Racing drivers don’t die anymore, right? Wrong. They do. Hours after a wonderful second Grand Prix in the southwestern archipelago of South Korea, Dan Wheldon died in an IndyCar. Warning: spoilers.
I had meant this to be a post about the serene beauty of Lewis Hamilton’s qualification lap, fast enough to spoil Red Bull’s perfect run of pole positions for 2011. McLaren’s brooding, troubled child was a rueful Zen master on track, driving with such imperturbable perfection that even Sebastian Vettel couldn’t touch him. The same Sebastian Vettel who has been on pole 12 times this year and whose ratio of pole positions to Grands Prix competed in is fast approaching Ayrton Senna’s.
I had also meant this to be a post about Sebastian Vettel’s newfound dark side, evident since that pass on Fernando Alonso in Monza. He has taken to moving in for the kill with the drive and hunger of someone looking for a first Grand Prix win, going for crucial passes at the very first opportunity, completely unlike how one would imagine someone who’d just won back-to-back titles at a year-end four-race encore. Instead, he’s now won his 20th race, giving Red Bull the constructors’ championship in the process.
But then Dan Wheldon died in Las Vegas, a guy who’d grown up with Jenson Button in the UK, and Jenson Button is now on track to be Vettel’s first serious rival for next year and Dan Wheldon is dead.
So this will be a post about none of those things.
Illustration by Peter Orosz. Gallery curated by Natalie Polgar. Photography by Clive Mason/Getty Images, Mark Thompson/Getty Images and Clive Rose/Getty Images.