Sunday, 10 June 2007

Hamilton keeps his cool to win chaotic Canadian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton kept a clear head to take his first ever F1 victory today in a bizarre Canadian Grand Prix which saw the safety car deployed no fewer than four times, including in response to a horrific accident involving BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica.
It’s a bit too late to do a news write up covering all of today’s drama (see HERE and HERE for comprehensive race overviews) but here are some of my thoughts on today’s race. Continued...

If you’d told me just how manic today’s race was going to be I would have put my money on Alonso taking the win. Yet it was Hamilton who kept his cool today while the Spaniard seriously struggled in the face of pressure. Alonso was rattled by his rookie team-mate today. No question about it. We saw it in qualifying yesterday when he made that costly mistake into the final chicane. And again in today’s race; I lost count of the number of times he lost it into turn one. I don’t know why but it reminded me of Australia 1998 when a normally cool calm and collected Mika Hakkinen suddenly turned wild after he was wrongly brought in for his pitstop.

Alonso was unlucky to be caught out by the closure of the pit lane after the first safety car incident and there’s no doubt that his ten second penalty was also playing on his mind.

But Hamilton was simply too good today. I was particularly impressed by the way he defended his position at the start and didn’t feel the need to try and outbreak Alonso which would have undoubtedly ruined both of the Mclarens’ races.

Robert Kubica’s crash on lap 26 was huge and I was seriously concerned for his safety for a while. I hope something is done to prevent that kind of accident again in the future. If he had flown over that barrier god knows what could have happened. Incidentally, invert the track there and the incident, in terms of impact angle, and quite probably speed as well, wasn’t dissimilar to Roland Ratzenberger’s fatal collision at Imola 1994.

The main winners of the safety car deployments were Wurz, who looked chuffed to bits with his third place, and Kovalainen who must have been surprised to finish fourth given his miserable weekend.

Another driver that I think is worth a mention is Nico Rosberg. Despite the fact that he failed to score a point after a ten second penalty and an invisible tangle with Jarno Trulli, I was impressed with the way that he was able to hold on to the pace of the Ferrari’s in the early part of the race. He has looked just as quick as Lewis Hamilton this year I think. And what with the probable promotion of Sebastian Vettel to a race seat following Kubica’s accident, we are certainly going to have an interesting ‘battle of the rookies’ on our hands in coming races.

Sato too has looked good all weekend. Okay so he got a bit lucky with the way the safety cars worked out but stunning overtaking manoeuvres on Schumacher and Alonso in the dying stages of the race reiterated just why he can be so exciting to watch at times.

In terms of the championship, Alonso could end up having nightmares about this race. His seventh place has seriously compromised him putting him eight points adrift of Hamilton.

But it is undoubtedly Ferrari that leave Montreal the biggest losers. Outrageously off the pace all weekend, a disqualification for Massa – he ignored the red light leaving the pit lane under the safety car – and a fifth place for Raikkonen leave the Scuderia 28 points behind Mclaren. I suggested HERE that Kimi Raikkonen would be out of the title hunt if he left Indianapolis 19 points adrift of the championship leader; the deficit is currently 21 points.

There are going to be a lot of drivers with Hamilton on their hit list at Indy. Roll on the brickyard.

No comments: