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Alain Prost on Lewis Hamilton

Alain Prost So what does that old master F1 driver Alain Prost think of the current situation in the 2007 Drivers’ Championship?

Here are a few extracts from a recent interview he gave with the UK Mail on Sunday.

“Lewis is a breath of fresh air. He has changed everything in the sport. I love a human story in motor racing and we have one this year, for sure. The fight between two drivers in the same team, one a youngster new to Formula One, and the other slightly older, more experienced and twice the world champion, makes it exceptional.”

Prost likens the Hamilton/Alonso duel with his own against Ayton Senna, also with McLaren. “I can understand just how Fernando must feel. When Ayrton came to McLaren, he was the new guy who everyone wanted. It’s the same now with Hamilton. Fernando really wanted to go to McLaren, he had all these ideas of going there as world champion. But once he got there I think he found it was not like his dreams. In fact, he got there and found out he is not even the No. 1 when the other driver is a rookie.”

“Fernando will be able to deal with any ordinary technical problems but, on top of this, he has discovered that Lewis is quick. He did not expect him to be so fast. From the first race I could see that Alonso was not driving the car in the same way as Hamilton. Lewis is really driving the car perfectly. Alonso, though, is driving too aggressively. He is fighting to find the speed. Lewis is just there with it.

He goes on, “What I like most about Lewis is his attitude. His approach is the best one to have. He seems to possess the whole package. He is the best newcomer the sport has ever seen. Just think, when he’s 25 years old, he’s going to be unimaginably good.”

Rich praise indeed.

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Lewis Hamilton behind Felipe Massa

Lewis Hamilton kept up his inaugural title challenge by posting second place on the grid for tomorrow’s French Grand Prix behind Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.

Felipe Massa in French qualifying

Main rival Fernando Alonso could do no better than 10th after mechanical problems and may start at 20th if he needs to change his engine.

Massa headed championship leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren to pole with a lap of one minute 15.034 seconds. The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen will start third.

Hamilton missed out to Massa by 0.07secs in Q3, although at least separated the Ferraris.

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Lewis Hamilton Takes Canadian GP Crown

In retrospect it seems inevitable. Lewis Hamilton has been threatening to win a Grand Prix all season. It was only a matter of time before he got to pole position and won comfortably.

Hamilton Wins in Montreal

It wasn’t as comfortable in Canada as he would have liked though, as the race was marred by incidents.

The 22-year-old newbie McLaren driver led from start to finish in a race that saw four safety car episodess and only 12 cars finishing. Hamilton now takes an 8-point championship lead over his team-mate Fernando Alonso, who came in 7th after a bad start and penalties.

Hamilton’s margin of victory was 4.343 seconds. Nick Heidfeld finished second for BMW Sauber and Alex Wurz third for Williams.

The worst incident was a horrendous crash that saw Polish driver Robert Kubica break a leg as he was pushed off the track by Jarno Trulli, shooting into the air and rolling over twice.

A third safety car period to clean up debris from Christijan Albers’ Spyker from the third chicane changed the order further with 20 laps to go, giving the race a very unfamiliar look.

David Coulthard’s Red Bull and Jenson Button’s Honda both failed to finish because of gearbox problems.

But a good day for McLaren, and a great one for Hamilton.

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Lewis Hamilton gets top billing in Canadian GP

The Canadian national newspaper, The Globe and Mail devotes five pages to wunderkind Lewis Hamilton, who has clocked five podium finishes in his first five Grand Prix. There’s no doubt who is the talking point of tomorrow’s Canadian GP.

But Hamilton has a problem. It goes back to Monaco when he seemed to be pulled back by team orders from Ron Dennis, the man who has nurtured his talent for 10 years. After the race, he spoke out perhaps more sharply than he meant to. His message? The Rubens Barrichello role is not for him. Barrichello is best remembered as Michael Schumacher’s deputy dawg at Ferrari. Despite being an excellent driver, in his native Brazil he’s regarded as a figure of fun.

Hamilton is not going down that road, “I think every weekend when I am matching Fernando’s times, if not doing better, I am demonstrating that I’ve got the ability to be a champion; to deserve at least to be equal with him. I’d hate the situation Rubens was in. If that was ever the case, I would not be here much longer.”

Some commentators are now suggesting that Ferrari’s weighty cheque book could tempt him to cross the pits to their camp. But this seems unlikely unless Dennis loses all sense of proportion and clamps down on his young protege, a move that would lose him a great deal of respect in his British heartland.

So how will Hamilton press his claims within the team? “That’s a good question,” he says. “I’ve got to remember the fact that I’m privileged to be part of such a wonderful team. I’d do anything for this team. I’ve bonded with the guys so well at testing and over the years I’ve been here. I believe I’ve got a special relationship, just because they’ve seen me grow up. They want me to win just as much I want to win for them. I don’t feel there is a need to get a special message across. They can see I’m doing a good job. I think when I do win they’ll be excited. Ron wants us both to win but two people can’t win. Monaco was just one race when it didn’t go in my favour, but in the future there will come a time when it will.”

In Friday’s practice sessions Alonso held the lead, but Hamilton pledged caution on his first attempts on this track. He’ll be faster in the race itself.

But so will the Ferrari duo on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit.

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