One of the things that Lewis Hamilton cannot afford to do is to stop and think. What characterises a professional Formula One pilot is mental focus, attention to detail and fast information processing to achieve successful driving. All these skills are vital in Formula One.
It is vital because the risks faced by the pilot are innumerable, and all of them deadly. Motor Racing Teams as Red Bull, McLaren or Honda have developed increasingly lightweight, aerodynamic and safer cars. However, these new features also make cars more fragile and dependent on the pilot’s performance.
Hamilton started his career in 2007. He has won the world championship seven times, and he has the world record of 99 pole positions won and has been on the winners’ podium nearly 175 times. However, none of these facts prevented him from being involved in a serious accident on Sunday, September 12, at the Italian Grand Prix, in Monza.
The accident occurred when Max Verstappen lost control of his car and crashed into Hamilton’s vehicle. Both drivers were fighting, point by point, the Formula One championship of this year, 2021. As I write, Verstappen has been sanctioned for reckless driving and had a few points deducted.
What I find interesting is Hamilton’s reflection after the accident -that could well have cost him his life-. In an interview, he said: “It was a big shock. I’ve been racing a long time, and we are taking risks out there all the time” “It’s only when you experience something like that that you get that real shock, and you look at life and realise how fragile we are “.
Hamilton is a professional pilot, but his reflection can easily be on the minds of each of us in our daily lives. Do we need a moment of danger to hear our soul whispering into our ears: “Remember that you will die”, “You will take nothing to the grave”.
After this “Memento Mori” last Sunday in Monza, do you think Hamilton will drive as before? Will he be able to consider what happened to him? Will he think about this while he drives at full speed to the last section of the track that will lead him to be the Formula One champion once again? We will never know. But what we will know is that each of us is in a hurry living our lives, taking risks, facing obstacles forced to make quick decisions. While all this is happening, someone has put a fluorescent billboard in our internal motorway that says: “Monza, Sunday, September 12, 2021”.
Photo: The Guardian