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Hamilton proves up to his 'ultimate challenge'

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Andrew Benson | 21:29 UK time, Sunday, 13 June 2010

In Montreal

McLaren arrived in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix as pre-race favourites and Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button duly delivered a one-two. In between those two apparently predictable facts, though, this superb Formula 1 season continued to surprise and thrill.

This was McLaren's second one-two in as many races and suddenly a world championship that only two races ago looked in danger of becoming a Red Bull benefit is fizzing with competition and uncertainties.

It would be wise not to read too much into Red Bull finishing behind McLaren and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari here, as the RB6 remains the best overall car in the field.

But Hamilton and Button will head back to Europe for the European Grand Prix in Valencia in two weeks' time in first and second places in the championship and, as Hamilton said after the race, the momentum definitively riding with them.

After his second win of the season, Hamilton heads the championship by a meagre three points from Button, who is a similar margin ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber, the erstwhile championship leader who finished fifth behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel on Sunday.

Alonso is 15 points behind Hamilton, with Vettel a further four adrift. If that sounds a lot, it is worth remembering that 15 points is what you get for a third place - and is therefore the same as six points would have been under last year's scoring system.

For the championship battle to be so close after eight of the 19 races augurs extremely well for the rest of the season.

Hamilton described this year as "the ultimate challenge that I've experienced in F1 - and also maybe in F1 history. All the best drivers are in the top teams and they're all very competitive. There are so many of us pushing right to the wire. I think it will remain close through the season."

If that sounds like hyperbole, think again.

The strength in depth of this current F1 field is probably greater than at any time since the first couple of races of the 1982 season and I suspect that, over time, this will come to be seen as a golden age for the sport.

In Hamilton and Alonso, the sport has two drivers already established before this season as greats, and Button has now silenced the doubters to prove this season that he deserves to be ranked up there as well. Vettel is heading the same way and Webber is matching his team-mate blow for blow.

It is a heady mix, and it all came together to produce a stunning grand prix on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, so often the scene of drama and excitement.

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The expected safety car periods did not materialise, despite plenty of wheel-banging and incident, but even so McLaren were proved right in their decision to qualify on the softer, option tyre, despite the scepticism it produced at the time.

The split strategies and rapid degradation of both the option and the harder 'prime' tyre created a race of changing fortunes and possibilities, and any one of those five drivers could have won had things gone slightly differently.

It was great to see Hamilton and Alonso at it hammer and tongs at the front again, reprising their great rivalry that started when they were team-mates at McLaren in 2007. And Button produced another understated, classy, skilful race - rapier to their broadsword in the manner of the great Alain Prost - to ease up the field as the race progressed.

Red Bull split their strategies - putting Webber on the prime tyre at his first pit stop, so he would run the difficult option in the final stint, and Vettel on the option, getting it out of the way - in the hope that at least one of them would get it right.

But it did not work out for them.

Vettel was right in contention until having to back off to nurse his gearbox in the closing laps, and the prime tyres went off too quickly for Webber's strategy to work out. When teams go into a race knowing they are going to have to 'wing it' on strategy because they have no idea how the tyres will behave, this is the sort of thing that can happen.

vettelcarap595335.jpg Vettel follows his car back to the pits after the race. Photo: AP.

Team boss Christian Horner said Red Bull were actually pleased to have come away with fourth and fifth places.

"We shouldn't be too disappointed," he said. "We always knew this race was going to favour the McLarens. We were actually more competitive here than we expected to be, which I think is an encouraging sign."

Horner may be right to point out that there are circuits coming up that will suit Red Bull better - and certainly, as things stand at the moment, they would be expected to walk the British and Belgian Grands Prix, for example.

Two races ago, Webber had taken two dominant victories at tracks as different as Barcelona and Monaco, the second a one-two with Vettel. And they should have had another in Turkey two weeks ago only for the two drivers to have their notorious collision.

But all of a sudden things do not look quite so great for Red Bull.

McLaren are getting stronger and stronger - and will go to Valencia as favourites because that track, like Montreal, is predominantly slow corners and straights. And Ferrari, back on form here, are due a major aerodynamic upgrade for that event.

Increasingly it looks as if Red Bull, still encountering reliability issues, may suffer for their scrappy start to the season, which delivered only three wins despite either Webber or Vettel being on pole position for all the first seven races.

A leading member of a rival team said to me this weekend: "Red Bull may live to regret that. You've got to deliver the wins when you're strong because sooner or later you'll get caught."

As an example, he pointed to Alonso's championship winning year for Renault in 2006, when the Spaniard built a huge lead with a dominant car at the start of the season but ended up fighting a rearguard battle against Ferrari and Michael Schumacher.

A large part of Red Bull's aerodynamic performance advantage so far this season is now believed by rival engineers to come from the design of the rear of the car.

They have sited their exhaust exits low down, blowing into the 'coke-bottle' shape of the bodywork and through slots in the floor of the car into the diffuser. I'm told by aerodynamicists from Red Bull's rivals that this is worth at least half a second a lap.

Ferrari are introducing their version of the design in Valencia, with McLaren aiming for the next race at Silverstone or possibly two weeks later in Germany. Renault, who are not far behind, have one due soon, too.

In Canada and before that in Turkey, McLaren did what Red Bull have too often not - delivering a win when they were strong, to add to Button's two opportunist wins from earlier in the season. They and Ferrari are closing in and after Canada Red Bull are now chasing the championship lead rather than setting the pace.

In that sense, the Canadian GP was a microcosm of the title battle to come - any one of five drivers could win it and watching them battle it out has the potential to produce a classic season.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good blog, and great race.

    Aren't all the victories this season against the faster Red Bulls "opportunist" to some degree?

    Great race by Hamilton. He was world class. I thought Jenson did really well, and I am sure he felt better about his position in the team relative to Hamilton. Jenson has never been at his best in Canada, and I thought he drove excellently. Especially as he was banged in the first corner. But it was confirmed that Jenson's advantage will always be at the end of the race, and that over 20 laps, Hamilton will blow him away every time. A great mixture of drivers, delivering their skill masterfully for McLaren. They have really rubbed Red Bulls noses in it, and, politically, it makes Red Bull look rather childish for their antics this week. I know they are not, but it is how it can look. The McLaren boys are behaving like two world class WDCs who are worthy of their titles, and looking to pick up another. I go for Hamilton to win the McLaren battle, but do not rule out Button. He is a wily old fox.

    I think Valencia will see Button heading for a challenge for the lead in the closing stages, possibly off Lewis. The tire degredation shouldn't be as bad as in Canada. Any advantage he had in preserving tires was wiped about by the amount of degradation that happened, but this could tilt to Jenson next race.

    But Hamilton was just awesome. He was controlled, matured, and masterful. Alonso was class. Button was supreme, choosing his battles wisely. Vettel and Hamilton looked put in their place, and Schumacher looked lazy. Vettel seemed petulant on the radio. Is he having teenage breakdown? Or am I just getting carried away with the soap opera that was last week?

    I still think at the end of this year the teams will be what I said at the beginning of the season, and I still think Reb Bull will the winners. MCLAREN. J Button/L.Hamilton. RED BULL. Raikkonen/Weber. MERCEDES. Vettel/Rosberg RENAULT. Kubica/Petrov. I think Schumacher will have a repeat of his neck injury some time soon putting him out of the way, and Bernie will want to have as many WDC's on the grid as possible.

    Vettel is still the favorite for the whole season. I think sparks will fly for McLaren next race. I hope so. It will spice it up nicely.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good comment, I agree with most apart from "Vettel is still the favorite for the whole season".

    I think this season he is proving the opposite of a worthy successor to Schumi. Erratic, egotistical, stressed out.

    Button/Hamilton and possibly Alonso for the title imho.

  • Comment number 4.

    Just to add I think it's a shame to have to rely on comments to this thread to see any praise of Hamilton, rather than find it in the original article.

    Button is prost like eh, but Hamilton?, guess he just 'won' or some such under-achievment.

    Shocking lack of praise AB.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Andrew, some good points here. Spongmuffin...some very good points too, I think the word missing around the Red Bull area is 'respect' the two drivers haven't had it before, and at McLaren at least it appears to be there. This is why the two should be able to battle properly, and it will be more likely that any more bad publicity accidents will occur once again between SV & MW.

    I am surprised to see Schumi got away with his antics, and Brundle is correct about his 'not losing a position is not gaining' theory. I'm not saying Schumi should be black flagged for the Massa incident, but he didn't exactly run it 100% fair against the Force India's.

    Good to see such an action packed race this evening, proof if ever that F1 needs to stick to traditions. The new circuits provide certain boredom, and it is ridiculous that Tilke's design briefs ban features such as the champions wall. The only 'challenge' he has built was Turn 8 in Turkey, but it still has 100m of run off!

