Thanks for Excellence


November 2020 offered two shining public examples of humans “being best:” one on a racecourse in Turkey, the other racing up from Cape Canaveral to meet the International Space Station. Formula 1 went racing in Turkey on Sunday, November 15, in the rain. The unworldly talent, Lewis Hamilton, started in sixth position and stayed there for much of the race. Then the unexpected happened, as might have been expected.

Closer to home, in all the ground clutter of Democrats trying to steal our republic, you might not have noticed that Space X Crew Dragon roared off the launch pad with four astronauts aboard on November 16. We can be thankful for the individuals and entire systems that produce such amazing achievements while noting that they are gravely endangered by the global leftist movement, to which they at least pay lip service.

Space history:

Just five months ago, Americans returned to space in an American space vehicle launched from American soil. On November 15, the same SpaceX system went from test to regular service, with the full complement of four astronauts. The launch was a flawless nighttime spectacular. It seemed a matter of routine that the first stage safely landed itself on the barge, and we got to see the crew capsule, with its nose cone open, steadily approach and securely dock at the ISS. The cool space suits are just a bonus to this still new feeling American low earth orbit transport system.

Here is NASA’s official highlight reel from Day 1:

Unlike both the Apollo and space shuttle programs, SpaceX was designed for maximum reuse of components. We are now used to seeing launch components landing, being caught on mobile seaborne platforms. The first stage rockets land themselves. A boat with a massive overhead net is starting to catch another component, the fairings that protect satellites as they launch on the top of a rocket system. These components are $6 million a piece, so reuse becomes a real cost savings over time. Ms. Chief and Ms. Tree are on the job for Space X.

Elon Musk has refused to accept dead-end solutions like the Apollo program. Everything must build to future possibilities, with a long term goal of Mars and beyond. You see this in the SpaceX narrative of the Crew-1 mission:

Following Dragon’s second demonstration mission (Demo-2), NASA certified SpaceX for operational crew missions to and from the space station. Crew-1 is the first of three scheduled Dragon human spaceflights over the course of 2020 and 2021.

The return of human spaceflight to the United States with one of the safest, most advanced systems ever built is a turning point for America’s future space exploration, and it lays the groundwork for missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Pay attention to what SpaceX is doing on the Texas coastline and you will see this is not commercial puffery. They are testing components of Starship now.

SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket (collectively referred to as Starship) represent a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond. Starship will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, with the ability to carry in excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit.

Racing history:

Just 13 years after his stunning 2007 F1 debut, Lewis Hamilton caught the record of the greatest Formula 1 racer, Michael Shumacher, securing his seventh championship season with three races to go in the 2020 F1 season. He could have played it safe and still been sure of capturing the championship for both himself and his team, Mercedes. Formula 1 does not stop or postpone racing for rain, they just switch tires. With the track wet and more rain threatening, everyone started with “full wet” tires. The cars rolled out of pit row with massive open-wheel racing tires sporting aggressive rain-shunting treads to start the race.

Here is how Pirelli describes their F1 tires:

The full wet tires are the most effective solution for heavy rain. These tyres can evacuate 85 litres of water per second per tire at 300 kph. There’s a new profile designed to increase resistance to aquaplaning, which will give the tire more grip in heavy rain. The diameter of the full wet tire is 10mm wider than the slick tire.

The intermediates are the most versatile of the rain tires. They can be used on a wet track with no standing water, as well as a drying surface. This tire evacuates 30 litres of water per second per tire at 300 kph. There’s a new compound that is designed to expand the working range, guaranteeing a proper crossover both with the slicks and the full wets.


[Rated C1 through C5 for hard to super-soft compound tires]

Watch the official race highlight video and you will see the challenge facing each racing crew:

Because the weather really never cleared, with rain clouds repeatedly surging towards the racing course but not quite reaching the track, the surface was never quite dry enough to switch to racing slicks. The calculation, then, was whether to change out full wet tires as they wore down, and whether to go to intermediate tires or slicks. Put on new tires with tread on a drying track and you lose speed with all the extra new tread. Wait too long and you might get caught with tires worn slick and a cloud burst that wets the racing line scrubbed dry by all the cars. No tread and water means hydroplaning, sliding out of control, and out of racing contention. A bad enough crash takes you out of completing the race, and so takes you out of any chance of earning any points at all.

Hamilton was repeatedly advised by his crew, over the radio, on the best percentage play to make on tires. In the face of conventional wisdom, he showed courage to go with his own racing ingenuity and excellence, rightly assessing what his machine was doing on the racing surface. After one pit stop, he stayed out, on increasingly slick and fast tires, lap after lap. Eventually, he was moving up in the field. As every other driver played the percentages, he moved ahead. Suddenly there was no one ahead of him. Then the flashing red safety light in his car’s tail fin grew smaller and smaller, as he ran away from the field, winning by over 31 seconds in the Turkish Gran Prix.

