Tag Archives: Fernando Alonso

I think I’m a Hamilton fan, not a McLaren fan!

That’s probably not the post subject you’d expect to see on a blog called McLaren Fan Blog, but I think watching the race in Monza earlier has made me come to that realisation. The epiphany came when Lewis went out on the first lap and my heart sunk seeing Jenson Button in 1st, knowing full well that if it stayed like that then he’d only be a handful of points behind Lewis. There was then a chance that Jenson could end the season with more points than Lewis and possibly as champion, though not that likely. I didn’t like that – I wanted Lewis to be the highest placed McLaren driver, and when Alonso took the lead I was actually relieved that Jenson wouldn’t be as close to Lewis in the Driver’s Championship than I’d previously thought.

As I McLaren fan I should want either driver to win, I don’t.

To the people reading this post, I can imagine this will be a very unpopular opinion but all I can be is honest. It was Lewis Hamilton that first got me really interested in Formula 1 back at Fuji 2007, and it has now become clear that it’s him that I’m still firmly behind, and not the team he’s driving for. I want Lewis to be the number one driver in the team and I want Lewis to be a 2 time champion and not Jenson Button.

I guess this never became an issue before because in 2007 Hamilton was beating team mate Alonso and in 2008 and 2009 he was a long way ahead of Kovalainen. Earlier this season I had similar feelings but it was so early on that it didn’t seem like it could be a reality, not through the eyes of a staunch Lewis supporter. Now however, with just 5 races left, Jenson is a lot closer to Lewis and all it takes is a bit of bad luck and Lewis could be only the 2nd best McLaren driver – that’s something I’m not happy to accept..

I guess the ultimate question is if Lewis Hamilton drove for another team next year would I still support McLaren, and the answer is no. In fact if Lewis left Formula 1 I think my support would probably shift to Robert Kubica – he’s a great talent and my grandparents on my Mother’s side were Polish. Maybe it’s time I started thinking about renaming this Blog Hamilton fan Blog instead?

14 Comments

Filed under Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen, Italian, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Robert Kubica

The Hamilton Highlight Reel Continues in Malaysia

We all expected rain, there was none. Most expected the Red Bulls to break down, they didn’t. Just what can you rely on in Formula 1 these days? The answer to that question is Lewis Hamilton. Yesterday’s race in Sepang was just another example of superb driving and passionate racing from the 2008 World Champion. In the first lap alone Hamilton made up 8 places from the 20th place he started, to 12th.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=lewis+hamilton+malaysia&iid=8429961″ src=”d/f/c/1/F1_Grand_Prix_db78.jpg?adImageId=12128002&imageId=8429961″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]
 
Aside from the tussle between Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, the cameras were rightly on Hamilton for the majority of the race, despite the runaway success of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Weber at the front. For those bemoaning this season for it’s lack of overtaking, Hamilton was there to give a master class, as he passed one driver after another. It was with ease that he did this until he came upon the Renault of Vitaly Petrov, who proved to be a more troublesome rival than Hamilton’s previous victims.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=lewis+hamilton+malaysia&iid=8431362″ src=”f/9/0/c/F1_Grand_Prix_6536.jpg?adImageId=12128208&imageId=8431362″ width=”500″ height=”336″ /]
 
When Hamilton finally got past Petrov he was accused of excessive weaving, something which the stewards saw fit to warn him about but not take the matter any further. Of course this has angered some people, forgetting how Hamilton has been on the very harsh end of some decisions in recent years, not forgetting McLaren’s £100,000,000 fine for the whole Ferrari ‘spy-gate’ situation while Renault get told not to do it again after fixing a race by having one of their drivers crash his car on purpose! I think it’s about time someone in a McLaren car got let off lightly.

It was a magnificent drive by Lewis Hamilton, who ended up finishing 6th, and would have progressed even further had his good friend Adrian Sutil proven to be the one car he couldn’t get past. With an equally good Mercedes engine in his Force India car, Sutil defended excellently against the rampaging Hamilton.
[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=jenson+button+malaysia&iid=8432700″ src=”4/1/8/7/F1_2010_8226.jpg?adImageId=12128468&imageId=8432700″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]
 
