In any given sporting year you’ll see athletes do incredible things with the clock winding down. It’s what they’re hired to do, and the nature of the competitions they’re involved in to try and make these things happen.During the reign of Michael Schumacher Formula 1 drifted into tedium during the closing passages of the season frequently, with unassailable leads transformed into comfortable Championship wins.
That’s changed in recent years, and revitalised one of the great sporting competitions, but this year’s must have been the tightest of all time. Lewis Hamilton had recovered from a faltering start to head into the final race of 2008 with a slim 7 point lead over Felipe Massa heading into the final race of the season, Massa’s home Grand Prix in Brazil. This meant he needed to finish fifth or better, assuming Massa won, to clinch his first Driver’s Championship. Heading into the final lap of a wet, confused Grand Prix, the cards had seemingly fallen Ferrari’s way, with Massa leading and Hamilton agonisingly short in sixth. What happened next was what we’re calling The Biggest Clutch Play of 2008.
What Lewis Hamilton did, in altering the outcome of the entire 2008 Championship holding his nerve and passing Timo Glock after Felipe Massa had already won the Brazilian Grand Prix, and seemingly the Championship, was the most heart-stopping thing we saw all year. Some might argue that all Hamilton did was take advantage of circumstances which happened to him, rather he made happen, as Glock slid backwards on his dry tyres. But that completely underestimates the gravity of the situation he found himself in, the hunger to succeed just to put himself in that position… The kid did something beyond reason. Just look at the expressions on Ferrari’s faces as the first win, then lose the Championship by the slenderest of margins.
As far as sporting moments go, there was none more dramatic than that this year.
As a runner up we call far closer to home, Michael Witt’s try to keep the Warriors in the playoffs and create history, with Warriors upsetting the Storm to become the first 8th placed side to beat the minor premiers. The try was all down to Vatuvei, and the unquenchable faith of this Warriors side in one another, against a Storm team who seemed to believe the Premiership was theirs as of right. It was a beautiful thing, even if I can’t find footage of it.