Posts Tagged ‘Lewis Hamilton’

Kimi Raikkonen in Ferrari F60 at Bahrain

The four day tests at Jerez and Bahrain concluded on Friday, with the Bahrain running resumed after a two day sandstorm, and all teams starting to set some competitive lap times. In Spain, Sebastian Bourdais set a 1:17.472 in his 2008 car, whilst Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso battled it out for the fastest time in an ’09 car.

It was McLaren and Hamilton that came out on top, again by a small margin, but not quite as small as the previous day. His 1:19.632 was two tenths of a second faster than the R29’s best time. Alonso did a lot of work in the Renault and said afterwards: “Overall, we have to be very happy as we managed to do lots of laps and the car responded well to the set-up changes we made, so I think we’ve found some good solutions. Every day the driveability of the car is improving and although we still have a lot of work to do before the start of the season, we are definitely moving in the right direction.” Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber were having their own battle for third place. Rosberg put his Williams ahead by two tenths after Webber’s RB5 stopped out on track and brought out the red flags. Kazuki Nakajima was also out for Williams but, despite completing 34 laps, he failed to set a time, by driving through the pit lane on each attempt.

Meanwhile, Ferrari, BMW and Toyota were back in action at Bahrain, after being forced to sit out for two long days. Kimi Raikkonen posted a 1:33.325 in the F60. Of the days running, he said: “I immediately had a good feeling although it’s still too early to say where we are compared to our competitors. The car is improving and there are no especially critical areas. We used the KERS also today and I’m happy with how it works, apart from some minor childhood disease.” Jarno Trulli was out for Toyota and just a tenth down on Kimi’s time, whilst BMW’s Christian Klien was a further couple of tenths behind. Another four day test at Bahrain kicks off this Monday.


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Fernando Alonso in Renault R29 at Jerez

The four day test at Jerez continued into Thursday, with newly re-signed Sebastien Bourdais taking over the running of Toro Rosso’s 2008 car and, of course, setting the fastest time.

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton was back in the cockpit and only just managed to keep the McLaren MP4-24 ahead of the other ’09 cars by the very smallest of margins. Sebastian Vettel was back for Red Bull and just 0.001 seconds away from Hamilton’s best time. “Today’s test gave me the first opportunity to drive MP4-24 in warm, dry conditions – and I’m very encouraged by what I felt. The car feels strong, very similar to last year’s car, in fact. It doesn’t take long to get used to the new buttons in the cockpit [KERS and front wing flap adjustments] but the real test for everyone now is to understand the slick tyres ahead of the first race in Melbourne next month,” said the Briton. Kazuki Nakajima was also out for Williams and over half a second faster than than the Renualt R29 which continued at the back of the time sheets, this time in the hands of Fernando Alonso.

Meanwhile in Bahrain, testing was completely stopped as the sandstorm continued at the track. All three drivers (Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica and Timo Glock) could only complete 1 installation lap each, before packing away and hoping for the weather to clear on Friday.

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McLaren MP4-24 at Launch in Woking

McLaren became the third team to reveal their 2009 car on Friday. The MP4-24, which Lewis Hamilton will use to defend his drivers championship, was launched in a small press gathering at the teams headquarters in Woking, a contrast to McLaren’s large scale launch events at Valencia in 2007 and Stuttgart in 2008.

Having clinched the drivers championship in a nail-biting finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix last year, McLaren are confident their 2009 campaign will produce similar success, and hope to achieve their first constructors championship title since 1998. Speaking at the launch, Hamilton said: “The arrival of a new car is always an emotional moment for any racing driver, and the unveiling of MP4-24 is even more special for me, not only because the car looks absolutely stunning but also because it carries the number one. I believe this year’s World Championship is open, given the new rule changes and that’s a great prospect for every Formula 1 fan.” McLaren boss, Ron Dennis, spoke of the challenges faced with the new regulations, saying: “Extensive rule changes require extensive amount of work. These are the biggest rules changes we have seen in 15 years. That requires the technologists in our organisation, they are not just engineers but scientist with high qualifications, to go back to a plain piece of paper. As ever, we exist to win and our target remains the successful acquisition of both this year’s Drivers’ and Constructors’ world titles.”

