Polar Opposites


1971_Brazilian-Grand-Prix reducedLewis Hamilton and Tony Stewart are lined up to share something extraordinary.  This summer, they are billed through their mutual sponsor Mobile 1 to trade race cars for a day at the legendary track Watgens Glen.  I wonder how this will turn out, as it had a major effect on Juan Pablo Montoya 8 years ago during a similar exhibition with Jeff Gordon.

Here’s my prediction on what is going to happen. Hamilton will rip out of the pits and start clunking gears away with clutchless shifts as if the cup car had a sequential transmission.  During lap 2, he will start pushing it and will set a flying lap time by lap 3. He will come back into the pits and start talking to the team manager about handling characteristics and see if he could get some changes made for the car to handle closer to his style. Then he will tear out again and set a faster flying la1_C288_largep.

Stewart will be trained on F1 technology, use a simulator which the team will bring along and will run through a series of what-if scenarios.  A track logistics team member will run through the turns one by one so that Stewart can anticipate brake zones and an proper racing line for the McLaren. Afterward, the team will warm up the car, run a series of  diagnostics, start it and throw a set of heated intermediate tires on it. He will ease it out of the pits and onto the track where he will work toward getting heat into the brakes and tires.  On lap two, he will still be learning the car and by lap three, he will probably still be learning the car without meeting its full potential.  But, he will come back smiling ear to ear like a kid at a candy store.

I believe this type of attention between the two leading motorsports of the world will draw healthy attention.  That is, of course, if the two fan bases can seem to agree for once.  I wonder how well Stewart will be able to handle McLaren’s finest, and if Hamilton will figure out the cup car as quickly as Montoya did.

[Source - ESPN]

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