My mother first realized she was pregnant with me during the 1978 Formula One Long Beach Grand Prix. While James Hunt, the man I was named after, crashed on lap 5, there must have been something built into my DNA that designed a love of cars and racing. I love watching Formula One motor racing.
The 2021 season was full of suspense, drama, excitement, and epic achievements. The seven-time World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton, from Mercedes, was being challenged by Max Verstappen and his team at Red Bull for the title. As the second-to-last race finished, it became clear that the leaders were even standing on points, thus the last race would determine the champion. Rarely does it take the entire season to crown a World Champion. Usually with the points system in place the champion can be crowned somewhere in the last quarter of the season. What if I told you the final outcome of the 2021 season came down to the last lap of the last race? It did.
(Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen it yet, but seriously where have you been?)
Max had fresher tires (or tyres if you’re English) and although Lewis led for most of the race, due to an unforeseen incident the entire pack of cars was able to catch up as they were driving behind a slower safety car.
As the safety car peeled off and the race was able to resume, Max attacked, passed Lewis and drove on to become the World Champion. He was exultant! The team exploded with excitement!
Was it fair?! Was it legal?! Oh the lamentation in Lewis’s Mercedes garage! The protests! The throwing of headsets!
Perhaps it was a feeling of mortality creeping nearer, but during Covid, my family has grown closer, our extended family has grown closer all due to this sport. We spend time on video conferences debriefing the races and just talking and having fun. We were connecting. Humans need connection. Whether you’re on the first lap, taking a pit stop, or you’re on the last lap of your season, make the connection! It’s ok to forgive and move on. Decide to be kind, and let things go.
I am optimistic that we’re nearing the “last lap” of the pandemic, and that we will start to move into an endemic situation. Science and medicine continue to move forward. New antiviral medications are being developed and the vaccines are keeping more and more people out of the hospital. By all accounts the Omicron variant is (bad, it’s really bad, okay? Like get vaccinated, but) milder compared to Delta and with continued effort and patience, we can make it through. Hang in there!