About that one time Lewis was robbed

I’ve been following F1 for over a decade and today, after three days of waking up and remembering moments later that the events of Sunday still did happen, I know I’m pretty much done with following F1.

As if the extended season (22 races instead of the usual 18-20) wasn’t hard enough on the drivers, they also introduced sprint races, with the enticement of add-on points for the top three.

At the end of the day, no one likes being punked, investing time and energy and emotions into something you think is a real sport with, you know, rules and people in power to uphold those rules, to find out on the last lap of the season’s final race that reality TV has blended into F1 racing so much that it has become it.

The visuals of Horner instructing Masi on how to complete the race, and Masi going with it and cherry-picking who to get out of the way to allow Horner’s driver the chance to win. Lewis being so calm through it all.

Yeah, I’m done. Today, we watched Dirty Dancing. Earlier this winter, it was: Road House; Point Break; Lethal Weapon… I danced and danced to the last scene of Dirty Dancing. I remembered: I used to go out to dance. I looked up the places I used to go, they’re still open, with vaccine certificate and face mask requirements I’m happy to adhere to. When a hobby starts to age you, it’s time to replace it. Formula 1 tried to age me these past few days. The injustice of it, the blatancy, and the sheer idiocy.

Verstappen, with his whole schtick of saying Lewis is afraid of him, has been meek in accepting the gift from Masi. No more bragado about how fast he is: he had Perez’ slipstream and defense against Hamilton; new soft tyres against Hamilton’s hards; new hards to Hamilton’s worn hards, yet Hamilton kept opening up the gap. Hamilton beat him fair and square, then Horner whispered in Masi’s ear.

This from the New York Times:

This is the world we live in now, but there’s a precedent – I used to watch WWF (I guess it’s now called WWE) as a kid, make the schoolyard Hulk Hogan jokes and all, beg my parents to get the cable tv that covered whatever channel it would air on, etc, until an authoritative source told me and my sisters it was all scripted. I lost all interest.

Thankfully, Hamilton is fully a personality now, with interests outside of F1 that keep him interesting even to non-followers of this sham sport, like I’m about to be. I’ve already stopped receiving F1 updates in my feed; their nonchalance to Sunday’s daylight robbery is not unexpected but it’s still surprising.

At some point, it will dawn on them that their era is over.

In the meantime, Max Verstappen goes from aggressor to neutered FIA pawn, which is at least in part unfair to him. He’s never going to be able to successfully defend his gift from Masi, no matter how much he tries to twist our understanding of what it means to win (“Toto texted me to tell me I deserved to win“ doesn’t qualify). The New York Times article, for instance, was telling, and set the tone for how the non-F1 crowd, whose validation (e.g. via interviews, sponsorships and magazine covers) he surely craves, understands what went down on that race track on Dec. 12. This is not a true champion. Poor Max will have to live with that.

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