steep trajectory, but is still more
impressive from the front than in fighting through or
defending. Button has a near-miraculous feel for grip in
changeable conditions and has what Stewart describes as “the
cleanest and smoothest way of driving of any of them,” but is
over-sensitive to changes in chassis balance.