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Helmet totem helped Lewis to Sepang win

2014-03-31 08:51

POWER OF WORDS (AND A HUG): Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, his 'Still I Rise' motto clear on his helmet, has a mutually congratulatory hug with team mate and second-placed Nico Rosberg after their 1-2 win in Malaysia. Image: AFP/Ed Jones

TALEK HARRIS

SEPANG, Malaysia - Lewis Hamilton said an ability to rise from adversity helped him to a long-awaited Formula 1 win from the 2014 Malaysia GP that set him up as championship favourite and put Mercedes back on top of the points table.

The tattooed and bejewelled Briton, 29, led from start to finish for his first victory in eight attempts at steamy Sepangin what was far from a classic race.

The win ended the 2008 F1 champion's eight-month barren streak and confirmed him as ready to challenge for a second title. The 'Silver Arrows' team now tops the Constructors' points ladder thanks to its first 1-2 since pulling out of the sport in the 1950's.

Nico Rosberg was second, 17sec behind.

PERSONAL SETBACKS

Hamilton's helmet was decorated with the words "Still I Rise", the title of a poem by American Maya Angelou, which he also has tattooed on his back. He said he drew inspiration from the poem as he fought through career and personal setbacks after becoming, at 23, what was then F1's youngest champion.

He has not finished a season higher than fourth since.

His former team, McLaren, slipped well behind Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull team on the points table but then, after a whirl of rumour and speculation and problems with his pop star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, he elected in 2013 to leave long-term employer and mentor McLaren for Mercedes.

Before that, in 2010, he elected to ditch his father Anthony as his manager... but back to the helmet...

"It's what I have tattooed on my back so I just added it to the helmet design. I think the metaphor is that, regardless of what difficulties you go through, you still rise above it," he said.

"That's something my dad forced in me. We've had so many ups and downs throughout our lives and our careers, as everyone has, but he would always say 'just rise above it' and 'do your talking on track'."

'QUESTION OF TIME'

Despite the win Hamilton, who retired from the 2014 season-opener in Australia, remains behind Rosberg in the standings. He will also be aware of the resurgence of Vettel, winner of the previous four championships.

The Red Bull team has struggled with F1's complex new 'power units' but showed it was back in the hunt with Vettel's first podium finish of the year. He warned: "I think it's a question of time, how soon we manage to catch up. Then we try to give them a harder time."

What did YOU think of the second race of the season? More exciting, noisier, more competitive? Tell us in the Readers' Comments section below or email us
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Read more on:    red bull  |  mclaren  |  vettel  |  malaysia  |  sepang  |  formula 1

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