Lewis Hamilton continues to be the man to beat, finishing top of the times on the second day of testing at Hockenheim. The Brit was running without the anvil wing and put in a quickest time of 1:14.872, more than six tenths quicker than his best effort on Tuesday and the only time of the day under 1 minute 15. Rosberg finished the day with the second quickest time, just ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
Conditions were good for most of the day, although there was a brief shower in the morning.
Three red flags were seen during the day the first was for Adrian Sutil in his Force India when he stopped on track mid-morning. Barrichello stopped on-track late afternoon causing a second red flag, with Fernando Alonso doing the same 45 minutes later.
Unofficial Times for Day 2 Testing at Hockenheim 09/07/08
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.872 101
2. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:15.257 117
3. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:15.296 90
4. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:15.767 42
5. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:15.945 97
6. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:15.955 62
7. Glock Toyota 1:15.995 114
8. Alonso Renault 1:16.141 106
9. Barrichello Honda 1:16.144 90
10. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:16.217 70
11. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:16.235 115
12. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.550 36
Rumours have surfaced this week that McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton is looking for a professional manager to handle his F1 career. The Brit, who is currently heading the drivers championship, is currently managed by his father Anthony Hamilton who was spotted chatting to F1 driver-manager Julian Jakobi at the Silverstone last weekend, and it was this conversation that appears to have kicked off the manager rumours.
However Hamilton has quickly moved to quash these rumours. When asked at Hockenheim whether it was true that he was considering employing a new manager, Hamilton replied, “It s not correct, no. I am very content with my management team.â€
Lewis Hamilton is continuing his good run of form, leading the way at the first day of testing at Hockenheim. The British driver has been testing out a new engine cover design which has been nicknamed the anvil engine cover thanks to it s shape. McLaren are following in the footsteps of Red Bull Racing who began the trend, a trend which has been copied by Renault and Force India so far.
Showers marred the first part of testing, although the track soon dried and the teams were able to get plenty of dry testing. Ferrari s Kimi Raikkonen was the second quickest of the day, followed by the Williams of Rosberg. There was just the one red flag during the session when Alex Wurz spun his Honda at the Mercedes Tribune corner.
Unofficial times for day 1 of testing at Hockenheim:
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.483 75
2. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:15.803 63
3. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:16.099 87
4. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:16.516 97
5. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.533 113
6. Kobayashi Toyota 1:16.570 65
7. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:16.593 59
8. Piquet Renault 1:16.856 111
9. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:17.361 67
10. Wurz Honda 1:17.825 89
Midday sun it was not, but the way Lewis Hamilton was driving on Sunday it could just have well have been.
“We’ve done it, we’ve bloody done it,” were the words of elation from Hamilton after he gave his peers a masterclass in the wet at Silverstone and produced his greatest drive to date.
The Briton’s reaction a private message to his McLaren mechanics broadcast to the world on the team radio after sixty laps of rain-soaked chaos says it all. This wasn’t just about winning. This wasn’t just about fulfilling a school-boy fantasy and triumphing in front of a home crowd, though it clearly meant everything. These were the words of something grittier: raw delivery against the odds, at a time when those around him had begun to doubt.
The stakes could not have been higher going into Silverstone. Mistakes at the Canadian and French Grand Prix, combined with some over-zealous reporting on his off-track pursuits, led to mumblings that the British youngster had begun to take his eye off the ball. The implications of another disappointing result on his championship hopes, not to mention the backlash from the press, were unthinkable. A mistake in qualifying which saw the McLaren ace line up in fourth place compounded the situation.
His response on race-day couldn’t have been better: a flawless charge to victory in conditions where flawless was simply inconceivable. A lightening start saw him vault out of the starting box and nail Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen, but a near coming together with team-mate and pole-sitter Heikki Kovalainen almost ruined his race there and then.
“To be honest, I lifted too early into Turn One,” Lewis admitted. “Heikki had the outside line, so he had the grip but unfortunately I was on the inside and I was just sliding, sliding across. There was nothing I could do to avoid him, I think we tapped or we touched.”
“I had another opportunity on the exit of the last corner but that’s not a place to overtake really. We were almost side-by-side and I had an oversteer moment and the last thing I wanted to do was take my team-mate out, so I just tried to keep it on the track.”
The inevitable could not be delayed for long though and a few laps later the Finn relinquished the lead. There Hamilton stayed for the duration of the race, keeping his head in treacherous conditions, to take the chequered flag some fifty seconds ahead of his closest challenger, and a full lap ahead of championship rivals Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa (see full race report HERE).
“The team were telling me that it was forty seconds, 48 seconds, you’re five or eight seconds or whatever it was faster than the guy behind,” Hamilton said afterwards. “And I’m thinking, hold on a second, what’s going on? I’m not even pushing. I’m driving to a comfortable pace. I didn’t want to slow down because the moment you slow down, you perhaps lose concentration, so I just said ‘I’m comfortable at the pace I’m going’ and even then I was a silly amount quicker than everyone.”
“So I really had to be very, very sensible. Imagine I was a minute, sixty seconds ahead and I came off, and I didn’t win. There would be no way you could come from that. That would be the most embarrassing thing. You would have to retire. I was comfortable with the pace I was doing but I asked the team ‘How much slower can I go?’ They gave me a margin which I was comfortable with, yet I still did a 1m36s and that was quicker than I’d been in my last stint. But I was comfortable there. The car felt good, I felt comfortable where I was.”
Hamilton well and truly silenced those critics who have begun to doubt his raw talent, but he did more; he hurled the questions back. ‘Is Lewis Hamilton the quickest driver in Formula One?’ his performance asked. He dominated in a context where underlying skill and flair behind the wheel of an F1 cannot be masked, as he did at Monaco. He was the only driver not to make any mistakes while his peers, including Kimi Raikkonen, Robert Kubica and Fernando Alonso all had their moments. Food for thought.
Besides stopping the onslaught of criticism in its tracks, Hamilton also kept his title dreams alive and his victory paves the way for the mouth-watering prospect of a three-way title race between himself and the Ferrari pairing. As a result of Ferrari’s problems in the race (see HERE) Lewis currently find himself leading the championship but tied on 48 points with Raikkonen and Massa.
McLaren dominated both qualifying and the race this weekend, but it would be wrong to assume that they have an advantage over their Italian counterparts. As the track dried in the run up to the first round pit-stops Kimi Raikkonen was hunting Hamilton down at a rate of knots. Had Ferrari correctly predicted further rain and changed the Finn’s tyres to fresh intermediates, as McLaren had done with Hamilton, then who knows what would have happened.
“We could have won this race with Kimi but we made a key mistake at the first pitstop, choosing to stay on the same set of tyres” Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari’s Team Principal explained. “The rain did not ease off and lasted longer and our drivers – Felipe had also gone for the same choice – found themselves in difficulty. With hindsight it’s easy to say we should have changed tyres, but Formula One is not an exact science – sometimes strategic choices pay off and sometimes they don’t.”
“All the same, we have to admit that, this weekend, we did not operate to our usual standard. We made mistakes at every level and even our performance did not match our expectations and now we have to work out why, but calmly without panicking.”
Heading to Hockenheim its advantage McLaren. It was always going to be a case of damage limitation for McLaren at circuits such as Magny-Cours and Silverstone, and Hamilton’s win at the latter, combined with Ferrari’s disappointing points haul couldn’t have been a better result. But as in Monaco when mistakes masked the underlying pace of the F2008, so in Silverstone, Raikkonen could equally have taken the top step of the podium. So the gap in performance between the two teams is minimal.
It seems slightly strange that Lewis Hamilton has chosen to write his autobiography after just one season in Formula 1. However, given his explosive entrance into the sport during one of the most exciting and turbulent years in living memory, there was plenty for the youngster to write about.
Lewis Hamilton: My Story kicks off with a look at his early career, and then moves from his karting days right through to his first season at the pinnacle of motor sport. The book gives some insight as to what drives (no pun intended) the driver and provides an in-depth look at his colourful life both on and off the track. The book details the sacrifices his father made to further his career, how he himself coped with being on the move all the time, and how he overcame the mental and physical challenges facing every one of today s F1 drivers.
Perhaps the biggest draw of this book is his take on his debut season in Formula One a season which has seen much controversy and excitement. Hamilton details his four race wins, the high-speed crash at the Nurburgring which saw him stretchered to the Medical Centre, his rivalry with McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso, and his special relationship with Team Principle and CEO Ron Dennis a relationship that was fostered when the precocious nine year-old, wearing a borrowed suit, strode up to Dennis and announced that he would one day drive for McLaren!
Overall, ‘Lewis Hamilton: My Story’ is a surprisingly honest and open account of the life of a young driver from Stevenage who sacrificed everything to reach the heady heights of F1 it is a book that every F1 fan should have, but a warning, if you are anything like us, it will leave you very envious!