The launch was somewhat overshadowed however, by the news that Dennis would step down from his team principal role before the season began. For many though, McLaren remain the favourites to lift the 2009 trophy at the end of the season. The team will begin their testing schedule of the new car on Monday at Portimao in Portugal.

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Lewis Hamilton has won the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship in remarkable circumstances, after passing Timo Glock at the final corner of the final lap to secure fifth place, and finish just one point ahead of Felipe Massa in the standings.

Hamilton becomes the youngest Formula 1 champion in the sports history, beating Fernando Alonso’s record of 24 years and 59 days, when he won the 2005 championship. He also becomes the first British driver to achieve the title in 12 years, joining the illustrious list that already includes Mike Hawthorn, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill. He also ends McLaren’s drought of drivers champions, being the first person to lift the trophy since Mika Häkkinen in 1998 and 1999. His championship win will always be special though, as never has an F1 driver clinched a title in such dramatic style as he did on Sunday.

A full race report of the incredible Brazilian Grand Prix can be found here.

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Lewis Hamilton has taken a dominant win at the Shanghai International Circuit. It’s his fifth win of the season for McLaren, but not enough to take the championship as his rival, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, finished in second place. Robert Kubica secured sixth place, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in the running for the title in Brazil.

The race started with little drama as Hamilton led from the start, with Kimi Raikkonen unable to take him at the first corner. Heikki Kovalainen took Fernando Alonso for fourth, only to lose the place again down the back straight. Jarno Trulli and Sebastian Bourdais made contact at the first corner and fell to the back of the grid. Trulli eventually retired, as did Adrian Sutil who had gearbox problems. Hamilton pulled away at the front, and despite his speed, Raikkonen was unable to catch him. The Finn gave up second to Massa, so he could take two cruical extra points. Heikki Kovalainen also retired after a puncture ruined his race.

Hamilton’s win puts him seven points ahead going into the championship showdown at Interlagos. Ferrari’s second and third places increased their lead in the constructors battle to 11 points.

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Lewis Hamilton continued his pace from the morning into Free Practice Two ahead of Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, setting the fastest lap, a 1:35.750, on his first attempt. He was 0.2 seconds faster than his former teammate and Japanese Grand Prix winner, Fernando Alonso, who finished second for Renault.

Nelson Piquet Jr rounded up an excellent session for Renault, setting the third fastest time of the afternoon. Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber put further distance between the main championship rivals, with Felipe Massa in sixth and Robert Kubica way down the order in twelfth. Kimi Raikkonen couldn’t improve on eighth place, behind the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso of Sebstien Bourdais. Nick Heidfeld, Nico Rosberg and Timo Glock all sat in the middle with roughly the same time, and Heikki Kovalainen only managed to put his McLaren in thirteenth, ahead of David Coulthard, Sebastian Vettel, Kazuki Nakajima, Giancarlo Fisichella, Adrian Sutil, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

Lewis Hamilton has dominated Friday action, but can his pace continue into Saturday?

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Lewis Hamilton has started his crucial Chinese Grand Prix weekend by setting the fastest time on Friday’s first practice session. His McLaren lapped a 1:35.630, beating his main title rival, Felipe Massa, to first by three tenths of a second.

Ferrari and McLaren laid down their authority in Free Practice One, with Kimi Raikkonen third for the Italian team and Heikki Kovalainen taking up fourth. Robert Kubica, also in the hunt for the title, and Fernando Alonso, who could play a decisive role in the last two races, finished in fifth and sixth. Nick Heidfeld finished with Sebastien Bourdais behind and beating his teammate, Sebsatian Vettel, who completed the session in tenth. Nelson Piquet Jr sat in ninth after making an eerily similar diversion as Hamilton last year, and running into the gravel at the pit lane entrance. Jenson Button has always been strong at Shanghai, and placed his Honda in twelfth. After the disappointing result at his home race last week, Kazkuki Nakajima starts his weekend in thirteenth. The Red Bull’s sat in eleventh and fourteenth ahead of Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock, Rubens Barrichello, Jarno Trulli, Adrain Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella.

McLaren and Ferrari dominated FP1, but can the best-of-the-rest teams brake through during the second practice session?

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