    Also something to why the FIA (not FOTA...remember Jean Todt's statement last week) are so reluctant to let only one tyre supplier into F1, if they let two or more in you could get much more action. As I read somewhere over the summer, why should Bridgestone spend millions of dollars every year beating only themselves? F1 needs a tyre war!

  • Comment number 7.

    @No.4 We all know that AB is Button's cheerleader in chief by some of his article titles this year in comparison to Hamilton. Leave him to pour meagre praise on Hamilton, we dont need him to tell us that the franchise pick of this sport is Lewis Hamilton. Woe betide TV ratings and sponsors should he take a sabbatical or get injured as we will then be back in the dark days of processional racing.

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry but I think the WDC is between 3 maybe 4 drivers this year: Lewis, Jenson and Mark are the 3 strongest contenders with Fernando being the 4th if Ferrari can give him the car capable of winning races. Vettel is quick, there is no doubt about that, but once again he failed to prove any skill when it comes to overtaking (unless you count him succeeding in not crashing into anyone else).

    My favourites are the 2 McLaren drivers, both are relaxed calm and have shown great ability to read and control difficult races. If I had to choose between them then my choice would be Lewis but that is a purely emotional choice based purely on loving his attacking driving by the seat of his pants style.

    Mark is a strong contender but is hampered by his team at the moment, at critical times they have just made too many mistakes in the last couple of seasons, I am not talking about the tyre choice as that was a calculated gamble that didn't pay off, but the repeated pit wall strategy blunders in races.... This time it was keeping Mark out on dying tyres for 6-8 laps to long. They could have pitted him and slotted him into 3/4th place and seen how he went, the worst that could have happened (accidents aside) would have been his tyres burning out and him taking an extra stop with would have dropped him to 5th.... as it was they didn't give him any chance to score better than 5th with the strategy they chose for his last stop.

    No right minded F1 fan can write Fernando off just yet, his talent and drive to succeed are all to apparent the only question is can Ferrari give him a car that is capable of fighting for wins/podiums for the rest of the season?

    As for Vettel, he had an opportunity to pass a struggling Jenson when he was about a second a lap faster and did nothing... again. Yes he is blindingly fast when he has a clear track but that doesn't make a WDC or both Ralf Schumacher and Trulli would be multiple Champions. To be a contender in a season like this years you HAVE to be able to overtake and Lewis, Jenson, Mark and Fernando have all repeatedly proven this season that they can over take. In fact 3 of these drivers all managed to make overtakes this race in similar circumstances to Vettel's 'failure'.

  • Comment number 9.

    Personally the Ferrari looks too hot and cold to be a big contender and I think they have a LOT of work to do.

    Not sure I agree with the comment that Button had more than Lewis at the end of the race, lets not forget within two laps of Button closing Lewis the young lad had chucked out two or 3 lightning laps and the fastest lap of the race. Whether one or both of the drivers could have gone faster and were tempered by team orders I don't know but I wouldn't rush to the conclusion that button had more go juice at the end. At least not a significant amount more.

    The thing that continues to impress me about Hamilton is that he does his business on the track. Today we saw him makes the moves that mattered to take the lead whilst the Red Bulls got the lead due to other people pitting. Lewis in particular looks like he's making decisions whilst others are left to react. Just look at the decision to come in for his second stop when having just been overtaken by Alonso he dives into the pits at the last possible moment in a split second decision which for me won him the race. He could so easily have gotten caught up in the moment and tried to chase Alonso down when Alonso was in full flight but he made the call to come in and after the stops panned out he was back in front of Alonso and from there on in he never looked massively troubled for the win.

    The above was a quality decision and sums up LHs ability to think on the fly and also his growing maturity and understanding of the racing World.

    I fancy McClaren to break the backs of the Red Bull resistance in Valencia and then with their new rear end package arriving at Silverstone I think we might see a change in the dominant team.

    Number 3, re: Vettel definitely. He has looked like a petulant child throwing his toys out of the pram because his older brother wont let him win!

  • Comment number 10.

    "A large part of Red Bull's aerodynamic performance advantage so far this season is now believed by rival engineers to come from the design of the rear of the car.

    They have sited their exhaust exits low down, blowing into the 'coke-bottle' shape of the bodywork and through slots in the floor of the car into the diffuser. I'm told by aerodynamicists from Red Bull's rivals that this is worth at least half a second a lap.

    Ferrari are introducing their version of the design in Valencia, with McLaren aiming for the next race at Silverstone or possibly two weeks later in Germany. Renault, who are not far behind, have one due soon, too."

    I find this part fascinating.

    Assuming Ferrari get this done for Valencia, how far will that improve them? As a McLaren fan I hope they continue their dominance at Valencia as many predict, but by Silverstone, exactly the middle race of the season, it'll be interesting to see where the development is for the top 3 teams, as from there we could have a good indicator as to where the titles may be going. At the moment with the points advantage McLaren have, and the possible improvements to their car which may be greater realtive to Red Bull's in the future, they could at this moment have the edge.

    As for Lewis he's finally getting the reward he deserves. Gutting for him in Spain to blow out on the penultimate lap losing 18 points, but now he's in the lead for the first time this season he can forget about that and the other incidents such as Australia and just concentrate on pushing on for the title. Jenson, solid as ever, will push him hard.

  • Comment number 11.

    Not only a golden age for F1 but also a golden age for British GP drivers. Lewis is just that bit quicker than Jenson but both are brilliant drivers. Feel for Webber, I hope they fight all the way to the end.

  • Comment number 12.

    Guys,stop living in the past-WW2 is long over, something the F1 teams have realized and accepted by working TOGETHER for a common goal, regardless of Nationality. The constant swipes at non English speaking drivers is B O R I N G, and detracts significantly from some excellent reporting and comments.
    Not so long ago when a driver had his front wheels level with the cockpit of the car he was overtaking ALL the pundits felt the next corner was his and the overtaken driver should give way.. Given comments on the RedBull Turkey incident those rules seem to have been thrown out the window because it involved an English speaking driver vs a German Driver. (It was a normal racing incident, albeit among team mates)
    LH has tried that stunt, as has DC and DH without being condemned. We used to be able to get the less biased Speedvision F1 commentators here in Canada as well, but alas no more..

    LH is a great driver, with occasional brain fade (Mona 2009). JB, not quite s fast but wiser and knows when to pick his battles. FA, a wily fox and opportunist, who has matured significantly and is ALWAYS a threat. SV, young, fast, take no prisoners-on-the-track, unlucky this year (today a bum gearbox for half the race)under performance pressure. MW . tough (anyone remember his back flip at Le Mans??)peaking and pushed by a young upstart- first team mate to actually be at least on his level of performance in his career, merciless on the track, living up to his hidden potential in a great, but underpowered car.
    While I'm not a fan of MS, and am more than happy to see NR have the edge on him, the way the commentators constantly slam someone who had the guts to come out of retirement, and actually race,rather than get out of the way from competitors is just childish, unprofessional and pandering once again to an English speaking audience. I see DC's idea of coming out of retirement is the German touring Car championship that he is setting on fire (not) and MB is running around in the support races in an eco Scirocco.. Indeed, real experts who are doing significantly better than MS..

    I wish Murray W would "unretire" as well- at least he was honest and entertaining and gave credit where it was due without constantly looking through a Union-jack.

  • Comment number 13.

    One more thing, I'm glad F1 is back in North America. Today's race was THE most exciting so far this year! Thats what F1 should be all about-not the processional races like Bahrain..

  • Comment number 14.

    Good as they are, let's not get over-excited. None of the current crop could be labelled "genius", except perhaps Alonso. If Alonso wins 2 or 3 more championships, which there's every chance he will, he'd be up there with Prost, Senna and Moss, if not quite Schumacher, Clark or Fangio. Hamilton is strictly 3rd tier Stewart / Piquet territory. He's just not quite the complete driver. I'm a Jenson fan but I'm under no illusions he's strictly Mansell. Fair?

  • Comment number 15.

    I mean imagine Alonso in that Red Bull. He would be absolutely unstoppable.

  • Comment number 16.

    Once again Montreal produces a stunning race, and no need for rain, safety cars or any other random things to achieve it.

    On Andrew's blog after Melbourne (after which many on here were putting forward ideas to create consistently good races), I commented on it and actually spelled out the exact circumstances that were the reason for today's great race (without wanting to blow my own trumpet too much!). That is to say:

    1) 2 tyre compounds incapable of completing the race distance/ 1 long stint after the pitstop.

    2) The variety of tyre strategies that fact brought into play. 2 stops were forced onto everyone, but we had cars running different stint lengths and different times, cars had different amounts of grip at different stages, and it led to some proper racing. That said Webber didn't make a charge on the Soft tyres at the end as I thought he might.

    3. The short pitlane meant that 3 stopping wasn't out of the question. Time lost for each stop was only about 16 seconds, which is even shorter than Monaco (because the speed limit was lowered there this year) so the penalty for the extra stop was less extreme.

    Great work from both McLaren boys; it was the result most people expected, I'm just glad it came about in an entertaining way. I thought Red Bull did as well as they could have expected on a circuit which doesn't suit them. Alonso has out-performed his machinery again this weekend, a well deserved third place after a flukey podium in Spain. Mercedes were off-colour, Schumacher was dreadful as Martin Brundle rightly pointed out. Good weekend for Force India, Kubica, Buemi and Lotus. Not so good for Petrov, Sauber and Williams.

    Valencia could be a complete let down after that race, let's hope the tyres misbehave again. Or it rains!

  • Comment number 17.

    The more I think about it the more I think Alonso = Senna. Too much? He just needs the machinery and it's him vs Hamilton a la Prost/Senna, the others can just forget it. I mean they hate each other enough to do the Senna/Prost dance. Perhaps I do Lewis a disservice and he is Prost calibre.

  • Comment number 18.

    Is it me, or does Ron Dennis milling around the paddock bring out the best in both drivers? I think it does for Lewis. I think we'll see more of Ron in the pit lane this season.

    Carior - I think you're right. With the level of degradation, maybe Button didn't have that much left in his car relative to Hamilton. But Button was no slouch, and I think for Canada, he did a blinding job. It was always going to be Lewis for the win in terms of driving, but Button has again proved himself to be more than up for the task.

    Great driving from Lewis. When they take the Red Bulls on as a team, they beat them. Anyone else think that Vettel is getting agitated? What do you think Andrew?

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi all,

    Thanks for your responses so far.

    I have to admit I'm a bit flummoxed by some of you thinking I have not praised Hamilton in comparison to Button.

    Before I even talk about Button, I describe Hamilton as a "great". I also seem to remember some of you criticising me on other blogs for not rating Button in comparison to Hamilton at the start of this season (which isn't true either - I said I thought Hamilton would come out on top, and I still think he will).

  • Comment number 20.

    Thanks for being impartial Andrew B! ;)

    Of course, if we're honest here - each individual post has his/her favorite out of the Mclaren duo...including you Andrew! Although im sure you'll politely deny it ;)

    Anyway, unashamedly I admire and love Lewis Hamilton!! Think he the most talented and exciting driver out much so, F1 TV ratings have benefitted from his presence!! I know Hamilton denialists on this blog will be quick to attack my assessment of Lewis' Greatness n presence - however, all I say to them is Lewis' WDC Points speak louder than their inevitable rants of disapproval to my praises for this unique Champion!! ;)

    Okay, one last thing - Mclaren need to desperately sort out their pit-stop SPEED!! Lewis (on average) always seems to get the longest pit stop hold times as well?? Thats not me being biased, just simple observation. Just take a look back at some of his post race interviews where he often mentions the delays of his pit crew due to various reasons, and you'll see what I mean! Maybe he could just be more unfortunate than Button with his pit stop times...who knows? Nevertheless - Mclaren pit crew need to get their ACT TOGETHER!

    Beautiful & exciting race today Lewis - Well Done!! God speed onwards to your next World Championship 2010! :)

  • Comment number 21.

    To my dear friend #14 GAVINTHEGROMIT, if you're a fan of Alonso come up straight and laid out praises for him, stop beating around the bush. Trying to classified Hamilton as 3rd tier only prove how ignorant you're in the department of motor-sport. With regards to given Alonso a Red Bull car, the same was said at some point in time, give Alonso a Ferrari car and he would dominate. Alonso is a fine driver, competitive and up there with the best. I presumed Hamilton hasn't impress you much so far in his short career, please accord him some time and come up with such conclusion. And just to remind you, Alonso had the machine at Mclaren in 2007, which turn out to be a winning machine, and what was the result?

  • Comment number 22.

    The BBC coverage was once again just so biased towards Button. Comment from DC: "Button is the King of smooth driving, but I suppose Hamilton ended up on the top step". From what I could see, there wasn't much difference in tyre degradation between Hamilton and Button's cars, so whywasn't this reflected in the commentary and DC say something like, "it looks like Hamilton is the joint King". And the disappointment in his voice that despite the brilliance of silky smooth Button, unfortunately Hamilton won (God knows how), was so blatant. You know, Hamilton has masses more fans than Button, whether the BBC like it or not that their favourite doesn't, and we are getting really annoyed at this bias. I don't remember Lewis' magnificent drive mentioned once in the forum, whereas Button's lucky win in Australia prompted the most revolting hyperbole and nastiness towards Hamilton that I've seen in commentating ever.

    One thing I did find hilarious though and made up for the bias and anti-Hamilton negativity, were the incredible cheers for Lewis from the Canadian crowd and the almost total silence for Button. I reckon Lewis will get a similar response in Austin. Shame he is not more appreciated in his own country!

  • Comment number 23.

    I agree with you CoolKev #20 about Lewis and his pitstops. One could even start a conspiracy theory ...

  • Comment number 24.

    Great blog as always Andrew.

    I just wanna say that I love the BBC coverage and love them for not being biased like ITV used to be. I think the BBC is very fair in there coverage and opinions except for Martin Brundle who hates Michael Schumacher and doesnt really like Alonso either. Martin excluded i think the beeb do a great job.

    First of all I am not a Lewis fan to say the least.

    I am a Schumacher fan but I love Massa and Alonso and I like Jenson. I would love Jenson to beat Lewis to show people how good he is and how over rated Lewis is. He is a very good driver but its way to early in his career to compare him to the greats. in all fairness his championship should of been Massa's.

    Hamilton is capable of great drives and is super fast at times but not as well rounded as Button or Alonso and is prone to mistakes.

    I think luqa1906 made some great points, actually I couldnt have put it better my self so please go and read his post

  • Comment number 25.


    your guy won. Cheer up. It should be a good day, not a bad one.

  • Comment number 26.

    Hamilton is doing for F1 exactly what Mansell did in 1987. That shows my age. Mansell mania was crazy. I never saw his overtakes, as I just couldn't look. But I see Hamilton's moves. He is decisive and clear.

  • Comment number 27.

    Is it me or is Vettel beginning to be the new Alonso? He always seems to either a) have an excuse (Sometimes valid), b) expect preferential treatment, or c) complain.
    Great drive by Hamilton, Button & (although it pains me to say it) Alonso. Still a bit concerned about the pit lane antics though.

  • Comment number 28.

    How did Hamilton/McLaren get away with that dangerous pit lane incident? Could have been really serious but seems to have been glossed over, how come?

  • Comment number 29.

    Great job McLaren; right call on tyres and two fantastic drives ending in another 1-2. Lewis was out of sight on Saturday, and Jenson (as he admitted) just couldn't keep up with him, he had a fantastic weekend.

    With regards to Hamiltons pit stop release: Watch it in real time, the lolly goes up about half a second after Alonso's, Hamilton just wheelspins like mad before he gets any traction, which delayed his exit from his box, thats why no action was taken :-)

    Great job by Alonso and Buemi also!

  • Comment number 30.

    I just wonder how much of a coincidence it is that most of the claims of bias happen to come from people who have rather bizarre views regarding the merits and demerits of various drivers.... To me it seems that some people wear some heavy duty blinkers!

    McLaren are the team with the best overall package I would suggest, good car that is improving at a phenominal rate, great drivers and a firm grasp on the tactics /stratergy. The only chink in their armour seems to be pit stops andtat sould eairly easy to fix.

    Rd Bull may still have the quickest car, but McLaren are all over the back wing. Of the drivers I rate Mark more than Seb as Seb still hasn't shown he can overtake and I see no chance of him winning the WDC this season until he proves he can reliably and regulrly. However I think Red Bull have serious flaw and that is their lack of pit wall nouse, the just don't seem able to react as quickly and intelligently as other teams. Yes reliability is an issue as well but the gremlins can and do attack everyone.

    Ferrari are the dark horse, both drivers have shown some flair this season and despite his lowly result Massa looked to be on fire yesterday, he just had the misfortune of getting caught up in too many accidents. If the car can improve enought to challenge then I expect Alonso will be in the hunt at the end of the season.

    Mercedes now look they are out of it for this season, they need to calm down and refocus I feel.

  • Comment number 31.

    Andrew Benson said Jenson Button is like Alain prost , haha what a joke !
    and he failed to put a word on Lewis Hamilton's quality , what an little engalander you are Andrew ! the fact is Lewis is the best compared to Jenson, it didnt matter at any point tyre 'hugger' Bunsen would have made any difference to Lewis's race, when Jenson made a fast couple of laps in the later stages Lewis always responded with a fastest time to put a mark on it saying 'you dont even try' , No the BBC F1 headline yesterday should have been like ' Lewis Hamilton destroyed Jenson Button to win the montreal GP '

    get real by the way ! Lewis to the championship

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    Wow, what a great race, how long has it been since a race victory was being fought over by 5 drivers. Come to think of it we're half way through the season and there's already been 5 people lead the championship - when did that last happen?!

