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Lewis Hamilton World Champion at last

The headlines say it all: “Can Hamilton become new Muhammad Ali?”, “Can Hamilton be as good as Schumacher?” Both in the upmarket Times.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton wins Formula One World Championship

Then it’s back down to earth with a bump: “Cheers and boos for Lewis Hamilton, Britain’s new Formula One champion.” The Times again.

What about a totally positive headline? “A relaxed, funny and balanced champion. Ed Gorman wonders how anyone could dislike Lewis.” Er… also The Times.

Any naysayers here? “He is on top of the world but ‘aloof’ Hamilton is still struggling to win over large sections of the sporting public.” You’ve guessed it: The Times, and all on the same day.

Lewis Hamilton, the youngest Formula One world champion ever, certainly seems to have an image problem. His fellow drivers all but accuse him of being a danger to their lives. Spanish F1 fans spit racist remarks on websites and trackside.

And, yet, Hamilton is set to earn more money than any other sportsman in history — and that includes Tiger Woods.

The race itself was a classic. Hamilton went in seven points ahead, and had to finish at least in fifth place if Felipe Massa won.

Massa was in pole position, while Hamilton was fourth on the grid, his horizons closing in on him.

The Brazilian duly went on to win on his home track. However, disaster struck for Lewis Hamilton when he was relegated to sixth position near the end and all seemed lost.

The Brit stuck to his guns, though, and didn’t give up. On the very last bend he attempted a stabbing overtaking move and finished fifth.

The Ferrari team were already celebrating their man’s victory when the news of Hamilton’s heroics hit them.

The rest is history.

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Lewis Hamilton wins in China

Lewis Hamilton in China Lewis Hamilton won the penultimate Grand Prix of the season with a comfortable run from pole.

With his only possible rival, Felip Massa, second, he inched his lead to seven points with only the finale at Massa’s home track in Brazil to come.

This was a much more sensible performance by Hamilton, obviously playing it by percentage advantage now, instead of the wild and woolly driving we’ve become used to in previous outings.

In Brazil, he needs to maintain this attitude. A rush of blood to the head and a collision with another opponent leaving Massa to glide to a win or podium finish, would be more than Hamilton fans could bear.

We shall see.

Earlier
Lewis Hamilton secured pole position in today’s qualifying for tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix, the penultimate of the season.

His only rival for the title, Felipe Massa, was third. Hamilton needs to beat him by six points to win the championship in Shanghai. A trip to Massa’s home territory, Brazil, for the final showdown would possibly be a spinetingler too far for the edgy Englishman.

After a disappointing first lap Hamilton’s second was immaculate as he lapped in 1m 36.203s. He led outgoing world champion, Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen for pole position by 0.342s.

“I came here in a good frame of mind,” Hamilton said. “And we’ve been competitive all weekend. I lost a lot of time on my first qualifying run, following a big oversteer moment at turn eight, but my second felt almost perfect.”

If Hamilton succeeds, it will be 50 years to the day since Mike Hawthorn became Britain’s first world champion by taking second place in the 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix in Casablanca.

How they will start on the grid:

1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) McLaren 1min 36.303secs
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:36.645
3 Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari 1:36.889
4 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1:36.927
5 Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren 1:36.930
6 Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:37.083
7 Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:37.201
8 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:37.685
9 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:37.934
10 Sebastien Bourdais (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:38.885
11 Nelson Piquet Jr. (Bra) Renault 1:35.722
12 Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:35.814
13 Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota 1:35.937
14 Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Honda 1:36.079
15 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams 1:36.210
16 David Coulthard (Gbr) Red Bull 1:36.731
17 Kazuki Nakajima (Jpn) Williams 1:36.863
18 Jenson Button (Gbr) Honda 1:37.053
19 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:37.730
20 Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Force India 1:37.739

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Massa in pole position in Singapore

Felipe Massa is in pole position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix in Singapore. He registered a scintillating lap to pip arch-rival Lewis Hamilton for front-row on the grid.

Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa in pole for Singapore Grand Prix

The race will be the first to be held at night under floodlights, allowing it to be shown live during the afternoon in Britain and Europe. Hamilton starts second on the grid after dominating practice on Friday.

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Lewis Hamilton beaten in Belgium by stewards

Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton’s run of bad luck continues. After producing a sizzling performance to take the the Belgian Grand Prix, he was later denied it because of a technical infringement on one of the chicanes.

The officials — who seem to have it in for him — reduced his placing from 1st to 3rd, leaving main rival Felipe Massa only two points adrift in the title race.

The moment of truth came as Hamilton attempted to overtake Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari at the Bus Stop chicane three laps from the finish. The leaders entered the chicane side by side as their tyres touched. As a result Hamilton cut across the inside of the chicane and emerged in the lead. Following the rules, he braked to allow Raikkonen to pass him, before going at him again and overtaking on the inside.

Raikkonen then took Hamilton again but crashed on the penultimate lap due to running on dry tyres on a wet track.

Two hours later, after Hamilton had celebrated his victory with champagne on the podium after one of Formula One’s classic races — his fifth win of the season — he was told that instead of an eight-point lead over Felipe Massa in the drivers’ championship, his advantage had been cut to two points.

The McLaren team intend to appeal against the 25-second drive-through penalty imposed on their driver. A strong suspicion remains that they always comes off second-best in a dispute with Ferrarl.

Positions in the Drivers’ Championship
1 Lewis Hamilton GB 76
2 Felipe Massa Bra 74
3 Robert Kubica Pol 58
4 Kimi Räikkönen Fin 57
5 Nick Heidfeld Ger 49
6 Heikki Kovalainen Fin 43
7 Jarno Trulli Ita 26
8 Fernando Alonso Spa 23

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