While not being able to match Lewis Hamilton’s success, Jenson Button did well to improve from his 17th place qualifying position on the grid to 8th place in the race. He went up the outside at the start of the race and Lewis went up the inside, and whether it be luck, judgement or both, it was the inside line that gave Lewis the advantage. For the second race in a row Jenson Button made a decision to come in for a tyre change early and this looked like it may be fortuitous and see him ahead of the Ferraris and Lewis Hamilton after their pit stops. It did get him past Alonso and Massa but not Hamilton, though only by a whisker as the two were side by side when Hamilton rejoined the race track. Button ended up being overtaken by Massa and looked like he would fall victim to Alonso too but the Spaniards car disagreed and came to a smoke engulfed halt at track side.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=jenson+button+malaysia&iid=8432688″ src=”2/1/c/f/F1_2010_6fe5.jpg?adImageId=12128276&imageId=8432688″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]
 
After what appeared to be a disastrous Saturday’s qualifying, McLaren came back fighting and made sure they stayed well in the title race. I personally found the race very entertaining and particularly exciting it times. being a McLaren fan has had its advantages this season as the lion’s share of the action and intrigue has surrounded Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. With The Red Bull failures in Bahrain and Australia, Mercedes (Michael Schumacher) and Ferrari’s break down in Malaysia, McLaren can hold there heads up high as the kost reliable of the 4 front running teams, something which will serve them very well over the course of a season.

Before I go, just let me remind you of the predictions I made for the Malaysian Grand Prix:

1st – Vettel – Correct
2nd – Weber – Correct
3rd Rosberg – Correct
6th Hamilton – Correct
9th Button – Incorrect, but only one place out!

1 Comment

Filed under Adrian Sutil, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Force India, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Malaysian, McLaren, Red Bull, Vitaly Petrov

Qualifying: Malaysia 2010 – McLaren Gamble and Lose

There isn’t a great deal to write in this blog, it was wet in Malaysia and instead of getting a lap in early to ensure going through to Q2, McLaren left things rather late and the result of that was Lewis Hamilton qualifying on 20th place for tomorrow’s race. Jenson Button had mixed luck in that his fastest time was good enough for 17th place, just one place above the drop zone. However, he then slipped off the track and couldn’t move his car, this meant he could take no further part in qualifying.

Jenson Button in Malaysia, when it was actually dry!

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

So, after the awesome performance of the McLarens in the three sessions (Lewis 1st, 1st, 2nd and Jenson
3rd, 4th, 7th), they start tomorrow’s race in 17th and 20th. The only saving grace is that the Ferraris played the same waiting game, and also lost out. Fernando Alonso starts in 19th place and Felipe Massa starts in 21st place, with Lewis Hamilton in the middle.

Lewis Hamilton on the wet track in Sepang

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

If Lewis doesn’t have a good race tomorrow, and make up a lot of places, then starting in 2nd place, it’s likely that Nico Rosberg will overtake him in the Drivers’ Championship, and he could very well overtake Jenson too. With Mark Weber in pole position and Sebastian Vettel in 3rd it’ll be interesting to see if they score well tomorrow rather than succumb to mechanical failure and mistakes as has dogged them in the previous 2 races of the 2010 season.

You’ll remember that last year the rain was so bad that the race never got to a natural finish and drivers were awarded half points due to the short length of the race. This is all because Bernie Ecclestone wants a later start time so as to be more amenable for European viewers – thanks, but given the immense rains that we know will fall, and have done already, would it not be wiser to start the race earlier?

Jenson Button, close up!

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

That said, with the likes of Hamilton, Button, Alonso and Massa looking to battle the way through to the front, we could be in for a tremendous race…as long as we don’t just see a procession behind the safety car followed by an early finish, again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Malaysian, Mark Weber, McLaren, Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel

Button Wins, Hamilton 6th and F1 is back, baby!

After the relative dullness of the Bahrain Grand Prix 2 weeks ago, today’s GP in Australia was the kind of race that reminds us all why we love Formula 1. From the start to the very finish there was drama, excitement and wait for it, overtaking! I kid you not, cars were passing other cars under normal racing conditions, and a fair amount of that was done by Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

Lewis Hamilton drove arguably his greatest race to date, up there with Japan 2007 for me personally, and that was the race that made me into a Formula 1 fan, so high praise indeed. After the disappointment of yesterday’s qualifying I was thrilled to see Lewis in such a racing mood, it’s what has always delighted me as a fan of his. If there was a chance to overtake than he took it, and a special mention has to go out to both Robert Kubica and Fernando Alsonso who brilliantly defended against a much faster Hamilton. In the case of Kubica it was Hamilton’s inability to get past that had the team bring him in for a tyre change, a move that ultimately led to Hamilton losing places, a probable podium place at that.

