Did Lewis Hamilton really extend his championship lead last weekend ?

2008 European GP Podium

2008 European GP Podium

Hamilton’s second place finish in Valencia combined with Raikkonen’s retirement means that Hamilton’s championship lead is now 2 points bigger than it was prior to the European GP. But whether he really extended his lead or not depends on whom he considers to be his main title competitor.

Realistically there are only 3 title contenders left – Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. Although McLaren will deny it anytime anyone asks, Hamilton is clear number 1 and can expect full support from the team and also from his team mate.

In Ferrari the situation is different. Both their drivers are still in the fight as was the case last year at McLaren all the way to the wire. We all remember who has won it at the end… Raikkonen may be going through a slump period but only a fool would write him off. His gap to Hamilton is still smaller than it was last year with 2 races to go. His problem this year however is, that his team mate, Felipe Massa is clearly outperforming him at the moment.

To win the title Raikkonen would have to not only beat Hamilton, but also his team mate. To do that he would first have to start outqualifying Massa and that is not an easy task. So far this season Massa leads Raikkonen 8:4 in qualifying and 4:2 in pole positions. Massa qualified on front row in last 3 races, Kimi’s last front row start came way back in France (pole position).

It is hard to tell if Raikkonen’s recent race performaces would be any different if he started from pole and lead the race. But in last few races he did not seem to be too keen on racing. From the sofa in front of TV or from the grandstands in Valencia it looked like he is just there to get over with the race. That was in sharp contrast with Massa’s very committed performances. Raikkonen only finished on podium twice in last 6 races and it has to be remembered that his last podium, 3rd place in Hungary, was only thanks to Hamilton’s puncture and Massa engine blow up.

So, without trying to write off Kimi, it does look like Felipe Massa is the man of the moment and the guy whom Hamilton should see as the main threat to his title hopes. Also, as it stands now, Massa is the only driver that only needs to rely on himself to catch Lewis Hamilton.

So, did Hamilton really extend his championship lead ? Well, I do not think so. It looks to me that his actual lead was cut by 2 points by Massa and the chase has just begun.


7 Comments Post a Comment
  1. CraigNo Gravatar says:

    Very good point and while I wouldn’t write Kimi off completely it is looking increasingly unlikely that he will finish the season as strongly as last.

    But here’s hoping he does just to keep it interesting!

    Craigs last blog post..What a woman!

  2. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    Taking a look at the picture above, it looks like they all are Lewis Hamilton except Smedley. Just I recognize who are Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica with the help of their coveralls.

    Did McLaren plan a new strategy of clones, (I do not mean “clowns”) to win the championship gathering all the points from the rest of the teams?

    Could be really likely if to believe to this picture, but hopefully they do not plan any tricks else.

    Kotenoks last blog post..Jose

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      well, it was one beautiful sunny day on Sunday :-)

      • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

        Funniest was that I believed that it was photoshop work when saw the picture for first time. Then noticed that the caps projected shadow on their faces, but such deep one which doesn’t let us see “who is who”. Anyway, I already was laughting about a series of clones from Lewis :-D

        Kotenoks last blog post..Jose

  3. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    I do believe Kimi is out of the battle now, not far away from the lead… But there’s nothing which is happening that gives me thoughts that he can repeat the great season end of last year. We all were amazed when Kimi finally did it for just 1 point. I’ll believe he can when he show us some real good performance.
    We believed that Kimi was a great driver without TC, but at the end, during this season we saw that he’s struggling with the Ferrari F2008 the same as Massa, or even worse.
    Kimi’s highest value isn’t on practice or even qualification, he isn’t that kind of driver which seeks his name on the top of the lists (as Schumacher loved to do), but the strongest point which he has is the speed which he can drive, and anything looks now to me that he turned slow (well he’s still F1 driver, and he’s very fast! But now slower than before).
    He never has been lucky with the car failures and different accidents frustrated his chances to win the titles which he could already own. Many said: “Kimi is too hard with the car”. Others: “He doesn’t show interest to set-up and build the best car, he just want to race”. I think both are true and at the same time false, every driver does plan the job with a different point of view. Kimi likes to center his attention just in the races, and do not take part in many practice sessions and training days, he’s not fan of marketing events and less to show a single smile. But that’s not really that bad, the guy is fully concentrated on F1 when he’s at the track, he seems to understand the lacks of his car and adapts his driving style really fast to the car’s conditions, without need to setting the car to his driving style to suit more the car conditions (only that helped him in France when he lost an exhaust part). After all Kimi Raikkonen, is Kimi Raikkonen :-)

    Now, why we should believe in Kimi now? If you’re fan of him, support him is one of your rights, but I do not think he’ll please you much: -P Although, he do believe in himself, he says: “I want to be again world champion”. My answer is: “boy, begin to work on it or you’ll be late”.

    By the way, Wolf is right :-) Massa gathered 2 more important points than Hamilton did, great performance and hopefully he keeps with it for the championship fight (also hopefully that his F2008 withstand the preassure).

    Kotenoks last blog post..Jose

  4. Black ZeddNo Gravatar says:

    Massa is getting stronger lately..it would be nice to see him finally grab the championship. Kimi’s exit will be much more than mere speculation if he don’t buckle up quickly.

    Hamilton vs. Massa?

    I bet the last few races will be decided more by their cars rather than solely the drivers..

    Black Zedds last blog post..Do You Have What It Takes To Be A C.E.O.?


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