Monday, July 28, 2008

Dennis: No 'extra' help for Lewis

Re-published from Planet F1. With regards the German GP at Hockenheim where Heikki "gave way" to Lewis, I wish to point out my opinion on the matter. It looked like team orders and many people, especially the Lewis and McLaren haters out there would like to believe it that way but I tell you, it was not.

It was actually a simple case of mathematics. Heikki, not being an asshole unlike some people we know, knew that he has no chance at this year's championship and that McLaren are quite far off in the constructors. It would be better for him to support Lewis so Lewis could win the championship and himself try to finish as high as possible for the team.

Even if it was team orders, it would have been discussed before every race - that should a situation arise, Heikki should support Lewis. Did you think that if Lewis was at P13 and Heikki P4, Heikki would wait to let Lewis pass? C'mon people, logic. There is no way it can be proven as team orders as team orders are banned and any team stupid enough to say it over the radio would get hauled up by the FIA.

Sunday 27th July 2008

Ron Dennis has dismissed claims by Sir Jackie Stewart that Lewis Hamilton's bid to win the World Championship depends on the support he gets from Heikki Kovalainen.

Triple World Champion Stewart believes "Kovalainen has got to be able take a position away from a Ferrari driver".

However, Dennis insists Hamilton doesn't need any extra help from the Finn.

"I have enormous respect for Sir Jackie, he was one of grand prix racing's truly great World Champions. Equally, we're always willing to accept constructive criticism and the affection felt in Britain for Lewis means lots of people are anxious to give well-intentioned advice," Dennis is quoted by Autosport.

"But the fact is that Sir Jackie retired from motor racing in 1973, which is 35 years ago, and the sport has moved on in that time. His suggestion that Lewis's World Championship campaign depends on Heikki's assistance presupposes that Heikki's task is to drive in support of Lewis, and that simply isn't the case.

"The truth is that Lewis doesn't need any extra help. He and Heikki are good mates but they're both highly competitive individuals and they take their own decisions.

"We have a long history of giving our drivers equal treatment and opportunity, and that isn't about to change."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hakkinen: Lewis has calmed down

Re-published from Planet F1.
Tuesday 22nd July 2008

Mika Hakkinen believes Lewis Hamilton is on the road to delivering a more harmonious McLaren their first World Title for nine years.

It was in 1999 Hakkinen won the last of McLaren's Formula One Drivers' Championships before Ferrari and Michael Schumacher began to dominate.

Although Hakkinen retired two years later, he has remained close to the team, and occasionally still attends races as their guest.

The Finn was on hand on Sunday to congratulate Hamilton following his latest glorious triumph at the German Grand Prix, giving the 23-year-old a big bear hug as he entered the McLaren brand centre.

The two men have also built up a relationship of late as they are ambassadors for Johnnie Walker's 'Responsible Drinking' campaign, and regularly attend promotional functions together.

Compared to last year when McLaren were riddled with problems on and off track given the spy scandal and discord between Hamilton and team-mate Fernando Alonso, as an outsider looking in, Hakkinen can see the difference following Alonso's departure and Heikki Kovalainen's appointment.

"What Ron Dennis and Norbert Haug have done is brought together two fantastically talented young drivers," Hakkinen said.

"They are fast, they motivate the whole team, and they are getting better, stronger, more solid, more stable - they deliver the whole package.

"I can see right now McLaren Mercedes is a solid team, positive in terms of spirit both behind the scenes and on the track.

"I can sense that just by being around the teams these days."

With Hamilton now four points ahead in the drivers' standings after back-to-back victories in Britain and Germany, Hakkinen senses the team's long wait for a title could soon be over.

Asked about Hamilton's chances, Hakkinen replied: "It is easy to answer because I can relate what is happening now to Lewis to when I was racing.

"When I was a young guy at McLaren I was flat out, always at the maximum.

"Sometimes the excitement took over my thinking and there were times when I went over the top, I made mistakes.

"It took time for me to stabilise myself and calm down a little, and then I got the results.

"That is now the situation with Lewis. He has calmed down and is stable, more mature.

"There is still a way to go this year and a lot of things can still happen, and yes it is a long time since I won McLaren's last title, but I am hopeful this year they can do it.

"They just have to keep working, thinking positively."

Hamilton had team-mate Kovalainen to thank for the victory as the Finn let him through following a second pit stop, which saw him drop from the lead to fifth.

Kovalainen's kind gesture, also acknowledged by Dennis and F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh, gave Hamilton the opportunity to hunt down and pass Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet in his Renault to claim the win.

And Hakkinen feels Kovalainen has brought more than just generosity to McLaren, claiming he has helped transform them overall.

"Heikki has brought great harmony to the team," insisted Hakkinen.