Later in the race, when chasing down Fernando Alsonso, it was Mark Weber who dealt Hamilton a a second blow when he shunted him into the gravel. At that point I was livid, and had it not been for the presence of my little boy then a fair few expletives would have been thrown the Australian’s way! Luckily it only cost Hamilton one place and he ended up finishing 6th, a result which is far better than the 11th place he qualified but worse than he should have got, had other circumstances and decisions gone his way. Hamilton’s lambasting of the team over the radio during the race wasn’t his finest moment but forgiveable, given the emotions that must have been coursing through him as he saw race positions taken from within his grasp.

Jenson Button cruises to victory in Australia

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

The man in the photo above is none other than Jenson Button, 2 races into his career as a McLaren driver and already a winner. If I’m completely honest I’d have preferred Lewis Hamilton to win, but I won’t begrudge Jenson his victory and for the McLaren team it’s a fantastic result. Kudos to Jenson for making the decision to come in for an early tyre change to slicks, it won him the race, with a little help from Sebastian Vettel’s second problematic Grand Prix in a row. It’s astonishing that Jenson went so long and at such a high performance level on the second set of tyres, but if anyone could it was going to be him.

Jenson Button celebrates victory on Australia

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

At the start of the season I will hold my hands up and admit (you can read old blog posts so I can’t pretend otherwise!) that I thought Lewis was going to outperform Jenson easily over the course of 19 races. Though he did just that in Bahrain, and though there were mitigating circumstances leading to Lewis’s almost disappointing 6th place, Jenson Button has marked out his intention to succeed with today’s race and currently leads Lewis by 8 points in the Drivers’ Championship. The combined effort of both drivers puts them on 54 points, 16 points behind Ferrari.

Team McLaren celebrate Jenon Button's victory

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

Lewis Hamilton is ominously missing from this team celebration, but then so is Martin Whitmarsh – maybe they were discussing the second tyre change at the time of taking this photo! All in all it was a great day for McLaren and for Formula 1 fans everywhere – what a fantastic race. I have no doubt that Jenson’s victory will have lit a fire under everyone in the team, especially Lewis Hamilton, who doesn’t like playing second fiddle to anyone, especially not his team mate.

4 Comments

Filed under Australian, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Weber, McLaren, Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel

Race Prediction: Australian Grand Prix 2010

1st = Sebastian Vettel
2nd = Fernando Alonso
3rd = Jenson Button

5th = Lewis Hamilton

I have a feeling that luck won’t be on Weber’s side in his home Grand Prix. I’m banking on Lewis to have cleared his mind of off track shenanigans of yesterday and to be totally focused on gaining places and getting as many points as possible – in the zone there a few who can do what he can.

2 Comments

Filed under Australian, Race Predictions

Qualifying: Australia 2010 – Jenson P4, Lewis P11 & Lewis Hamilton has a police incident

Yesterday, Friday 26th March 2010, Lewis Hamilton was pulled over by the police in Melbourne, Australia and quoted as saying afterwards:

I was driving in an over-exuberant manner and, as a result, was stopped by the police. What I did was silly, and I want to apologise for it.

This would apparently not affect his qualifying today but one has to wonder if that is true after Hamilton failed to get through to the P3 after being only 11th fastest in P2. In fact the official word from the McLaren camp after qualifying was that yesterday’s run in with the police had affected Lewis going into qualifying. Jenson Button made it through to P3 and lines up 4th on the grid for tomorrow’s race, with Sebastian Vettel on pole, Mark Weber in 2nd and Fernando Alonso in 3rd.

Lewis Hamilton in Australia

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

Earlier in the week I entered the @McLaren_eShop prediction contest with an entry of Lewis Hamilton to come 2nd, and Jenson Button 5th. I’m thinking a few miracles may have to happen tomorrow for that to come true. However, with that notorious first turn at Albert Park a few of the cars in front of 2008 Champion Hamilton could fall by the wayside.

