BBC BLOGS - Andrew Benson

Archives for May 2012

Speculation starts early over Hamilton's future

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Andrew Benson | 14:57 UK time, Monday, 28 May 2012

Lewis Hamilton's future was the subject of fevered discussion at the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend as the driver market 'silly season' began in earnest.

Hamilton is out of contract with McLaren at the end of this season and, at 27, his career is at a crossroads, with arguably the most important decision of his life looming.

Hamilton is heading into his prime as a grand prix driver. With good reason, he regards himself as the fastest in the world and it pains him that he has won only one world title so far.

That came in 2008 and it has not escaped Hamilton's attention that since then, at least until the start of this year, McLaren had not provided him with a car that was truly competitive enough.

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All good for revitalised Webber

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Andrew Benson | 19:56 UK time, Sunday, 27 May 2012

"All good, mate," is probably Mark Webber's favourite phrase. It's a fair bit more loaded with meaning than it sounds, and it sums up the way he will be feeling after the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Australian's second win in three years in Formula 1's most prestigious race, and his first of the season, had been coming for a while and it confirms Webber's return to form after a difficult 2011.

It will have been particularly sweet as it came at another race in which he has had an edge on team-mate Sebastian Vettel, whose romp to the world title last year was probably harder on Webber than anyone.

When a driver takes 11 wins and 15 pole positions in 19 races, as Vettel did last year, most of his rivals can console themselves with the thought that he has a better car than they do. Not so his team-mate, who suffered through 2011 with dignity and largely in silence.

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Fresh questions over struggling Schumacher

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Andrew Benson | 17:12 UK time, Monday, 14 May 2012

Michael Schumacher's collision with Williams driver Bruno Senna in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix has once again focused awkward attention on the German legend's lacklustre performances for Mercedes.

A senior member of the Mercedes team used the word "mediocre" last weekend when discussing the 43-year-old's driving, and that was before Schumacher clumsily ran into the back of Senna's car in the race.

It was the sort of error you might expect from a beginner, not a man with 91 grand prix victories and seven world titles under his belt.

Coming at Senna from a long way back, Schumacher seemed simply to misjudge the closing speed of the two cars and, caught in two minds about which direction to go, he ran into the back of the Williams.

Schumacher called Senna an "idiot" on the radio as he sat in the gravel trap in the immediate aftermath, and, even after watching replays, he still seemed convinced it was his rival's fault. The stewards disagreed and gave him a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Monaco.

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Millionaire man Maldonado answers critics

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Andrew Benson | 19:16 UK time, Sunday, 13 May 2012

At the Circuit de Catalunya

The smile on Pastor Maldonado's face dropped in the immediate aftermath of the frightening fire that broke out in the Williams garage after the Spanish Grand Prix, but it soon came back again once he was told nobody had been seriously hurt. You can bet it will stay for quite some time.

Maldonado started this season as a man who owed his place in Formula 1 to the millions provided to his Williams team by the Venezuelan government.

After yet another bizarre and unexpected twist in this most unpredictable of seasons, he leaves Barcelona as a grand prix winner and talking about a possible championship challenge.

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