    A fantastic race by Hamilton, he looks almost unbeatable at Canada. It just goes to show what excitement an "old" track can bring - let's hope it remains on the claendar for good now.

    Valencia should be a great race too, and if the Ferrari upgrades work I wouldn't be suprised if Alonso (or maybe less likely Massa) take the honors. As for who will be champion at the end of the season - who knows!!

  • Comment number 34.

    What an exciting race, differing strategies, plenty of incidents but none so major as turn the race on its head, F1 just gets better & better.
    I sensed some frustration in MSC's drive, his Mercedes seems to be getting wider as well as longer!
    A big thank you to the 5 Live commentary team too, I took their feed off the internet and will use them for future races.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think this year is interesting because it pits the two best drivers in Maclaren versus the two best cars in Red Bull. So we never know what is going to be the result until the conditions decide. I do get the impression that in the excitement with two successive 1-2s for the Brits, it is overlooked that they only got the Turkish one through a bizarre incident and otherwise things (and the table) would look very different.

  • Comment number 36.

    Lewis was the best I have seen and neither Alonso or Button where able to come close from day one, what a lap on saturday!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    some excellent passing moves in this race by the big 3, Alonso on Hamilton, Hamilton on Alonso, Button on Alonso.

    fully agree about Hamiltons Pit Crew, twice in two different races they have put Hamilton back a position, lets hope Ron Dennis has something to say about that.

    the Red Bulls did ok, if it wasn't for there strategy it could have been quite a boring race, good on you guys for doing something different, you do realize it is they that are also keeping us on the edge of our seat.

    Alonso i take my hat off to you (personally i am not your fan) but i give you plus AAA for trying.

    Lewis Hamilton congratulations on a excellent win...
    Jenson Button well done for coming second..

    i am enjoying this years Formula 1, thanks for bring it to the World BBC.

  • Comment number 38.

    Chris_Hall wrote:

    Great blog as always Andrew.

    I just wanna say that I love the BBC coverage and love them for not being biased like ITV used to be. I think the BBC is very fair in there coverage and opinions except for Martin Brundle who hates Michael Schumacher and doesnt really like Alonso either. Martin excluded i think the beeb do a great job.

    First of all I am not a Lewis fan to say the least.

    I am a Schumacher fan but I love Massa and Alonso and I like Jenson. I would love Jenson to beat Lewis to show people how good he is and how over rated Lewis is. He is a very good driver but its way to early in his career to compare him to the greats. in all fairness his championship should of been Massa's.

    Hamilton is capable of great drives and is super fast at times but not as well rounded as Button or Alonso and is prone to mistakes.

    I think luqa1906 made some great points, actually I couldnt have put it better my self so please go and read his post


    nonsense.alonso has made more mistakes than lewis this season.and in the same car alonso could not beat lewis.
    and lewis now is starting to show his class.he is showing he is a better driver than the hell is jenson a more rounded driver?
    is he a better overtaker?no
    is he quicker?no
    and when it comes to looking after tyres,i think lewis proved he can do that just as good as jenson.
    when jenson was catching up to lewis,lewis upped his pace and did some super fast laps to get away from button.
    so tell me what jenson does better to make him a more rounded driver?

  • Comment number 39.

    i can see lewis bettering button in most if not all of the remaining races,unless lewis crashes in quali or in a race.
    lewis can look after his tyres alot better than ppl think,plus he is quicker than jenson.
    jenson has a chance in the rain tho.

  • Comment number 40.

    The split strategies and rapid degradation of both the option and the harder 'prime' tyre

    I would disagree there. The harder tyre did not performa badly at all. The fact is that having tyres 10 laps newer is always a big advantage, this is why the McLarens were so much faster on them. The Red Bulls paniced and changed far too early, meaning that they compromised their second half of the race ina knee jerk reaction. Trade the laps they were running with 25 lap old hards for some of those that they wasted by changing the first set earlier and they would have been much closer to Alonso.

  • Comment number 41.

    Given comments on the RedBull Turkey incident those rules seem to have been thrown out the window because it involved an English speaking driver vs a German Driver.

    You sir are an idiot. Nobody has said the voertake was wrong. Everyone has said that Vettels swerve was wrong. Webber (or anyoe) has every right to hold his position. It has nothing to do with nationality.

  • Comment number 42.

    Good as they are, let's not get over-excited. None of the current crop could be labelled "genius", except perhaps Alonso. If Alonso wins 2 or 3 more championships, which there's every chance he will, he'd be up there with Prost, Senna and Moss, if not quite Schumacher, Clark or Fangio. Hamilton is strictly 3rd tier Stewart / Piquet territory. He's just not quite the complete driver. I'm a Jenson fan but I'm under no illusions he's strictly Mansell. Fair?
    Not at all.

    Clark better than Senna and Prost? Oh dear.

    The current crop need to finish their careers before we can properly categorise them but Hamilton looks as good as Alonso to me and they should both be up there at least in that second tier provided they achieve what we expect of them.

  • Comment number 43.

    I totally agree with you,Lewis did take care of his tyres on the last 15 laps and proved to be faster then all!!!

  • Comment number 44.

    @38 & 39 - Why are you in such a hurry to write off Jenson? Why do you think that only one of the McLaren drivers can be great? Why can't you recognise the talents of both....

    They are different drivers, they have different styles and slightly different skill sets (or ways of applying them). Both have proven themselves to be masterful overtakers (although I do think Lewis does it with more flair), both have shown calm and composure in difficult races and gone on to score wins and impressive results, both have shown that they can manage tyres and fuel whilst maintaining the ability to fight to overtake/defend and put in blinding laps when required.

    Personally I rate Lewis a little higher than Jenson but I expect them to be battling for the rest of the season and both will have their moments of glory.


    @40 - I agree with you in that I think Red Bulls biggest problem at the moment is the pit wall, they really need someone like Ross Brawn to keep their eye on the big picture and make these strategy calls quickly and decisively. Time after time both Mark and Seb have been on the wrong tyres for lap after lap due to poor judgement calls.

  • Comment number 45.

    Ignoring all the mistakes and who did what, he said she said kind of palava, here is my take on the current driver line up in order of greatness:

    1. Lewis Hamilton - an out and out pure bred racer with the necessary killer instinct and just more natural talent that anyone else in the field. The fact that he put Alonso in the shade in his first year should be ample evidence of that. And his current maturity is just admirable in what is still a young-ish racer.

    2. Fernando Alonso - another driver with killer instinct, the moves he pulled on Massa and Lewis in recent pit lane incidents provide a recent example of this. A proven two time world champion who is light years ahead of his team mate and always out-performs his machinery - a la his second stint at Renault. Only fault is petulance when he dosnet get his own way, this needs no more explanation.

    3. Jenson Button - Not rated by many until last year, becomes world champion and starts showing signs of a racer that we never knew existed. A champions drive in Brazil follows by some great calls earlier this season are signs of a top racing driver at the top of his game. Dosent necessarily have Lewis' talent but is very confident and comfortable at McLaren. Proving to be a formidable racer.

    4. Mark Webber - Similar to Button except has only started to display the promise he brought to F1 all those years ago this season. You may argue he hasnt had the equipment until now but he has a maturity and calm unmatched in F1. His response to the Turkey saga could not have been a more positive reflection of his character and ability to deal with problems and pressure in a measured way. Currently at one with his RB6 and a drive in Monaco to rival any of the past few years.

    5. Sebastian Vettel - some may be up in arms sbout this but this young fella has some way to go. His reaction to the Turkey incident was childish to say the least and though he is held in high regard and rightly so, he is still young and has much to learn. One of the comments above compares his temparament to Schumi and I couldnt agree more. He has yet to win a WDC and strutts about like he has won a couple already. And although all drivers are arrogant to some degree, this guy is getting a bit ahead of himself.

    The current WDC table is almost an accurate reflection of the above but thats definitely how I see it anyway.

  • Comment number 46.

    I think we were robbed of an even better race by Trulli holding up Alonso on his inlap. Without that we'd they'd have come out around a second apart. I'm not sure Alonso would have won despite track position but it would have been very exciting to see them battle it out for 40 laps.

    Nevermind, fair play to Lewis in the end, pretty much a faultless drive.

  • Comment number 47.

    Personally I think of the current crop its only Lewis who has the POTENTIAL to add his name to the very top step of the sport with Schumi and Fangio (given their respective number of championships they have made the biggest marks on the sport). However we have a large number of hugely exciting drivers on the grid at the moment just begging for the right car(s) to make their own title bids.

  • Comment number 48.

    Poor little Lewis doesn't get enough praise? Oh, boo-hoo, cry me a river! Why don't you Hamilton sycophants stick a big gold star on his forehead then?