To understand just how dominant Lewis Hamilton is in his sport, consider his career numbers leading up to the Turkish Gran Prix win:

Since the V6 turbo hybrid era began in 2014, the only world championship battle which Hamilton has lost took place in 2016, when he fell just five points shy of teammate Nico Rosberg in a battle that came down to the season finale, just days before Rosberg unexpectedly retired.

Hamilton’s 2020 title comes just three races after he tied Schumacher’s wins record of 91 and two races after he broke that record with his 92nd victory. The driver who replaced Schumacher at Mercedes ahead of the 2013 season now has 94 victories to his name, and he has not won fewer than nine races in any of the last seven seasons.

Should Lewis Hamilton live and be well, the 35-year-old will almost certainly raise the bar for future champions even further. Unlike Tiger Woods, Hamilton’s exceptional achievements did not come at the expense of his body. He does not have a history of injuries and surgeries related to his racing strategy. At the same time, his political posturing and F1’s postures may pose a similar career-limiting threat as Tiger’s physical dominance golf career strategy.

The technology is surpassing performance of earlier larger motors. If F1’s V6 turbo hybrid sounds a little wimpy at the top end of racing, understand that these complex machines may generate 1000 horsepower. The exact figures are F1 team secrets, but the top power is unleashed thought two forms of hybrid generated (electric motor) burst acceleration on top of a possible 700 horsepower from the 1.6-liter internal combustion engines, limited to 15,000 rpm. In this context, drivers and others in the business might be justified in believing in even further fuel efficiency and a seemly fantastic future of “carbon neutral” or even electric race cars.

So it is that an incredibly talented and privileged black man can be simultaneously grateful to a white man and overwhelmingly European organizations, who helped him all along the way, and also feel it important to strike all the current correct poses, from “racism” to the environment. Mind you, F1 has long been mindful of the political environments in which they operate. The extreme project of the current power plant is a response to European elite pressures to appear “green.” So, striking “green” postures is being a good F1 corporate soldier.

Real respect and gratitude:

The British Daily Star reported earlier this year on the mutual respect and admiration between the former McLaren team boss Ron Dennis and Lewis Hamilton [emphasis added]:

McLaren were the team responsible in helping Hamilton up through the ranks after first officially signing him back when he was 13-year-old.

“I got a text from Ron and I just want to send my love, and thank you for spotting me when I was 10 years old and believing in me,” Hamilton said via Sky Sports F1 after title number six.

“Without Ron noticing me at the beginning, I probably wouldn’t even be here.”

Lewis Hamilton’s own website highlights the long relationship with Ron Dennis:

Lewis with McLaren team boss Ron Dennis. At 9 years of age Lewis introduced himself to Dennis saying “Hi. I’m Lewis Hamilton. I won the British Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars.”

Parlor Pink Corporatist:

At the same time, Hamilton has been on board with all the politically correct positions on the environment, and now on “equality.” However, this “equality” presumes he will always be safe and competitive, not put at risk by inferior engineering or mechanical support, and it is quite blind to half the population. If he is the only Formula 1 champion who identifies as black, he has somehow missed that he has never even started an F1 Gran Prix race with a woman of any ethnicity in the field. Not that the BBC or other media would be so rude as to call this out. No, the BBC and others are all on board with the left’s current messaging, promoting the Marxist and racialist Black Lives Matter:

Long gone is the time Hamilton was just recognisable in the realm of F1 – he’s now a sporting icon, and with that his stance on a number of world issues has been thrust on to the global stage.

Hamilton is the only black driver to have smashed through the upper echelons of a predominantly white sport, a situation he is striving to change.

He has heavily backed the Black Lives Matter movement, but it’s not just wearing T-shirts and social media posts.

In June, he said he was setting up the Hamilton Commission in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering. It will explore how motorsport can be a vehicle to engage more young people from black backgrounds with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The commission will also look to tackle a lack of role models in the industry.

And Hamilton said when announcing the commission that it would attempted to break down “barriers that prevent people from more diverse backgrounds joining the racing industry, and problematic hiring practices that result in fewer black graduates entering engineering professions”.

Mercedes F1, as with the watermelon (green on the outside and red on the inside) politics of the “green” movement, is right on board with the latest leftist posturing, although they slip and mention women [emphasis added].

Mercedes F1 team said in a statement that “just 3% of our workforce identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups and only 12% of our employees are women.

“This lack of diversity shows that we need to find new approaches to attract talent from many areas of society we do not currently reach.”

The team will also launch a diversity and inclusion programme that will include raising awareness, analysis of their recruitment programme, collaboration with F1 stakeholders on accessibility and education initiatives.

Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff said: “Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, our sport or our team: this is a core belief at Mercedes.

“But having the right beliefs and the right mindset isn’t enough if we remain silent.

“We wish to use our voice and our global platform to speak up for respect and equality, and the Silver Arrow will race in black for the entire 2020 season to show our commitment to greater diversity within our team and our sport.

