Sir Jackie Stewart for The Herald
“It’s not unusual for a new driver like Lewis to struggle a bit in the second season. He is no longer an unknown quantity. He is in the position where people are expecting him to win every race he starts.
It’s a curious thing: Lewis will think he can nail this year’s championship, because he came so close last time around, but that can make you push too hard, and, before you know it, little things can start going wrong which make the difference.
A lot of factors have changed this season and Kovalainen’s arrival at McLaren could mean that the shoe is on the other foot. Suddenly, here is another bright-eyed, bushy-tailed contender and, if Heikki makes a good start in the first few races, the publicity and press attention might revolve round him.”
He is not exactly writing Hamilton off, but it looks like Stewart has his doubts about Hamilton’s mental strength. The way Hamilton let the 2007 title slip away after mistakes in Shanghai and Brazil may suggest Stewart may have a case.
Now Alain Prost for Autosprint:
“This year electronic aids will disappear so life will get harder for the drivers. But I’m convinced of one thing: contrary to what could be thought, Hamilton will draw an advantage from this change, and you know why? Because he’s phenomenal. Last year he did something exceptional, but not so much for his performances, which were fantastic anyway. He was twice exceptional at a psychological level: first in the way he put up with the pressure of his debut, and then for the way he put up with the ever-increasing pressure for a season that went on until the last GP and with all the mess that had happened.
Can you imagine? A rookie that resisted until the last race before giving up. And after all, let me tell you one thing: before starting winning championships, I lost some too, if you can remember that. But then, when I started…
Hamilton must not be complacent, as Kovalainen will certainly be a very tough cookie. With regards to the championship, the Finn looks definitely dangerous.”
Quite a different opinion …
One thing however both these guys have in common. They both regard Heikki Kovalainen as a serious contender. Not bad for a guy who was allegedly only McLaren’s 3rd choice after Rosberg and Vettel …