Will Gray

  • Lewis Hamilton's move to Mercedes didn't just make him a champion - it made him a better man

    The British star has gone from a brilliant but volatile talent to a mature and composed driver - and it's mostly thanks to Mercedes, says Will Gray.

    Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger (Reuters)Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger (Reuters)

    When Lewis Hamilton announced he was leaving his long-term McLaren home to join Mercedes in September 2012, he always stated that the 2014 title was his goal.

    In Abu Dhabi, that target was ticked off.

    Hamilton was drawn to Mercedes by a man no longer at the team, Ross Brawn. By the point he made his decision, the team was already in the early stages of concept design on the 2014 engine and car.

    It must have been clear they were heading in the right direction - but the move was a leap of faith on both sides.

    Mercedes’ performances were far from what they are now and, at 27, Hamilton was about

    Read More »from Lewis Hamilton's move to Mercedes didn't just make him a champion - it made him a better man
  • The three things that could stop Lewis Hamilton becoming F1 world champion

    The British superstar is guaranteed to claim a second title on Sunday - or is he? Will Gray points out the pitfalls which could yet scupper his dream.

    Lewis Hamilton (Getty)Lewis Hamilton (Getty)

    All Lewis Hamilton needs to do to win his second world title is follow Nico Rosberg home for Mercedes’ 12th one-two of the season.

    Easy, right? After all, the Mercedes has been a class apart all season.

    But F1's history has shown us time and time again that things are never that easy in title-deciding races, which have a tendency to trip people up.

    After a season of tight competition just 17 points separates Mercedes’ two title challengers, and with 50 point available to the winner of the final race it's all coming down to the wire.

    And although Hamilton has the points advantage he knows all

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  • The biggest seven points of the season? Rosberg finally puts Hamilton under pressure

    Lewis Hamilton is under pressure, while Caterham's backs are against the wall - F1 expert Will Gray takes a look at what we learned in Brazil.

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

    ROSBERG TURNS TABLES ON HAMILTON

    It may have only been seven points Lewis Hamilton lost to Nico Rosberg in Brazil, but it could have a crucial bearing on the championship in more ways than one.

    Firstly, the pressure was on Rosberg after being squarely beaten by Hamilton in the previous five races, and he desperately needed to recover some confidence by proving he had the tenacity of a genuine title contender.

    With double points up for grabs in the last race of the season, the title battle was going to go to the wire whatever happened - but this was all about mind games.

    It had been all

    Read More »from The biggest seven points of the season? Rosberg finally puts Hamilton under pressure
  • F1 crisis: Is it time for third cars?

    Are third cars the solution to the current Formula One financial crisis?

    A member of the Caterham Formula One team cleans one of the team vehicles ahead of the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone race circuit, central England, July 3, 2014A member of the Caterham Formula One team cleans one of the team vehicles ahead of the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone race circuit, central England, July 3, 2014

    The disappearance of Caterham and Marussia from the F1 grid in Austin re-ignited the debate on the sport’s future – so with the small teams struggling is it time to let them go and pin the future on super teams?

    Spiralling costs coupled with the unfair distribution of wealth within the sport finally put F1’s two newest teams into administration last week.

    Despite seeking a solution for what seems like decades, nothing has ever been done to help smaller teams survive and now Sauber, Force India and Lotus effectively become backmarker teams on a grid that has shrunk to 18 cars.

    A recent study

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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin applauds the winner Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain after the first Russian Grand Prix in Sochi October 12, 2014.

    Lewis Hamilton now has his biggest points advantage of the season – but it his victory in turn two at Sochi that will convince him he has one hand on the title. 

    ROSBERG BLOWS IT 

    RUSSIAN FEDERATION, Sochi: (L-R) Second placed Mercedes' German driver Nico Rosberg and winner Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton stand on the podium after the inaugural Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom.RUSSIAN FEDERATION, Sochi: (L-R) Second placed Mercedes' German driver Nico Rosberg and winner Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton stand on the podium after the inaugural Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom.
    Nico Rosberg’s tyre-smoking lock-up at the start of the Russian Grand Prix marked a potentially decisive swing in the title run-in – both in terms of points and in terms of mental attitude. 

    Hamilton’s strong defence as the pair went wheel-to-wheel into turn two on the opening lap, and Rosberg’s subsequent mistake that sent him wide, trashed his tyres and forced him to switch strategies, led to an easy win for

    Read More »from Gray Matter: What we learned in Sochi
  • The accident suffered by Marussia’s Ferrari academy driver Jules Bianchi in Japan involved a significant amount of bad luck – but there are still some big lessons F1 can learn from it.

    The rain was torrential at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix when Bianchi’s car speared off the road and shot under the rear end of a reversing tractor as it moved Adrian Sutil’s stricken Sauber from the edge of the track. The incident has led to many questions – why was the race not started earlier, why was the safety car not out sooner, and how is it even still possible for F1 to suffer this kind of

    Read More »from The lessons F1 MUST learn from Bianchi crash
  • Vettel and AlonsoVettel and Alonso

    The confirmation of Sebastian Vettel’s departure from Red Bull looks set to result in two new long-term partnerships in Formula One. But the question now which one will succeed?

    When all falls into place, it is likely Vettel will be leading the effort to take Ferrari back to the front of the grid while Fernando Alonso will be tasked with reviving the McLaren-Honda legend.

    Given the current state of both teams, each move is clearly a big gamble. However, although Mercedes are well ahead this season, the potential for development in the early stages of the new regulations means both

    Read More »from Gray Matter: Who will succeed - Vettel or Alonso?
  • Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) - GP of Belgium 2014Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) - GP of Belgium 2014
    Max Verstappen will become the youngest driver to ever participate in an F1 weekend in Japan on Friday – but what does his rapid graduation say about Red Bull, and is it too big a risk?

    Young drivers are not new to Grand Prix racing. Jaime Alquersuari became the youngest when he joined the field in 2009, but before that it was Mike Thackwell, who raced in 1980, with Ricardo Rodriguez, who raced in the 1960s, before him.

    Verstappen’s graduation to Toro Rosso race driver at what will be 17-and-a-half years of age come next March, however, slashes that lowest age marker by over a year and has

    Read More »from Gray Matter: Is Max Verstappen a risk too far?
  • Will Gray looks back at the Singaporen Grand Prix, which saw Lewis Hamilton put his title hopes back on track - but which also raised some major worries for Mercedes and witnessed Red Bull make a blunder that could easily cost them the title.

    RED BULL’S MISSED TRICK

    Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
    Red Bull may live to regret the decision to allow their drivers to follow each other home in Singapore – because it cost Daniel Ricciardo crucial points in his challenge for the title.

    Ricciardo has consistently out-performed team-mate Sebastian Vettel this year and is comfortably the team’s lead driver, with three race wins and

    Read More »from Gray Matter: The Red Bull blunder that could cost them a shock title victory
  • Cars drive into a corner during the Formula E Championship race in Beijing (Reuters)Cars drive into a corner during the Formula E Championship race in Beijing (Reuters)

    The new all-electric Formula E series made its debut on the streets of Beijing last Saturday – but does Formula One need to worry about it becoming a rival?

    The introduction of KERS in 2009 saw F1 become one of the first major racing series to involve electric power and this year’s new rules have taken that further, with more KERS and a new heat regeneration system.

    But Formula E takes things to a new level with the traditional internal combustion engine replaced entirely by an electric powertrain developed, ironically, by engineers from Williams and McLaren.

    And although F1 has had many

    Read More »from Gray Matter: Can Formula E rival F1?