"He has been working really well with the engineers and with Lewis, and the harmony is now great, and that's a very important point."

Lewis: We need to keep on pushing

Re-published from Planet F1.
Tuesday 22nd July 2008

Lewis Hamilton is refusing to get too carried away after his back-to-back wins at Silverstone and Hockenheim.

Just a few weeks ago Hamilton was under pressure after failing to score points in Canada and France, but he bounced back in style at his home race in Britain and Germany this weekend.

The 23-year-old now has a four-point lead in the World Title and looks to be favourite to win his maiden Championship following last year's near miss.

However, the McLaren driver knows the team can't rest on their laurels.

"It's too early to say that I'm now the man to beat," assessed Hamilton.

"We're looking strong, looking good, and we're in a good position, but as you know in a Formula One season things change, teams always make steps here and there.

"As you saw last year we were swapping and changing, so in the next few races I don't know what to expect.

"All I know is we will have a competitive car, and if we can keep challenging for wins, then great.

"I'm not going to say the other guys need to pull their finger out or something like that.

"All I know is we just need to keep on pushing, as simple as that, as I'm sure everyone else will.

"So far the team have done a great job, and we are really on top of our game right now.

"But we cannot get too far ahead of ourselves. We have got a lot of work to do for the rest of the season, although if we can continue with this momentum we're looking very good.

"Now it's on to the next race, with Hungary a very good one for us, so fingers crossed."

Monday, July 21, 2008


Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for winning the German GP and doing it in style with 2 hardcore overtaking maneuvers of Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet Jr. It was to be expected as the pace of the McLaren was strong and consistent all weekend.

I was quite afraid for Lewis when the SC came out and he didn't pit. Everybody knew that he had to pit sooner than later and there was no way he could amass 25 seconds in 14 laps or so. But when he came out behind Heikki and fought his way to the win, it was priceless.

Though, it was too bad for Heikki. He knew he had to give way to Lewis as Lewis was faster but more importantly, Heikki didn't have a chance at the championship but Lewis does. I don't think it was team orders as Heikki understood the situation. But it was sad to see that he couldn't fight his way after that or at least maintain his position. He could've been on the podium.

I was also frustrated that Heidfeld couldn't take Massa in the final few laps. He was so close, if he was more aggresive or hungry, we'd see something different. As for Nelson, I thought he was just plain lucky. One wayward podium doesn't say much and I don't think he'll be racing next year with Renault. Worst was Alonso. On a day when he said that Nelson wouldn't score points, Nelson did and to rub it in, was 2nd. To put salt to the wound, Alonso finished 11th - out of the points.

Looking at Lewis' driving yesterday, I would say that he's maturing as a driver. The cool is working again. He was aggresive when he needed to be and cool when he needed to be. Finishing the race with points is more important than winning but if you win it, so much the better. Consistency is key.

Conclusions From The German GP

Re-published from Planet F1
Sunday 20th July 2008

The Boy Hamilton Is Good Value
Lewis Hamilton never wins easily. His victories are invariably dramatic, hard-fought, compelling events. They are rarely - and perhaps all-too-rare from his perspective - processional formalities. For the first two-thirds of the race, the 2008 German GP was proving to be one such formality, but Timo Glock's crash, coupled with the resultant deployment of the Safety Car and McLaren's peculiar decision not to pit the lead driver, changed all that.

Hamilton's response was devastating - proof that even wins for the fastest car (and the fastest driver) can still be rip-roaring, edge-of-the-seat yarns. Hamilton's pace in his third stint - he was instantly approximately a second-and-a-half quicker than Felipe Massa - made a lie of the suggestion that McLaren had opted against pitting him because they feared his pace would suffer on soft rubber. The reasoning was more prosaic - the team expected the Safety Car to return to the pits far quicker than it did, but even the best-case scenario would have only provided Hamilton with an additional twelve or thirteen laps rather than the ten in which he built up a lead of 16 seconds. As Hamilton needed to construct a lead of at least 22 seconds, the maths didn't add up.

McLaren erred, albeit on the side of recklessness, and their relief afterwards was palpable. They might also be questioned about the apparent employment of team orders when Heikki Kovalainen was instructed to let his team-mate past. That moment has already been seized upon the tedious band of Anti-Hamiltonists as evidence of favouritism and fortune, yet the real mystery is why it took McLaren almost a lap to persuade the Finn to yield given that the pass was an inevitability. It was a matter of time and the time lost could have mattered dearly to Hamilton.

Speaking Of Which...Ron Dennis's Post-Race Explanation Didn't Add Up Either
"The safety car stayed out longer than we anticipated because we just didn't see the car was behind the barrier, we didn't think they would have to move the car. We just thought there was some debris on the circuit."

