After being cleared by a FIA inquiry in mid-week into what appeared to be dangerous driving in the Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton made a pig’s ear of the Chinese GP when only 25 laps from the World Championship title.
Later, he was man enough to admit he’d misjudged the state of his tyres when forced to retire by erratic road-holding.
The race was won by Kimi Raikkonen, with Fernando Alonso second. The result sets up a three-way fight for the championship in the final Grand Prix of the season in Brazil.
Hamilton will kick himself all the way to the bank if he loses the title now.
Here we go again. The gathering feud between Fernando Alonso, who thinks he’s hard done-by because team-mate Lewis Hamilton is not “slowed down” by McLaren, and Hamilton himself, who is just doing his best, erupted in the Belgian Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen, the winner for Ferrari
That’s not even mentioning the feud between Ferrari and McLaren, or the bad blood beween FIA and the British team — fined a massive Â£50m ($100m) last week for allegedly receiving stolen intellectual property from a disgruntled Ferrari mechanic.
On the first bend Alonso clearly drove the British rookie off the track, but struggled to reach third place. Hamilton came in fourth, losing one point to the big bully ahead of him.
Later, Hamilton complained, “The last few years I have been watching F1 and Fernando has always been complaining about other people being unfair. It was blatant. He pushed me wide quite deliberately. For someone who is trying to set a standard, he is not living up to it. “There was enough room for us both to get round, but suddenly I didn’t have any room. It was not a fair or race manoeuvre. I was lucky there was a run-off area.”
Top Ten Race Result
1 K Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1hr 20min 39.066sec
2 F Massa (Brz) Ferrari 1:20:43.761
3 F Alonso (Sp) McLaren 1:20:53.409
4 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 1:21:02.681
5 N Heidfeld (G) BMW Sauber 1:21:30.945
6 N Rosberg (G) Williams 1:21:55.942
7 M Webber (A) Red Bull 1:21:59.701
8 H Kovalainen (Fin) Renault 1:22:04.172
9 R Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:22:04.727
10 R Schumacher (G) Toyota 1:22:07.640
1 Hamilton 97pts
2 Alonso 95
3 Raikkonen 84
4 Massa 77
5 Heidfeld 56
6 Kubica 33
7 Kovalainen 22
8 Fisichella 17
9 Rosberg 15
10 Wurz 13
After all the shenanigans in the pits during qualifying, which saw teammate Fernando Alonso relegated to sixth on the grid, Lewis Hamilton eased his way to victory in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
We understand that Alonso has been told by team chief Ron Dennis that he’s free to leave McLaren at the end of the season.
Hamilton has now opened an eight point lead in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the Spaniard.
In the race itself, which he led from start to finish, Hamilton, just 22, showed a steadiness of nerve from the moment the lights went out all the way to the chequered flag.
Through the 70 lap race, he had Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari in his mirrors waiting for a slip that would allow him to pass. It didn’t come. Less than a second apart for most of the race, it was a real test of concentration and belief for Hamilton, which he passed with flying colours. At the finish, the margin was just 0.7seconds.
Six races left, and Hamilton still looks good for the title in his opening F1 season.
A costly mistake in the pits snatched victory from the grasp of Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
However, he took the blame for the blunder while finishing in third place after jumping the gun in the pit lane on the 16th lap.
He admitted, “I selected first gear and was ready to go. I thought I saw the lollipop move a little bit but I was maybe wrong â€” and I let the clutch out too early. You try to be as quick as you can when the lollipop goes up. I tried to anticipate it and messed it up. It lost me a lot of valuable time and I then just had to push, but I struggled with the balance. I need to step up my game and I intend to do so.”
The Ferrari of winner Kimi Raikkonen was just too fast for Hamilton, who was also beaten to second place by his McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Hamilton later said, “I made the wrong decision with set-up and it really caused me problems during the race. Even in qualifying I didn’t have the pace I should have had, but it was too late by then to change the car, so I’ve learned a good lesson.”
He is still 12 points ahead in the championship table with eight races to go.
Hamilton added: “We’ve come away with a ninth podium position. I’m the most consistent driver here. I think you have to be happy with that. As a team we need to push as always, but we will try to push harder. As a driver, I am still learning. I still have time to improve through experience. I’ve raced here before but I’ve struggled in terms of pace. We must make sure we get the car set-up right, make sure we keep on moving forward and ideally beat the Ferraris.”
The next race is in Germany on Sunday week.