Those are the stakes and fine margins both teams are playing to right now, moment to moment. It’s so easy to be wise after the event.
Texas ranger rides again
Hamilton has a phenomenal record in the US. He won at Indianapolis in his first season back in 2007, soundly defeating McLaren team- mate Fernando Alonso in what was only his seventh GP. He has subsequently won five more times in the US since the race switched to the Circuit of the Americas in 2012, four times in successive years. Of those five, the first one was particularly memorable and not just because it was Hamilton’s last victory in a McLaren. In a tense chase of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull, Hamilton pounced for the lead when the German lost momentum behind Narain Karthikeyan’s makeweight HRT.
He will be living on his instincts once again on Sunday, against a rival who has yet to win in Texas. One slip at this stage and all could be lost. If it’s a driver error that makes the difference, that’s one thing, but a car failure would be hard to bear – and not only for the unlucky chap in the cockpit.
Here, then, is the delicious dichotomy of motor racing: in its purest moments, it’s a sport centred on brilliant, driven, selfish individuals – but who count for nothing without the dedication and expertise of every person on their team who stands behind them. The pressure right now within Red Bull and Honda’s Milton Keynes bases and at Mercedes in Brackley and Brixworth will be off the gauge – but it’s also what these people live for.