    I can't imagine why you guys feel a 25-year-old man with proven talent still needs mothering. I'm sure Lewis is big enough to handle his own PR, not to mention the fact he has McLaren's sizeable PR machine working for him.

    Stop expecting others to grovel to Hamilton like you do. Benson's fair in his writings.

  • Comment number 49.

    One further point: Hamilton got a reprimand in China for racing on the pit lane with Vettel. Why was he not penalised here when he raced against Alonso who had just been released before him from the pits?

    In theory Hamilton should have got at least a drive through penalty because he already had the reprimand from China, in my opinion..

    Why is it that Hamilton seems to be allowed evergreen warnings and reprimands without penalties thereby setting dangerous precedents?

    Also, question for you Andrew.. regarding qualifying, is it true my understanding that the actual circular regulation or memo stating that cars must return to the pits with enough fuel and therefore able to complete the in-lap (regardless of whether the clock was or not at '0') was not included in the FIA regulations and hence Hamilton was able to get away with the last lap which gave him the pole? Or should Hamilton have been penalised (not just with a $10,000 fine but with that very lap being disregarded)?

    Thus is it the case again that Hamilton is a) allowed to get away with certain (controversial) manouvres only for the next time to be banned (for example Hamilton's car being towed back to the track in Nurburing 2007) or b) simply that Hamilton is very lucky with the race marshalls and (ex-Mclaren) Mr Whiting?

  • Comment number 50.

    Firstly, although this track necessarily didn't suit Red Bull that well, and that, in theory, upcoming tracks will suit them better, I believe that, with Mclaren and Ferrari bringing major updates soon, this may be the point in the season where we will look back at the end, and say 'everything changed then - that was the turning point'.

    I think Bridgestone should be applauded because of the tire situation that occurred throughout the weekend. It was brilliant fun, and gave way to a number of possible strategies and options for everyone. It was a gamble the entire weekend, and it was brilliant. I don't know whether Bridgestone actually anticipated this (they brought those tires on purpose to produce edgier racing), or whether it was unexpected as they all got to Canada, but it was brilliant. They should do it more often, despite them bowing out at the end of the season and having a reputation to protect - as Brundle and others said at the weekend, it was reminiscent of the recent Michelin/bridgestone tire wars which pushed each manufacturer to make fast, on the edge tires all the time.

    Hamilton, Button and Alonso were awesome yesterday. Once and for all I think all the Button haters can shut up and embrace ANOTHER great british talent, and the same for the Hamilton haters. I don't care what anyone thinks about Alonso, but you have to admit he is brilliant too.

  • Comment number 51.

    @45 - Sorry I have to disagree with your comments regarding Button, right from his début at Williams he has shown himself to be a racer and a skilled overtaker, it was only Frank's embarrassment of drivers and a reluctance to have 2 rookies as drivers that led to his disastrous venture to Renault with Flavio's inability to put 2 decent cars on the track. When Jenson went to BAR to team up with Villeneuve Jac made lots of noise pre-season about how he was going to destroy Jenson, Jenson just kept his mouth shut and decided to do his talking on the track and promptly went onto destroy the former world champion.... who quit the sport before the end of the season. Jenson also dragged a mid field BAR into the big boys league and but for a couple of unfortunate reliability issues / accidents would have been challenging for the WDC.

    As for Vettel the kid needs to learn how to apply and take pressure, he also needs to figure out how to overtake without causing an accident. There is no denying his blistering speed with a clear track in front of him, but that only works when he is leading out of the 1st corner... if he can't make passes on the track then he will just become another alsoran like Ralf Schumacher and Trulli.... Yes he is still young, but how long will we have to wait for him to show us that he can actually RACE?

  • Comment number 52.

    Button has yet to match Hamilton in ordinary conditions all season, so how he can have risen to be among the greats this year is beyond me. He's merely proven that he's very good, and now that the two biggest talents have equal cars again he's being destroyed. Think about how the points would look without Jenson being lucky with the strategies in Australia and China, and Lewis being unlucky in Spain. Lewis' behaviour on and off the track still needs work at times, but that should come with maturity for both he and Vettel.

    Lewis beat Jenson by being faster for most of the weekend, and McLaren beat Red Bull by maximising what they had, yet again. Once the track started to rubber in (which all conventional logic said it would), McLaren's advantage of having the soft tyres out of the way became apparent.

    As for the Red Bull Turkey incident, virtually every neutral observer considered that Vettel moved over on Webber. When the team publically blames Webber, it's hard not to smell a rat. I do't put it down to Vettel and the team sharing the same nationality though. Who fits Red Bull's marketing image better - a bleached-blonde kid with an edgy attitude who nicknames his car things like 'Kate's Dirty Sister', or a modest thirtysomething who does charity bike rides?

  • Comment number 53.

    Oh and 'rounded' is the last word I would use to describe Alonso, in or out of the car. When Lewis starting matching his pace in 2007 he looked to blame everyone but himself. In the first 8 races this season he's wrecked the car in practice, made a jump start and caused a first-corner shunt. He's much faster than Massa, but there are serious flaws in his make-up.

  • Comment number 54.

    Hammy is the most exciting and talented driver since Senna. End of.

  • Comment number 55.

    I am spanish and i always thought that LH is the "best" driver so far.

    When i say the "best" i mean he is the most spectacular and the guy who create adicts to the game, more than anyone else.

    Alonso is constant and inteligent always thinking on the World Champion Title. Behind that perspective all must consider him a tough rival and prolly "better" than Lewis.

    I am not sure yet who will win the championship but until now, LH deserves it.

    And btw vettel should show more respect. He is a promising driver but he acts like a 7th champion world.
    Vettel, grow up, u r still nothing.

    And dont forget Webber, he has his chances for sure.

  • Comment number 56.

    #49, you speak rubbish. He gets penalised and warned as many times as anyone else, and sometimes gets it done so wrongly. Belgium 2008, that 25 second penalty for fairly letting Raikkonen past and then passing him again?

  • Comment number 57.

    @54. I agree.. errr.. surely you mean Bruno Senna, right?

  • Comment number 58.

    Ryan Reader, I am entitled to my opinion just like anyone else. I respect your opinion but I feel you are wrong. Hamilton gets away with a lot of controversy, to say the least, and outrightly banned manouvres and tactics.

    Perhaps you could enlight me as to why I speak rubbish when I ask why Hamilton racing incident in the pit lane wasn´t even investigated especially as he´s already carrying a 'yellow card' from China..

  • Comment number 59.

    I don't see any bias in the BBC coverage. We know Jenson is good on his tyres, and we know Lewis is a born out racer. I thought both were given decent coverage, along with the other 22 drivers on the grid.

    What you have to remember is the ITV coverage. The build up and sometimes comentary focused solely on Jenson Button. It was all about him, Button this, and Button that. At the time I backed DC to the hilt, yet it always felt he was forgotten. When Lewis came in (and I am a fan, I followed him through his career in the lower formula racing), it was funny how it went from Button to Lewis. Even as a fan, it was irritating!

    BBC coverage is nothing like that, so I guess those who complain of bias never saw Steve Rider and Mark Blundell swooning every time Button (or Hamilton) was mentioned...

    This race was fantastic. A dry race full of excitement, controversy and overtaking. Schumacher had a shocker, Red Bull looked good but couldn't deliver, and McLaren didn't run away with it like everyone thought they would. Who said F1 is boring?

    One thing that comes to mind though regarding development. Mclaren have the F-Duct tuned to perfection, while Red Bull have the low exaust system sewn up. So for these teams, they are only working on one main area (McLaren on the exhausts and Red Bull on the F-Duct) alongside other aerodynamic changes. Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault et al are working on both these systems. So in terms of development, it is a race I see Red Bull and McLaren winning.

    #2, your driver line-ups would be good, but as the top four teams have already confirmed their drivers for 2011 (all staying the same, unless Schumacher calls it a day), then this year's silly season is going to be a dull one.

  • Comment number 60.

    This Canadian GP will take its place in history, easily the best race this season, and one of the better races of the last ten years.

    This season is beautifully poised at the moment, although there is the danger that after the next set of updates one team, probably McLaren but possibly RB, will end up a class above the rest of the field and run away with it. That would be a crying shame, though.

    I would suggest that if McLaren do end up out on their own, Lewis will simply be too fast for Jenson. But if things carry on as they are at the moment, it's too close to call. Hamilton's blistering pace and genius overtakes against Button's tactical nous and late charges.

    However, while intra-team battles at RB and McLaren hot up, the one at Ferrari has fizzled out, and the one at Mercedes never even got going. Massa and Schumacher were both appalling in this race. Surely Mercedes and Schumacher will now be looking for a face-saving way of ending this calamitous "come-back"? Massa may survive, though, as Ferrari are never comfortable with two good drivers- a situation that will suit Fernando down to the ground.

