F1 Betting: Hard working Hamilton
Last season Hamilton seemed to spend most of his time between races moping or moaning about problems with the car before jetting off to America for some rest and relaxation
Ralph Ellis likes McLaren's main man mucking in with the mechanics and doing some in-season testing as part of his ongoing 2012 F1 preparation.
We're used to seeing the subs bench in team sports. Be it football or rugby, there's a group sitting there waiting for their chance, occasionally warming up along the touchline to be ready for the action. The legends of both sports contain many tales of "supersubs" who have saved the game.
What's never been so obvious is that the same thing clearly happens in a Grand Prix garage. I've never quite noticed any mechanics going through stretching exercises, or pedalling a static bike, but they must be there. McLaren proved it on Sunday when they replaced the left rear wheel gun operator mid-race after a disastrous pit stop.
You feel for the poor guy who got the proverbial hook midway through the race, but it wasn't the first bad stop the team have been guilty of this year. Lewis Hamilton, whose race in Bahrain was wrecked by the mistakes, also had chances to win in China but was too slow getting back into the pit lane which gave Fernando Alonso vital ground.
There's clearly work to do for the team. And the fascinating thing is that Hamilton himself has confirmed he'll be scrapping some planned time off to join in. When the first in-season test session is run at Mugello in Italy next week, he will be there. Test drivers Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey were due to be on duty, but the former World Champion will be in the car in person instead. That marks a huge sea change in attitude.
Last season Hamilton seemed to spend most of his time between races moping or moaning about problems with the car before jetting off to America for some rest and relaxation. Meanwhile team mate Jenson Button was becoming hugely popular in the garage for the amount of time he devoted to working with his mechanics to fix problems and improve the set up. It was one of the key reasons why Button ultimately finished second in the Championship.
It's a lesson Hamilton has learned.
"We need to figure out why the tyres are going off, and if there are other things to test, I will be the one to do it, not let someone else," he said.
At the moment in a season that has seen four different winners, Betfair's markets are reacting from each race. Sebastian Vettel is now 2.98 favourite to retain his drivers' title, but I can't help thinking that's too short because even Red Bull boss Christian Horner is still being cautious about his car's prospects. Just as we profited from avoiding Hamilton at short odds before Bahrain, so it still seems you're better off laying a favourite in the F1 market than backing him.
Hamilton at 3.6 and Button at 5.6 both look capable of collecting consistent points this year, while the impact of Lotus taking two of the podium places last weekend means we're looking at a wide open season. Success could go to the driver who works hardest to help his team fight through their flaws, and if Hamilton is buying into that sort of work ethic he will be well worth watching.
Five things you might not know about Gary Paffett
1. Born March 1981 in Bromley, Kent, his dad Jim is a motor racing enthusiast who drove in club races at nearby Brands Hatch.
2. Gary was given his own Cadet Kart as a Christmas present when he was nine, and took to it so easily that he was spotted by multiple World Karting champion Martin Hines and selected for the Zip Young Guns team.
3. He got his first McLaren Formula One test drive as a prize for winning the Young Driver of the Year award in 1999. He did so well he's tested for the McLaren team every year since, and was full time test driver in 2006.
4. He was due to be a main driver for the Prodrive F1 team in the 2008 season but missed out on a first Grand Prix drive because the project was scrapped.
5. He was 'loaned' to Saraha Force India as the reserve driver for this year's Australian Grand Prix because Jules Bianchi was unavailable, but wasn't called on to drive.