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Another perect weekend for Lewis. Pole and the Win. He drove a faultless race, resisting pressure from Alonso. He has also won the hearts of American motorsport fans too. Go Lewis! ======================================================
Another chapter in the LH story. A superb win in a Canadian GP of twists and turns. Lewis kept his head when all around others, including Alonso, lost thiers. A well deserved first win. ======================================================
Well I have just watched Lewis's fantastic pole position drive in Canada. He has just demonstrated my faith that come the end of the season he will be a "Rookie Champion".
Another milestone in this young man's amazing career. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After the first three races of the F1 season (probably the hardest three races of the year) a new driver has emerged as one of the most exciting prospects since a certain German took his first drive in a less than competitive Jordon F1 car back in the early nineties Michael Schumacher was the talk of the pit lane then, as Lewis Hamilton is now.
Lewis has indeed made the biggest impact, having been on the podium in his first three races of the 2007 F1 season, a feat not done before by any driver in their “Rookie “season. OK he has the second best car on the grid, but ask any F1 aficionado where they thought Lewis would be now, and they would say he would have picked up a few points and had a creditable top eight finish at most races.
So let’s look at how this rising star has dominated every formula he has driven in.
I remember one weekend at my local Kart track watching a young mixed race boy completely demolish the opposition twice in an afternoon. In between his races he and his father (Anthony) worked on the Kart to prepare it for the next race, and he would be back at the track watching the other races, watching with complete focus on the lines used by other drivers, inspecting their Karts to see their set ups. One of the track officials that I knew pointed this young man out to me, and his prophetic words were. “We are looking at a possible World Champion here” “What Karts?” I said. “No, F1” came the reply.
Lewis went on to win numerous karting titles, and was in 1998 that Lewis was taken under the wing of the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz young driver programme, from where he was supported in the various junior formulas that lead to his eventual goal of driver in a F1 team. Along the way to cement this relationship with McLaren MB he has shone in each formula, leaving team boss Ron Dennis not doubt about his investment, and ultimately the choice of Team mate to double world champion Fernando Alonso.
I lost touch with Lewis for a while, but was reminded of his talent when I saw him race in British Formula Renault in 2003. It was obvious he had grown in confidence and experience, and when he raced at Silverstone last year it confirmed to me what my friend at the Kart track had said a few years before. Lewis started from eighth on the grid in the GP2 championship after having a difficult qualifying session. He went on to win the race and made one of the best overtaking manoeuvres I have ever seen, passing two cars around the outside, a breathtaking sight that left me following the GP2 season on TV. Again he amazed me in Hungary where, after stalling on the grid he came from last through the field to finish second.
So at last we have a world class driver, who it seems can deliver a championship, no disrespect to Jenson Button, but this young man will win races this year and could even be in with a shout of the championship in his first year. Yes I here the doubters saying his season could come undone if he has set backs, but this does not seem to worry our Man, he has complete belief that he can win every race from what ever position he is in. He has resisted pressure from not only his team mate, but two Ferraris chasing his tail most of the Malaysian GP. He will come up against problems, but I am sure he has the attitude to overcome them. It’s no wonder Ron Dennis is the happiest man in the pit lane this year. His careful grooming of Lewis has paid dividends, Ron having involved Lewis in every aspect of the Team, from working with Mechanics to dealing with the corporate maelstrom that surrounds F1.
You could say that he has had advantages that other drivers have not, and that a spell in a smaller team as a F1 rookie would have prepared him better (as with Fernando Alonso’s spell with Minardi). But with the talent he has shown, and the fact he won the GP2 championship in his first year, it was a no brainer for Dennis not to give him a drive. Coupled with the fact he conducts himself very well with the press, fans and sponsors. He exudes a confident, but not arrogant air that has endeared him to a growing band of supporters, not least the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Frank Williams who take a lot to be impressed.
Lewis is one of the most complete drivers I have seen. He is a smooth driver, who makes every input into the car work. But he has that old style racer element to him, reminiscent of Nigel Mansell and Senna. It is easy to make comparisons and it would be foolish of me to compare his future success to the German Gentleman, but watch this space. I put my money where my mouth is and put a considerable amount on this young man winning the F1 Championship this year. I can tell you that the odds I got were in the hundreds to one and now he is four to one, on winning. The season still has a long way to run, but I think we are in for one of the closest fought championships this year.
There will be many a team boss, sponsor and engine manufacturer who will be in touch with Lewis’s Management, but you can bet McLaren will want to hang onto this rare talent for sometime to come.
At last a British driver we can be truly proud of.
Formula 1 Statistics
(after Bahrain Grand Prix) Grand Prix Debut 2007 Australian GP Grand Prix Starts 3 Grand Prix Points 22 Grand Prix Wins 0 Pole Positions 0 Fastest Laps 1 Number of Finishes 3 Number of Podiums 3 Number of finishes in Points 3 Number of Doubles (pole position & win) 0 Number of Trebles (pole position, win & fastest lap) 0
FORMULA ONE 2007 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: Driver
COMPETITION HISTORY 2006 GP2 Series: Champion with ART Grand Prix; five wins; six fastest laps; first double win at the Nürburgring; pole position and winner of Monaco GP2 race; second double win at Silverstone in home race; seven 2 nd place and two 3 rd place podiums
2005 F3 Euroseries: Champion with ASM F3 Dallara-Mercedes; 15 wins; 10 fastest laps; 13 pole positions; secured championship with four races remaining; winner of F3 Masters at Zandvoort including pole position and lap record; winner of the Monaco F3 Grand Prix including two pole positions and two race wins and one fastest lap; winner of Pau F3 Grand Prix in France; two pole positions, two race wins and two fastest laps
2004 F3 Euroseries: fifth; one win and third place at the Norisring and the Nürburgring; winner of Bahrain F3 Superprix 2003 British Formula Renault: Champion; 10 wins; nine fastest laps and 11 pole positions; Champion before final two rounds
2002 British Formula Renault: third; three wins; three fastest laps; three pole positions; Formula Renault EuroCup Championship fifth; one win three podiums; competed in four out of nine rounds
2001 British Formula Renault Winter Series; fifth overall.
2000 Formula A: European Champion; winner of all four rounds; World Cup Champion; awarded Karting World Number 1; winner of Masters at Bercy; Founder member of BRDC ‘Rising Star' membership
1999 Intercontinental A (ICA): Italian "Industrials" Champion, Junior ICA (JICA): Vice European Champion; winner Trophy de Pomposa, 4th Italian Open Championship
1998 Junior ICA (JICA): second in McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future series; fourth in Italian Open Championship; signed by McLaren and Mercedes-Benz to Young Driver Support Programme 1997 Junior Yamaha: Super One British Champion; winner of McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future series
1996 Cadet Class: winner of McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future series; Sky TV Kart Masters Champion; Five Nations Champion
1995 Cadet Class: Super One British Champion; STP Champion