  • Comment number 61.

    Reregina, true, the pitlane one should have been investigated, and probably penalised, but the rest of the time he gets penalised as much as anyone. Schumacher didn't get penalised for any of the quite bold and sometimes downright naughty moves he pulled yesterday, but did in Monaco. Over a season, it all equals out, to be honest. Sorry for saying your opinion was rubbish, shouldn't have said that.

  • Comment number 62.

    "32. At 08:41am on 14 Jun 2010, ih8mnuts wrote:

    the highlight of the race was the podium celebrations. i just loved the way button and alonso kept as far away from hamilton as possible. i think hamilton is not the sharpest spoon in the drawer, but does he stink as well?"

    The HIGHLIGHT? Of THIS race? I think you must have nodded off, mate.

  • Comment number 63.

    Also, Reregina, other moves which didn't get penalised included Kubica's very dangerous undertaking dive into the pit lane, so really, the stewards appeared to be pretty leniant with on track action this weekend. So everyone gets penalised sometimes, then gets away with things sometimes. It's just how it happens. I can't say that Lewis seems to be a regular 'get away with things' guy anymore than anyone else is.

  • Comment number 64.

    @TheLollyPopMan #48

    If you've nothing more intelligent to post, I suggest you have another Lollypop to keep you quiet & well behaved for the rest of the day!

    Glad to see so many posters agreeing that there's an inherent problem within the Mclaren Pit Crew when it comes to their pit stop speeds for Lewis! It has cost him race position on more than one occassion! Good thing he has the class to fight back position once he's out on track again!

    Red Bull made a bad call to leave Webber out for so long...he's another class driver, but RB did him a major disservice in their gamble to keep him out on primes when it was painfully obvious they were deteriorating - FAST! I know its so easy to speak in hindsight however, the RB Pit wall should have been both experienced & intelligent enough to call Webber in for a change to slicks the MOMENT they noticed his 12 second lead advantage over Lewis starting to wane!! Im sure, he would have been in contention for at least a 3rd place Podium spot had RB made the right pit call!

    Alonso, fantastic race although can't help but notice the negative body language between him and Lewis? Why is this still happening??

    Jenson again drove well and outshone most of his rivals. He's a great racer but, he's outclassed in every sense by Hamilton. He even admitted in post race interview "I couldnt touch Hamilton on Saturday" so what more do you Hamilton nay sayers need to convince you of Lewis' AAA Championship credibility? Hmm??

    The natural order of the WD Champion points is gradually being restored, no matter what initial turmoil existed - the Cream Always Rises to the TOP!

  • Comment number 65.

    The 2 English guys were absolutely AWESOME.
    However you lot who don't praise but criticise will always be LOSERS. Don't knock the Brilliant Brits the have come up trumps and I believe they will be there at the end of the season and 2 hell with Sch and Ferrari.
    Come on you Brits sock it to 'em.

  • Comment number 66.

    This was a rather bizarre race: extremely exciting, but highly unpredictable. Nico Rosberg's effort to again outqualify and completely outrace Michael Schumaker seems to have been ignored by just about everyone. Once again, on a weekend where the Mercedes was not competative, Rosberg brough home a useful haul of points and is well over double MS's total for the season: I'm not sure how many people would have predicted that before the first race.

    The last two races have shown how the new points system really does shake up the Championship. With two wins Lewis Hamilton has gone from an also-ran to being the leader. Right now, anyone down to 8th must fancy their chances of the Championship if luck falls their way for two or three races.

    I'm finding the race in McLaren to be fascinating. Jenson Button is not quite as quick as Lewis Hamilton, but is more solid. Lewis Hamilton is more likely to manage a breath-taking overtaking manoeuvre, but Jenson Button is more likely to get the car home for 3rd, 4th, 5th place points even when it is off the pace. Fernando Alonso, unbelievably, twice allowed himself to be mugged by McLaren in Montreal: I simply cannot see that happening again.

    Right now, if I had to pick a likely winner, I would say Jenson Button, because getting a good points finish every race may well turn out to be more important than alternating wins and DNFs. However, as has been pointed-out, this season we have a Championship where probably any of the top eight would be a worthy winner in the end.

  • Comment number 67.

    Ryan Reader I suppose that´s why even the drivers do not make a big fuss out of it - because as Fernando said post-race, over the season period these incidents get compensated.. However, I still don´t agree with the pit lane incidet not being penalised, not even investigated. A drive through penalty would have most likely changed the race result and possibly give Alonso a win or at least 2nd place.

    Schumi´s incident with Massa in Canada would have not affected the end result and his move on Fernando in Monaco was illegal (albeit arguably no need for penalty)..

  • Comment number 68.

    I agree with Bamz_ftw about the lack of praise for Hamilton. I am an admirer of JB but I think that, as in the main article, the media make far too much of his "silky style" and his "maturity". He may be a "wily old fox", and his tactics may pay off in the coming races, but wouldn't we rather have seen him harrying Alonso a lot more instead of hanging back waiting to pick up the points when the guys doing the real racing ran out of tyre grip? Good tactics maybe, but not the stuff to enhance the spectacle for the fans.
    Andrew, I found your broadsword/rapier comparison a bit odd, surely if anyone could be described as a rapier it would be Hamilton, probing, parrying, pressuring his opponent then seizing the opportunity to strike. If we were to apply the metaphor to JB I think a stilletto might be more appropriate.
    As for JB preserving his tyres more than LH; MacLaren engineers have stated on air that, given similar racing conditions, there is no significant difference in tyre wear between the two. Despite this, and other evidence on track, the media seem unable to grasp that the main difference is that LH is usually the guy wearing his tyres harrying the opposition while JB is playing a waiting game. On Sunday, after the usual psuedo-excited chatter from Jonathan L about the ' much less wear' on JB's tyre's, it was instructive to see Jenson start his challenge only to have Hamilton demonstrate conclusively that it was a forlorn hope by immediately pulling off two storming laps, to go 3 seconds ahead.
    I like Jenson and admire his smooth driving style, just let's not over-hype it's advantages.
    Jenson is a brilliant driver, given an obedient car. Lewis is a brilliant driver who can make even a mediocre car perform above itself.

    Lewis has been immersed in the MacLaren protocol of trusting the team to decide tactics (often to his disadvantage), Jenson, through wider experience, is more independent, more likely to make his own decisions in these matters. It may be this that proves his greatest advantage rather than any difference in driving style.

  • Comment number 69.

    this race oonce more confirmed to me that button is as good as hamilton, he had a bit more to do and more to pass to get into second than hamilton had to do to win.

  • Comment number 70.

    Great race - good to see both McLaren drivers and Alonso up there with the Red Bull guys. I really think that the McLaren team up has had a positive effect on both drivers. Both have improved as a result of the competition and both drivers seemed to have picked up on each others' styles with Button starting to become more aggressive which is great to see and Hamilton adding more control to his driving with a slight reduction of aggression. Nice to see a positive Alonso in the mix as well. Its a pity Schumacher is struggling with the machine but its probably still early days in his comeback.

  • Comment number 71.

    @64 - I think Alonso's problem with Lewis is that Alonso just doesn't like to be beaten... and no-one has beaten him quite as badly as Lewis did in his rookie season at McLaren. Alonso was going to his dream team on a very lucrative deal and was looking to win a few titles, then his rookie team mate starts the season by keeping him very honest and ends the season by beating him.

    Add into this the fact that Lewis is improving as a driver race on race and I would imagine that Alonso is feeling that his chance to shine in the sun post Schumi (when he was heir apparent) has vanished and now he is 'stuck' in a team that seems unable to match McLaren development pace* and feeling a bit left out.

    * Lets not forget that Ferrari abandoned last years car to get a head start on this years, whilst McLaren went hell for leather to turn last years dog into a race winner, and this season Ferrari had the edge at the start of the season but McLaren are again the team that are challenging for race wins.

    I just suspect Alonso might be ruing his lost opportunity............

  • Comment number 72.

    Reply to Reregina:

    First off the pit lane incident, Lewis and Alonso were released at the same time. Lewis has a large amount of wheel spin (he said that in the interview) this allowed Alonso to come along side, Alonso being such a great racer gave Lewis the room, Unlike Vettel! Hence no reprimand for ether driver!!

    Running out of Fuel isn’t really covered that well in the rules, I’m sure you may see some of the other teams trying the same thing unless they up date the rules..
    So why not make all the cars run the same weight of fuel for the qualifying??
    And say that the winner of the race runs out of fuel after they finish the race, should they be penalised for not returning to the pits??

  • Comment number 73.

    Reregina - I think there were far worse incidents than the pit lane incident which was minor and Alonso had no problem with it at all. Both Kubica in his return to the pits and Schumachers' blocking manouevres were shocking. I think your making something out of nothing. That's not what racing should be about.

  • Comment number 74.