Perhaps the Silver Arrow should race in pink the entire 2021 season to show their commitment to greater diversity within their team and sport. Perhaps Lewis Hamilton will show his maturing awareness by adding #EndSexism to his car where it will be captured in each close up of him driving. Only two women have ever qualified to start in an F1 Gran Prix event, Maria Teresa de Filippis and Lella Lombardi. Lombardi was the last woman to qualify for a Gran Prix event in 1976, 46 years ago! Next year, the Marxist black women who supposedly lead BLM may well collect on Lewis Hamilton’s politically correct posture and demand immediate equality for women in every F1 position. If Mercedes next Silver Arrow must be primarily engineered by people who identify as black women, what do you suspect will be the result in the real world for Lewis Hamilton?

Mind you, Hamilton is apparently not yet enlightened about the supposed rainbow coalition, in which the vast majority of the world’s population is postured as a homogenized oppressed minority that is poised to be a righteously vengeful new “minority majority” in the “Global West” (heavily influenced by the CCP puppet masters in Beijing (Peking) who have supplanted Moscow, despite Czar Putin’s best efforts). Of course, “Asians” might well object to “black” demands, and “Latin,” “brown” people might well demand respect for the proven success of Brazilian F1 champions like Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet. In a global sport, why exactly should “black,” which is to say “sub-Saharan African,” be privileged above the rest of the “global south?” This last term comes from a 1970s leftist attempt to set the “West” dominated “global north,” against the “global south” as oppressor and oppressed, exploitive and exploited.

Perhaps we should at least temporarily credit F1 for the integrity of developing women in the lower divisions, in contrast to IndyCar and NASCAR briefly featuring Danika Patrick as eye candy and affirmative action attraction. She, like Bubba Wallace in NASCAR, made a lucrative career of racing competence greatly enhanced by identity politics. A brief survey of the careers of Bubba Wallace (who identifies as black) and Danika Patrick (who first tried to win in IndyCar and then in NASCAR), shows neither with the explosive inherent talent and discipline of Lewis Hamilton. So it is that we see an F1 blog expressing the opinion that a female developmental league must generate a champion with the talent to challenge Hamilton or Verstappen on the track.

Formula 1’s #WeRaceAsOne and #PurposeDriven (nothing to do with Rick Warren’s teachings) elite leftist social media programs fit into the global leftist campaign to crush stubborn remnants of Christianity (especially black American churches), “free market” capitalism, and republican government. What they seem not to get, along with Elon Musk and the movement to get humans off a single planet, is that the leftism they embrace rapidly, virulently attacks the massive wealth surplus upon with these luxury projects depend.


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There are 6 comments.

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  1. kedavis Coolidge

    And just think, in a few weeks President Biden/Harris can make all of this great space stuff illegal, with a single Executive Order!

    • #1
  2. Rodin Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    And just think, in a few weeks President Biden/Harris can make all of this great space stuff illegal, with a single Executive Order!


    • #2
  3. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller

    Clifford A. Brown: As every other driver played the percentages, he moved ahead. Suddenly there was no one ahead of him. Then the flashing red safety light in his car’s tail fin grew smaller and smaller, as he ran away from the field, winning by over 31 seconds in the Turkish Gran Prix.

    You couldn’t stop there?

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    We watched a launch from our kitchen window Monday or yesterday. (We get to see so many I lose track!) This particular launch, at night and boldly blazing was a sight to behold. I’m still in awe of the technology and commitment of those involved.

    • #4
  5. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the November 2020 Group Writing Theme: “Cornucopia of Thanks.” Ricochet will thank you for signing up, thus avoiding disco and bears.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #5
  6. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen

    I drove over to my parents to see the launch about 20 miles from the pad. It was a lovely launch to watch. I lot of people were watching it in there neighborhood. Living on the space coast all my life, launches get old when you have seen so many. Except night launches, which are the best when its clear. 


      Space-X still has to make money and is highly dependent on NASA contracts still but its still has way less goverment funding than any other rocket. Blue Origin has similar government help (thought it was less until I started researching it) Even though Space-X is making space travel cheaper by a factors of 4 to 5, which is revolutionary. Blue origins appears to be more pricey (its 100% private so we don’t know) but still cheaper than the the going rates with other rockets.

    However launching people into space is cheaper but not that much. We are talking 30 to 40% cheaper than the Russian (80 mil verses 55 mil)  and but quite a few times cheaper than the shuttle which was originally planned to cost closer the Space-x cost per launch, but never happened.

    3.1 billion to launch over 20 people into space over 6 missions. That includes all the R&D. That really is a pretty good deal , considering the cost per manned launch Space-x will charge in the future (to the ISS) sounds to be around the quarter billion mark.

    Heavy launches really have not gotten any cheaper since Saturn V until space-x came around. So what makes Space-x revolutionary is the whole market and tech has been fairly stagnate from a cost standpoint until now.  My numbers are based on real cost adjusted for inflation, this is not projected which seems to be still fairy book to me. Anyone who has followed history knows not the trust these numbers because NASA and aerospace companies never deliver.

    I could see heavy launches getting into the hundreds of dollars per pound


    • #6
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