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Better than half the grid // Reviewing the 'Life Behind Lewis' documentary

Published by Mr. C

At the tail end of last year, on the 30th December to be precise, a Formula 1 related video documentary aired in the UK on ITV4. You may not have heard of it, I imagine most people didn't know it was on because ITV didn't bother to promote it.

I didn't see any advertisements for the program, and no mention was made on their F1 website, so you can be excused if you missed it. We only heard about it because a friend of ours texted to suggest we tune in. The documentary was entitled "Life Behind Lewis".

As it happened, we were busy at the time the program aired, so we threw the details into the PVR and went about our business. This week we managed to catch up and it turns out we got it completely wrong. The show had nothing to do with Lewis Hamilton, and made no reference to his dad at all. It was in fact a documentary about Anthony Davidson. The 'Behind Lewis' premise being something to do with following the McLaren driver from some distance.

In an ideal world the program would have been called A Year in the Life of Anthony Davidson and we'd be raving about it for weeks to come.

The content was a mix of the fantastic peppered with the surreal. At times we got to see some really unique footage of an F1 driver away from the media. Anthony getting himself lost while following Sat-Nav through France, or taking 12 minutes to top up his oil at a service station were just a couple of the highlights. But every now and then the narrator would drop in some random reference relating to Lewis, as if to keep the casual viewers attention.

More Davidson highlights included what I assume to be a sneak preview of Super Aguri's 2008 challenger sitting in a wind tunnel - it had a McLaren style bridged front wing attached, which as far as I'm aware has never been publicly tested, let alone raced.

The program was also the source of Anthony's wonderful soundbyte that did the rounds the first couple of days of this month:

I'm so happy I've proved to myself that I'm good enough for Formula 1, and probably better than half the grid – I can say that easily, without a doubt.

Added to that, Mr. Ecclestone must have been having a good day when this idea was pitched to him, because official FOM race footage appeared during the broadcast, including a re-run of Ant's stellar qually lap in Turkey. Bernie's going soft in his old age.

At points the tenuous Hamilton connections started to wear thin, as did the lack of video - I had to hide behind a cushion when the camera slowly panned across a collection of Autosport magazine covers, presumably due to a lack of any suitable Lewis footage.

Due to the vagarities of our PVR, we did manage to miss both the beginning and the end of the show, so there may have been other key bits we didn't see. I'd be curious to learn what Anthony thought of it all as there's nothing on his official site, nor on Super Aguri's.

It's such a shame that ITV decided to bury this program, because a documentary like this deserves better.

If you did manage to catch it, please let us know your thoughts.

Disclaimer: Didn't appreciate this at the time, but this TV show was made by a company called USP Content, the very same people who took us to Honda Dreamfields in 2007. My complaints still stand though, some things could've been better.

Update: It's been pointed out to us that during television re-runs, the FOM footage was excluded due to rights restrictions. In short, scrub the bit about Bernie going soft in his old age!




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