    @supremeboxingskills. I don't normally post against other contributors but..."in all fairness his championship should of been Massa's."?? Once one reads that illogical nonsense then any respect for the rest of the post disappears.
    Ask yourself, if Massa had won under the same circumstances as Hamilton would you be posting to say that Massa did not deserve to win? I suspect not since it appears your opinions are driven more by personal likes and dislikes than any rational assessment of facts.

  • Comment number 75.

    Cordas, you mean that all the other drivers (bar Alonso) like to be beaten by their team mates? What a revelation! Now I understand why everyone (including Hamilton) looks ever so happy when beaten by the team-mate and why there are never crashes among them.. interesting.

    Seriously, I believe you should revisit the 2007 season starting from Andrew Benson´s fabulous blog a few weeks ago as to what exactly went on when Lewis and Fernando shared seats at Mclaren - and in particular Monaco 2007. As Alonso has explained time and time again, he did (and still do) not have a problem with Hamilton but with Ron Dennis..

  • Comment number 76.

    They agree United Dreamer, how many times did schumacher cause problems 3 times ??

  • Comment number 77.

    @67 - Reregina - Go and watch the footage... the lollipops go up within tiny fractions of a second of each other... Lewis had pit lane position but got a poor exit from his box... Nothing that contravened the rules happened!!!! So why should he be punnished?

    Now I agree with you that racing in the pit lane is fraught with dangers and that it is an issue that needs adressing before there is a serious accident with someone hurt or even killed, however saying and doing are 2 different things. What the solution is I don't know... Either you have pitstops that allow drivers to change leap frog others and have the risk of racing in the pit lane, or you have a rule that states cars must leave the pits in the same order they entered...

  • Comment number 78.

    The Hamilton-Alonso pit lane "incident" was only such because people wanted to make it an incident to devalue the win. Neither driver cut-up the other. Neither touched the other. Hamilton eased-off to avoid a potential collision. I've seen far worse. Total non-event. Even Spanish TV had no criticism and they are no exactly famed for being pro-Hamilton.

  • Comment number 79.

    @ supremeboxingskills
    Abject apologies. I am am ass. I think I got it all wrong and you were quoting another post!

  • Comment number 80.

    @Cordas #71

    Good points! In fact, the expression on Alonso's face throughout post-race interview seemed to sum up every last word in your post to a T! :)

    Sore loser I guess....better he channel all that negative enviable energy into a more energising force that may enhance his driving performance. Notice how Lewis never seems to allow defeat to discourage him?!! Always an energised smile on his face - even in defeat!! And is NEVER quick to attribute blame for his own failings! Just learns from them and drives on into the sunset!! Thats the mark of a TRUE CHAMPION! ;)

  • Comment number 81.

    Thanks for all your explanations about the pit-lane racing incident.. I understand there might be some different perspectives to it but I feel Hamilton is far too aggresive in my opinion (all drivers are by nature) and he often gets involved in all these controversial incidents.

    I don´t agree when people use the 'Alonso was beaten by a rookie' cliche. I don´t think is true and as a massive Alonso fan (I feel that hasn´t gone unnoticed.. ;-)) I wish F1 fans reviewed this period with some neutrality (myself included). Dennis managed Mclaren drivers in 2007 very poorly indeed. Since Monaco the team one-sided with Hamilton and Alonso had to fight the championship without almost no support, I repeat, almost no support from inside. I pick up the words of the very Dennis on open microphone in Brazil 2007 when Kimi won the championship: "Basically, we weren´t racing Kimi, we were racing Fernando". Despite this Fernando still managed to finish one point behind Kimi.

  • Comment number 82.

    @75 - I don't think any driver likes to be beaten by any others... my comments where jsut talking about 2 specific drivers, but I think the events at McLaren in 2007 and the rivalry that got sparked off between the pair is a deeply personal one, certainly for Alonso who tends to wear his heart on his sleeve Lewis seems to be a bit more quiet in that regard (in 2007 he did all his actual talking on the track (if you ignore the press comments that no one seemed able to actually be able to attribute to Lewis).

    I disagree with a fair bit of the press and conspiracy speculations about what actually happened at McLaren in 2007, I do think the drivers started off on at least friendly terms but I think that Latino temper (whining like a child and threats against his team) of Alonso's did his reputation in the sport, with various teams and with many fans a lot of damage and I feel that Alonso holds that grudge against Lewis.

  • Comment number 83.

    Cordas, I am a dark haired Latina.. perhaps I will start whine like a child and use theats because of your comments.. watch out

  • Comment number 84.

    Reregina so you think hamilton should be penalised for the pit lane thing, So that should mean Alsono should also be penalised for racing down the inlet to the pit lane in china, if it hadn’t been this team mate I think he would of got a drive through !!

  • Comment number 85.

    #67 Reregina
    Being a 'massive fan' of Alonso's is fine and I too am a great admirer of his talents but you might concede that your views are, inevitably, coloured by this. I do think that it's very clear that both McClaren and LH have had their fair share of reprimands / punishments over the last 3 years, perhaps rightly? This however rather destroys your conspiracy theories and makes your complaints seem rather biased, in my opinion.

  • Comment number 86.

    Reregina - the racing quote by Dennis was clearly relating to the fact that if Alonso takes position off Hamilton then the WDC was still open leaving the door open for Raikkonen. With Alonso being the easier target it was clear beating him should have been the objective reducing the chance of car or driver failure and maximising the chance of a WDC. Had Alonso won the door would have still been open for Raikkonen in the final race so Hamilton was in prime position for the WDC and was backed by Dennis as the championship could be wrapped up there and then. In the circumstance Hamilton stretching for the race win probably did lead to the mistake that ultimately cost him the championship. That was my reading of that statement anyway.

    Tbh I think both Alonso and Hamilton have moved on from that and there is only an issue when the press decide to make it one. I think Alonso was beaten by a rookie and but for two calamitous last races there would have been clear daylight between the two. But I don't really see it as Alonso failing so much as a marker of the immense abilities of Hamilton. Alonso probably reflects on over complacency on his part and under-rating the abilities and desire of an aggressive young driver fighting to make his mark desperate to avoid launching his career as an also-ran.

    Hot latin tempers don't come into it I don't think lol.

  • Comment number 87.

    @81 - Regina - Please can you explain to me why you think McLaren and Ron Dennis decided to back a rookie driver over a double world champion that they had paid to the nose to bring into the team, and had also brought with him a massive sponsor in the name of Santander? I just can't make that circle square, no matter how hard I try to wrap my head around it...

    Following on from that it seems to me that most of Alonso's problems in the later part of the 07 season where all his own creating.... If I had been in Ron's shoes when Alonso had threatened to take damning evidence to the FIA over the spygate affair I would have kicked him out of the team and called the police (but thats me), add in his actions in the pit lane when he blocked the box denying Lewis the chance to get his final run in qualifying and.....

    Nevermind the fact that Alonso has a habit of spitting his dummy out and attacking his team when things don't go his/there way... he did it numerous times at Renault (mind you that probably helped his case with Flavio) again at McLaren, then still more back at Renault and he has already said more than a few harsh things about Ferrari.... I couldn't believe it when he spoke to Martin on the grid walk and was talking about competing for a podium, he never mentioned going for the win which to me just sounded like defeatist talk in F1 terms.

  • Comment number 88.

    Of course, the difference is that I admit that I am a big fan of Alonso and therefore that my opinion is always coloured, so I start my reasoning and my argument from that premise. However, many people carry the flag of impartiality but truly they are not. Neutrality and impartiality are ideals, especially when referring to sports, and very rarely achieved. Andrew in his blog and the BBC team in general do, in my opinion, tend to do a pretty good job here.

  • Comment number 89.

    That was probably the best race I've ever seen and more importantly it was in the dry and no rain to shake the order in quali.

  • Comment number 90.

    Reregina - what you say is true with regard to impartiality, speaking from the perspective of a Hamilton fan. And the people I trust least is those saying they are being objective! Good to see someone admitting to their subjectivity;)

  • Comment number 91.

    @ Reregina, and I don't believe in whining so might just put you over my knee for a spanking ;-)

    All is fair in love, war and F1. I feel that Alonso is a great talent on the track and a fantastic racer, but I feel his biggest weakness as a driver is his temper and his actions off track. I do feel very strongly that he did his career/image irreperable damage with his behaviour at McLaren, and I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't still bear a grudge about it.

    I will also point to DC's comments about Mika and their accidents, that to be a top driver you have to live in this bullet proof world of never having made a mistake.... I think Alonso might be regretting the fact that he isn't driving for McLaren and in his world that will be Lewis' fault.

  • Comment number 92.

    Great drive by Hamilton, again. Great race from start too finish, what a season so far!

    Nice to see the stewards not jump on Hamilton's back regarding the pit lane release, good to see them just get on with racing! The introduction of the former drivers into the stewards office seems to be inspired and the questionable calls made last season seem to be a thing of the past.

    Good to see Alonso challenging again, not my favorite personality in F1 but F1 need drivers of his caliber and a Ferrari pushing at the front! He was unfortunate with back markers and got caught napping by an ever aware Button.

    Vettel seemed particularly miffed especially regarding his radio conversation where he lost his cool when asked to turn his engine down and overtake at the same time?! Can't really blame him i guess!!

    Also how has MSC got away with his conduct during the race? If Hamilton had made half the moves he pulled he'd of been hammered! He embarrassed himself, a poor drive, littered with cynical and dangerous moves, Kubica put on the grass, Massa's front wing taken off, and both the Force indias!!! I dont like the way everyone seems to just wash over it with the 'well it's just the wiley old Schummey doing what he always did' approach. Will someone dare to stand up and speak out against this so called untouchable legend, he was great but he was flawed!! Now he isn't great, so we're left with the flaws!

  • Comment number 93.

    #24 wrote... "Hamilton is capable of great drives and is super fast at times but not as well rounded as Button or Alonso and is prone to mistakes."

    Aren't all drivers prone to mistakes?

    Remember Alonso crashing into a wall in Monaco a few weeks back?

    Hamilton fast "at times?!"

    Must have been pretty quick all season in 2008 to win the title. Oh, he's not been much of a slouch so far this season either!


  • Comment number 94.

    I was extremely dissapointed last year to see Canada taken off the calendar because 07' and 08' were great races. I'm so glad it's back! it always delivers an exciting race and this year produced another classic.

    It was great to see lots of overtaking, incidents and pitstops. I enjoyed watching Alonso battle with Hamilton, this was one of the fights the season promised but hadn't produced often enough.

    I've seen several F1 seasons, great they may have been but this season is cleary the best!
    I think there is a lot more this season has to offer, some great circuits to come and the new Korean track will be intresting.

    I've taken the Silverstone weekend off work, with the World Cup Final to look forward to as well. I will keep my fingers crossed for England and for the Mclaren team, it could be a special weekend!

    I have to thank BBC for doing a great job this weekend, 2 highly entertaining programs.

  • Comment number 95.

    @92 Schumi got away with it because he was judged not to have broken any of the regulations... Quite simple really.

    I think the incident with Kubica was borderline at worst, they where fighting for position and Schumi was not required to give way so why should he? I agree that he was stupid to fight so hard because he ultimately cost himself far more than he could have hoped to gain.... but such is motor racing.

    With Massa I have no idea, we didn't see where he braked coming into that corner on the previous lap so I would want to see the data before I said he brake tested Massa. At the time he came across to take the corner Massa was still behind him so I think its questionable to say he was blocking.

    To be honest I can't remember a Force India incident, at the time I felt they had a hard but fair battle.

    As for this being his death knell.... gibberish... its one driver having a bad day? Was Webber's career over after his mistakes in Oz? Was Vettel's over after his mistakes in Turkey? What about Alonso he has made any number of dodgy decisions and mistakes this season and is his career over? What about Kubica's who's 'overtake' on Sutil into the pit lane was one of the most unnecessary and dangerous things I have seen in 20-30 years of watching F1. Schumi has had bad days on track before (at least this time he didn't end up in the wall of champions), he has caused accidents before as has pretty much every driver on the grid! How about people try and compare him to other drivers on the track not some mythical ideal driver that he 'should be'.

  • Comment number 96.

    @ 55. At 10:13am on 14 Jun 2010, Spain71 wrote:

    I am spanish and i always thought that LH is the "best" driver so far.

    When i say the "best" i mean he is the most spectacular and the guy who create adicts to the game, more than anyone else.

    Alonso is constant and inteligent always thinking on the World Champion Title. Behind that perspective all must consider him a tough rival and prolly "better" than Lewis.

    I am not sure yet who will win the championship but until now, LH deserves it.

    And btw vettel should show more respect. He is a promising driver but he acts like a 7th champion world.
    Vettel, grow up, u r still nothing.

    And dont forget Webber, he has his chances for sure


    Well said mate !

    Lewis Hamilton is the worthy champion this year, how come all of a sudden 2nd placed Jenson Button became the latest ' Alain prost' haha, he hasnt proved anything in this race, other than constantly over a half a second per lap slower than Lewis hamilton who destroyed him in straight fight, Bunsen been very lucky with those 2 wins, now the chickens will come to roost him for sure.

    I am not an Alonso fan, however total respect to Him that he out drove his car yesterday by a mile and I was kicking myself when Alonso got sleeping when he allowed Jenson to over take him, it could have been an Alonso victory but He or his team seems make more mistakes thesedays + massa is not even there in the mix trying to help him out , its a shame really.. i wish Alonso to win good few races this season, the guy deserve it.

    as you said Vettel must learn to drive first of all, he is a nobody yet and seems very big headed about his talents, he is yet to prove.

    Andrew Benson to stop portraying tyrehugger Bunsen button as alain prost and all that nonsense, he is no where near with Lewis hamilton, Alain prost himself would be kicking his foot today reading that, and please stop yourself becoming a laughingstock.

  • Comment number 97.

    @96 How do you figure that Jenson was .5 of a second a lap slower than Lewis for the race... When the figures show that once Jenson passed Alonso he never dropped more than a couple of seconds off the back of Lewis....

    I don't know if you ever saw Prost perform, but Button does have a fair amount in common with Prost. They are both have/had the ability to put in blindingly fast laps when required, like Prost Button is very good at using his car/tyres/fuel intelligently and seems to have a similar understanding of races that allows him to drive them smartly to get good results (hence Prost's nickname the Professor).

    If you really believe Jenson's 2 wins were down to pure luck then I question your understanding of the sport... Jenson took calculated gambles using his intelligence, knowledge and skill to make them work.... (Prost won many such races... which is again why he earned his nickname as the Professor.)

  • Comment number 98.

    I'm loving it this season. Another great race.

    Its always good in F1 when the backroom boffins have got their predictions wrong (in this case it was tyre wear) and whilst they blubb over their lap tops that the race hasn't gone totally as predicted in the computer simulations, all us F1 fans (and the Drivers themselves) are left with an afternoon of fantastic unpredictable racing.

    There was a point where it was anyone's race as the tyres kept dropping to bits and the lack of refueling (GOOD MOVE BY THE FIA!!!!) means that if someone wants the position in front, they've got to do it on the track. Fair enough, some of the drivers are settling for positions at present, but come the last few races of the season when there are 4 or 5 drivers in with a shout of the WDC, they'll know that for once, they're going to have to use race craft to pass the person in front, as opposed to leaving it to the pit crew. No Refuelling = Exciting racing and varied results if this season is anything to go by (yes.. i know rain has helped too). If we'd have had refueling, all Drivers would have just sat around waiting for pit stops. This way, they've got to make it happen if they want to get anywhere.

    I'd love it if Herman Tilke also starting scratching his head whilst watching the telly and took a leaf out of Canada's book in terms of circuits design. Walls that punish mistakes, Flowing corners and chicanes, Tree's (yes Herman..someones planted trees so the place looks nice).. i could go on. I know the guy is constrained in what he can design to an extent, but what a breath of fresh air this track was.

    One word on Schuey and Kubica. To me, Schuey couldn't make the chicane as Kubica had his front wheel level with Schuey's rear wheel so Schuey would have taken them both out if he hadn't driven across the grass. Why did Kubica drive across the grass too if he'd positioned his car so they were both able to make the corner? The fact is, neither of them could have made that corner and both had positioned their cars so they'd end up taking they other out if they'd have tried to make the corner. 50/50 racing incident between both drivers

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    96 MrTumblehere - Lewis was half a second a lap faster than Button. Huh. I don't think so. That was a 70 lap race. It would mean that Lewis would have won about 35 seconds ahead of Jenson. The truth was that he won by 2 seconds ahead of Jenson. And he started from pole. And he was not shunted sideways at the start of the race. In race trim, they both looked pretty good to me.

    We know you are a fan of Hamilton rather than F1, but please keep a sense of balance in your admiration. Also, it was not just Jenson who got passed Alonso due to a backmarker. It was Hamilton as well. They both needed back markers to nail him.

    Fittipaldi's stewardship was great. He was right not to punish Schumacher or the pit lane racing. It was exciting, but not illegal. Kubica's move was just crazy.

    Talking point - Surely a rule that needs someone to park their car on track so that the stewards can take some fuel samples is a bad law. Do people think that a fast lap also includes getting the car back to the pits with a certain amount of fuel in the tanks?

    As we have known for sometime, Vettel and Massa, as fast as they are, are not very good at racing compared to Kubica, Button, Hamilton and Alonso. Vettel's gloss is coming off, even to the teams. They want to see him grab the tournament this year, but he has been unable to do it as he needs too much assistance from others.


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