Rear View Mirror: Montreal
June 11, 2007 | 8:18 P.M. EST
Starting from pole position on Sunday, the Briton guided his MP4-22 with relative ease around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – even though the event was marked by utter chaos behind him. No matter what was thrown at him, whether it was an early challenge by teammate and two-time defending World Champion Fernando Alonso, a horrific looking accident to good friend Robert Kubica, or a bunched-up field behind him after a record breaking four safety car periods, Hamilton displayed the poise of a champion, not a first year rookie (or for that matter, a 22-year-old).
"I’m on another planet after this – I simply can’t find the words to describe what it feels like to win my first Formula 1 race. The team has done a fantastic job and I’m so happy to be part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes family," said Hamilton. "It was only a few laps from the end I realized that victory was within my grasp and I started noticing things like the fans cheering and when I crossed the finishing line it was amazing. I now have to stay focused and keep up the good work.
"It’s been an incredible start to my Formula One career so far but I know there is a tough season ahead of us."
Those 23 words above demonstrate just why this driver is so special. While the worldwide media is going loopy writing about the "First black driver to win in Formula One" (Associated Press) or about "King Lewis the First F1" (England’s Daily Mirror), Hamilton is simply focused on his goal of becoming a champion. Ever since he joined McLaren at the age of 12, this driver has set his sights on the goal of being the World Champion, and nothing – not fame nor riches – will stop him from reaching that goal.
With six podium finishes in his first six races – can he continue his torrid pace? Very doubtful. Will he win the championship this season? More than likely no. But is Lewis Hamilton the real deal? Yes.
Before the season started, there were questions as to who will fill the shoes of the retiring Michael Schumacher. If Hamilton continues to deliver performances like he did on Sunday, few will remember who Schumacher was.
What Do You Think?
What did you think about Lewis Hamilton’s record making performance? What about the rest of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve? Send your opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure to check back with RacingOne to see what other’s think in this week’s edition of the "Fan’s Eye View" this Wednesday.
To the relief of the entire Formula One community, BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica was released from Sacre-Coeur Hospital today after enduring one of the most brutal accidents in recent history.
On lap 27 of the Canadian Grand Prix, Kubica was attempting to pass the Panasonic Toyota machine of Jarno Trulli when he made a sudden turn and lost control. The Polish-born driver went airborne and hit the concrete barrier before barrel rolling down the straightaway until coming to rest in the gravel pit at the beginning of the hairpin turn at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Although it was a horrific looking incident, the 22-year-old incurred only a slight concussion and a sprained ankle, despite earlier reports that he had a broken leg.
"Most important is the news Robert isn't badly injured," said Technical Director Willy Rampf. "This is thanks to the high safety standards the FIA have instigated over the past years."
Perhaps even more incredible than the fact that Kubica is relatively unscathed is the fact that he very well could be behind the wheel of his BMW Sauber F1.07 this weekend. A decision will be made on Thursday as to whether Kubica will compete or he will stay on the sidelines while one of the team’s two test drivers – Sebastian Vettel or Timo Glock – jumps in for the weekend.
"I have no pain and feel well,” said Kubica. “I want to thank everyone for the medical attention I received and for all the good wishes. Mario Theissen and other team members came to visit me and also thanks to Jarno Trulli who came as well. I am happy that I have been able to leave the hospital so quickly and will now prepare for the race in Indianapolis."
While all of the talk this week will focus on Lewis Hamilton, a very important occurrence happened during the Canadian Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso looked human.
Although few expected the Spaniard to continue the form he has displayed during his final two seasons at Renault, where he won the World Championship and held off constant challenges from Michael Schumacher, not many thought he would get passed by Takuma Sato, driver for minnows Super Aguri F1 Team, in the waning laps of a race.
Starting from second on the grid, Alonso went off course for the first of four times in the first corner at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as he attempted to chase down and pass Lewis Hamilton. After dropping to third because of his attempt to pass, Alonso looked shaken up, making several mistakes on the track.
Then, to make matters worse, he was served with a 10-second penalty for entering pit road before it was opened by race marshals.
"I came into the pits for the first time on lap 24 as I had no more fuel so basically there was nothing I could do. It was a shame as this resulted in a ten second penalty but I guess that unfortunately those are the rules but there was no alternative other than to stop on track with no fuel," lamented Alonso. "After that I had to push as hard as possible because I was stuck in the middle of the field and when you push to the maximum you sometimes go off track but at that stage there was nothing to lose."
After the multiple on-course blunders, and the late pass by Sato, Alonso dropped to seventh in the final result
One team ruing their Canadian experience was Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro.
Going into the event, they were the heavy favorites at the Circuit Gilles Villneuve. Multiple pundits (and even one RacingOne writer,) predicted that Ferrari would have an easy victory this weekend as their car was suited for long circuits like the one in Canada. Unfortunately, they faltered mightily throughout the weekend, capitalized by Kimi Raikkonen’s woeful fifth place result and Felipe Massa’s black flag for exiting pit road while a red light was on display.
"Pointless to say that we are very disappointed, because we lost important points," said Team Principal Jean Todt. "But we feel we were able to compete against all the others except the winner's team. For the second race in a row we have been beaten by a team more competitive than our's.
"It's a big shame that we had to have one car excluded but there's no complaint. You have a red light, if you don't stop in front of the red light you get excluded, so that's it and we have to analyze very carefully the situation. He did not pay attention, he was concentrating on getting out of the pits, not having any car passing him, and we did not tell him anything."
However, with the United States Grand Prix on the horizon – a race that has been dominated by Ferrari in recent years – the team remains optimistic.
"I'm not saying that next week we will be in front but at least it's a different kind of circuit. You have a lot of common points between Monte Carlo and Canada so we will have a different idea on a different circuit in one week's time," said Todt.
Quote of the Weekend
"It is such a shame about the beaver. It had it in for me for sure!"
-Anthony Davidson, driver for Super Aguri F1 Team, describing the culprit behind the damage to his front wing during one of the safety car periods.
After six of 17 races in the 2007 Formula One World Championship, Lewis Hamilton has taken an eight point advantage over teammate Fernando Alonso. Due to his disqualification from the Canadian Grand Prix, Felipe Massa failed to score points on Sunday and fell 15 points adrift of the leaders. Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld round out the top five.
In the Constructor’s standings, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ advantage over Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro ballooned to 28 points. BMW Sauber and ING Renault F1 Team comprise positions three and four respectively while AT&T Williams and Panasonic Toyota F1 team are tied for fifth. Standings: Driver’s | Constructor’s
Formula One’s teams and drivers will now head south to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the second and final race in North America this season, the United States Grand Prix. The event takes place next Sunday afternoon. 2007 Schedule