It’ll be interesting to see how Jenson Button fairs against the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso in front of him and Felipe Massa behind him. They were clearly faster in Bahrain but Massa did struggle a bit in qualifying with P5 being quite flattering of his overall performance this morning,

Jenson Button at Albert Park

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

After the Bahrain GP I’d have put money (I didn’t) on Lewis qualifying ahead of Jenson, who seemed very uncomfortable in his McLaren MP4-25. However, it’s the 2009 Champion who is flying the flag for McLaren after this morning’s qualifying session and as a driver he seems much more at ease with his car.

After winning in Australia in 2008, Lewis Hamilton is having a run of bad luck – let’s hope he puts that to rest in the actual race tomorrow.

7 Comments

Filed under Australian, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Qualifying

Bahrain Grand Prix 2010 – Fantastic 3rd for Lewis Hamilton

Let me just remind you of the predictions I made before the race:

1st – Fernando Alonso
2nd – Sebastian Vettel
3rd – Lewis Hamilton

7th – Jenson Button

3 out of 4 is pretty damn good! It was a bit of luck that got Lewis Hamilton his 1st podium finish of the season as he managed to jump Nico Rosberg thanks to Rosberg being held back because of Jenson Button entering the pits. And who said Hamilton and Button could’t work as a team?

Things didn’t start so well for Lewis as he was over-taken by Nico Rosberg at the start. Before the race there were worries that Lewis may be heavy on the tyres, and that would be to the detriment of his race performance. Not only did he cope very well but he mentioned over the radio that Rosberg was holding him up and once in clear space was putting in fast laps up their with the best of them.

Jenson himself lost a place at the start, and mirroring Lewis, he too gained that place back during the tyre change stop. After the race he said that he’d been conserving his tyres in the first stint and thought maybe he’d come in too early. After the one and only pit stop Jenson stayed behind Schumacher for the whole race, who he said held him up but there was no chance to overtake. After qualifying 8th, Jenson finished in 7th in his first race with McLaren.

As the race progressed it became clear that race leader Sebastian Vettel had a problem with his car. This turned out to be an exhaust failure which allowed eventual winner Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and then Lewis Hamilton to pass him. So from a superb 4th place qualifying, Lewis ended up on the podium in 3rd – an excellent start to the season.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=bahrain+grand+prix&iid=8233358″ src=”e/4/0/c/F1_Grand_Prix_8378.jpg?adImageId=11240803&imageId=8233358″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]

While being interviewed on the BBC F1 Forum Jenson was asked about the 40+ second gap between him and the Ferraris, to which he responded by pointing out that Hamilton was a lot closer at 20+ seconds behind. It was nice to see that Jenson both sees that there is more to get out of the car from him and that Hamilton performed better. So far the McLaren team seem to all be working very well as a team – could Lewis have finally found the perfect team mate?

Lewis gets 15 points for 3rd place while Jenson gets 6 points for 7th place. With a total of 21 points McLaren currently sit 2nd on the Constructor’s Championship, 22 points behind Ferrari and 3 points ahead of Mercedes.

What has become evident after this weekend is that qualification is more important than ever, something Lewis and especially Jenson will have to work on. It wasn’t the most interesting of races and it remains to be seen if this was the result of the no refuelling rule change or the lack of overtaking chances at the Bahrain circuit. As a McLaren fan I’m very pleased with how things have gone this weekend, as it seemed they could have gone a lot worse at one point.

Also worthy of a mention is Heikki Kovalainen, who finished 15th in his Lotus, the highest position of all the new cars.

Race Results (courtesy of Sidepodcast.com):

1 Fernando Alonso 1hr 39:20.4
2 Felipe Massa +16.0
3 Lewis Hamilton +23.1
4 Sebastian Vettel +38.7
5 Nico Rosberg +40.02
6 Michael Schumacher +44.1
7 Jenson Button +45.2
8 Mark Webber +46.3
9 Tonio Liuzzi +53.0
10 Rubens Barrichello +6
11 Robert Kubica +69.0
12 Adrian Sutil +82.9
13 Jaime Alguersuari +92.6
14 Nico Hulkenberg +1 Lap
15 Heikki Kovalainen +2 Laps
16 Sebastien Buemi +3 Laps
17 Jarno Trulli +3 Laps
DNF Pedro de la Rosa Lap 30
DNF Bruno Senna Lap 18
DNF Timo Glock Lap 17
DNF Vitaly Petrov Lap 14
DNF Kamui Kobayashi Lap 12
DNF Lucas di Grassi Lap 3
DNF Karun Chandhok Lap 2

3 Comments

Filed under Bahrain, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Weber, McLaren, Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel