Friday, October 29, 2010

Hamilton versus ...

A rookie in 2007 teamed up with Fernando Alonso, two-time WDC winner, Lewis Hamilton burst onto the scene and registered a VERY strong opening season with McLaren in his first year in the prestigious motorsport world of Formula 1.

Hamilton has had three different team-mates within his relatively short Formula 1 career and he has consistently out-performed all of them, starting with his ‘more-experienced’ team mate in his rookie year (they both scored 109 points but Hamilton had more 2nd place wins).

Some would say the changes in team-mate is due to team dynamics (or lack of), others would argue that Hamilton always outshines his team-mates in essentially the same car and perhaps causes the team to reconsider his team-mate’s relative performance and ultimately, contract.

Here we take a look at Hamilton’s performance against his team-mate from 2007 to date and ponder what will become of the debut year of his partnership with Button (the reigning WDC).

(Graph shows difference in each parameter. Hamilton on right side of axis; FA = Fernando Alonso, HK = Heikki Kovalainen, JB = Jenson Button)

2010 Season so far...
is currently 21 points ahead of his current team-mate Jenson Button, but apart from the point difference, Hamilton and Button are on fairly equal footing in terms of other measures of success i.e. race wins, 2nd places, pole positions. So the most telling and most relevant criteria to pay attention to is the point-difference; they drive essentially the same car and it is well publicised that Button has a different driving style to Hamilton and occasionally opts for a different set-up from his team-mate to complement his driving style.

Therefore it is fair to say Button's driving style and set-ups haven't been as successful as Hamilton's and from this, one could surmise that Hamilton will out-perform his team-mate again this year.

Perhaps if harmonious team-dynamics were not so important, his most prefered team-mate (a driver who challenges him and gets the best out of him), is the man generally regarded as Hamilton's greatest rival, and is the current Championship leader, Fernando Alonso.

In a recent promotional event, when asked who he enjoyed racing the most, Hamilton admitted "Probably Fernando. Just because of our history – two time World Champion, I raced him when I was rookie, it was great racing him – he’s one the toughest I’ve competed against. I’ve not had the chance to have too many battles with him this year. I really wanted to have a dice with Michael, and with Jenson, I’ve been dying to have a proper battle with him, but it always works out that one weekend he’s up on me and the next I’m up on him – we’re rarely at the same position!" Courtesy of

Dusky end to dramatic maiden Korean Grand Prix

Apologies for the delayed blog post, but the Inaugural Korean Grand Prix was an exhilarating and fascinating race; it has taken a long time to digest and barely any time to put 'pen to paper'.

In summary, the five title contenders are still in the race mathematically although there are whispers around the paddock that one of them, (the current World Drivers Champion, Jenson Button) might be out of the running as he trails the new Championship leader by 42 points following the race in Korea.

Alonso inherited first place after the two front-running Red Bull cars failed to finish; one was due to driver-error or misfortune and the other was just bad luck and an overworked engine which blew up about 10 laps to the end of the race.

Hamilton, who started 4th, finished 2nd and was glad to have seen another end of a race given that he was almost taken out by Webber's Red Bull car as it slid off the track.

Massa finished 3rd and celebrated a Ferrari double podium on the same day as a Red Bull double DNF (did not finish).

The 100,000 Koreans who bought tickets for this momentous historical race (peppered with a delayed start, heavy rain, poor visibility, several safety car deployments, several crashes and penalties, 3-time change in championship leader within the race, day-to-dusk driving, phew!) will have many tales to recount to their families for many years to come.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Inaugural Korean GP and new records (II)

2nd Practice results: Webber 1min37.942s, Alonso +0.19s, Hamilton +0.337s, Kubica +0.776s, Button +0.787s, Massa +0.878s and Vettel +1.262s. Petrov, Rosberg and Kobayashi made the final 3 positions of the top 10 in 2nd practice.

Inaugural Korean GP and new records (I)

1st Practice results: Hamilton 1min40.887s, Kubica +0.081s, Rosberg +0.265s, Vettel +0.484s, Button +1.053s, Schumacher +1.135s, Webber +1.315s. Heidfeld, Hulkenberg and Barrichello finish up the top ten drivers in 1st practice.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vettel wins in Japan, Hamilton limps to 5th place

The Japanese Grand Prix eventually got going after Qualifying was delayed till Sunday morning due to thunderstorms and heavy rain. And the top three positions were secured by Vettel, Webber and Hamilton, the latter having to start in 8th position because of a 5-place grid penalty incurred from changing a gear-box during the weekend. Behind the top three were Kubica, Alonso, Button and Rosberg.

Vettel lead right from the start of the race; the start also saw some early casualties: Di Grassi lost control of this car before the formation lap, Petrov swiping past Hulkenburg, and Massa flying off the kerb at the first corner and hitting Liuzzi into the wall. Hamilton gained several places at the start and was up to 6th place by the first corner, just ahead of his team-mate who was on the hard compound tyres - a different strategy from most of the other front runners.
Kubica having made his way as high as 2nd place, had to abandon the race as his left-rear tyre came undone in the 3rd lap, through no fault of his.

Hamilton had been doing well on the soft tyres and set several fast laps during the course of the race. But the disaster-prone 2008 WDC was to have one more challenge to contend with: he lost 3rd gear in the latter part of the race and had to nurse the car till the finish line. Losing 2seconds per lap and his team-mate overtaking him were the least of this worries as this was his first finish in 3 races, scoring a damage-limiting 10 points. Even though he is now demoted to 4th in the Championship standings, he seemed relieved to see the end of THIS race and hopefully to all his bad luck. Vettel (pictured) won the race ahead of his team-mate to keep his title hope alive and to take Hamilton's title of the youngest WDC.

Home-boy Kobayashi gave the crowds a lot to cheer about by pulling several of his trademark overtaking moves and finishing in 7th place (6 points); his highest position this season.

Lotus driver, Heikki Kovalainen finished in 12th place, out of the points, but enough to secure Lotus the 10th place in the World Constructors Standings and guarantees the team more money and pit-garage location next season.
Photo from

Friday, October 8, 2010

Japanese GP Practice: RedBull fastest, Hamilton crashes

During first practice at the Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was top of the timesheets with 40 minutes of practice time left and he had set the fastest lap in the first sector when he had an 'excursion' into the gravel at Degner Two corner, hit the barriers and damaged his front left tyre.

His mechanics managed to fix his car in time for second practice where he finished 13th. More information and photos to follow....