"...With the benefit of hindsight maybe we should have double-shuffled the cars but that's with the benefit of hindsight It's not what our strategists said, and it is not a decision taken from the pit wall, it was a decision taken in Woking."

Spot the problem? In the first set of remarks, Dennis appears to be suggesting that the team couldn't see from their vantage point on the pitwall that Glock's car was ruined. In the second set, he reveals that the decision was made by the army of technicians that the team employs to watch the race on television from the comfort of their Woking HQ. But how could they have claimed to have been unsighted when they were privy to the same sight of a ruined Toyota spinning to a halt on the same of the track that replays revealed to the rest of F1's armchair followers?


Heikki's Struggles Continue
Were it not for the distorting introduction of the Safety Car, Kovalainen's trouncing would have verged on the embarrassing and his defeat to Hamilton was scheduled to be measured in minutes rather than seconds. It's worth emphasising that even in the final stage of the race, when Kovalainen was still chasing a podium finish, Hamilton built up a 12-second lead over the second McLaren in 15 laps.

Whatever his popularity within the team, and the guarantee that he will not rock the Woking boat, such a deficit must be deemed unacceptable.

Massa Is A Great Driver Except When He Has To Race
In that context, it is odd that Felipe Massa is considered to be the top-four driver most vulnerable to losing his seat for next season. The Brazilian's resilience is under-appreciated, for he has an unheralded habit of bouncing back from setbacks and his performance in Germany was another such example after his humiliation in Silverstone. Forget for a moment his amateurish attempt to block Hamilton and dwell on the fact that he comprehensively thrashed Raikkonen.

Massa's pace is also under-estimated and he is arguably the best frontrunner in F1 today (a product, perhaps, of the year he spent as a test driver for Ferrari, pounding out lonely lap after lonely lap). World Championships are not won on empty tracks, however, and it is a race driver that he falls short and the critics criticise. He is weak in the rain and his attempted block on Hamilton when the McLaren homed in on second place was feeble. Does he have the all-round package to win a World Championship? It's a question that Ferrari will be hugely tempted - and goaded into doing so by a fierce Italian press unaccustomed to defeat - to decisively answer in the negative if he fails to prevent Hamilton winning the championship this season.

Kimi Could Be Paying For The Absence Of A Work Ethic
Raikkonen's position is safe courtesy of his title triumph last year. Yet he should not be spared criticism for another lacklustre outing (his last victory was in April). If the Finn has a weakness then it is his apparent inability to dial out a problem whenever his Ferrari is not tuned in to his liking. If the weekend begins badly for Raikkonen on a Friday it invariably tends to stay that way. Perhaps his race engineer is culpable, or perhaps Raikkonen's set-up deficiency is the inevitable consequence of his infamous reluctance to spend time in the car outside of race weekends or engage in lengthy debriefing sessions whenever he does.

"Kimi is extremely talented," Bernie Ecclestone once observed. "The trouble is, he's not as dedicated as Ayrton Senna was, or as Lewis Hamilton is, for whom it is the end of the world if something goes wrong." The problem, in fact, might be that something went very right for Kimi last October. Ambition achieved, has he metaphorically stepped off the gas since winning the championship?

A final thought on the matter: Last year, it was repeatedly asserted that Hamilton was 'lucky' because he was able to copy the set-up of Alonso. So whose set-up is he copying this year? Certainly not that of his team-mate. And who was the driving force during the recent tests at Silverstone and Hockenheim when McLaren found an edge that has cut Ferrari to second best?

Ferrari Don't Have The Man They Need
And from those questions comes another: who will be the driving force when Ferrari consider their response to the resounding defeat in Germany? The team must be in shock. Just a few weeks ago they were cruising to a one-two in France. Suddenly, in the blink of two races, they find themselves a distant second-best on a circuit that should have suited them. There is no denial that McLaren now have the upper hand but plenty of doubt that Ferrari can recover. How Stefano Domenicali - who has plenty to prove himself - must wish that Michael Schumacher was still on the payroll as something other than an headset operator.

And Ferrari Aren't Alone In Missing Schumi
Considering that there were five Germans in the race, Hockenheim hosted a surprisingly large number of empty seats this weekend.

German GP: Winners and Losers

Re-published from Planet F1
Sunday 20th July 2008


Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1st
Another peerless drive from Hamilton who was in a class of his own at Hockenheim. It's a dramatic turnround for McLaren to be outgunning Ferrari by half a second a lap, as it was in the opening stages of the German GP. In 18 laps Lewis had carved out an 11 seconds lead over Massa.

Though that worrying rush-of-blood-to-the-head looked to have descended on him as he approached Trulli after the first pit-stop on Lap 19, he reined it in. His passing moves on Massa and Piquet were clinical. But it's a good job for McLaren that their strategy hiccup came at a nice wide circuit.


Lap 43: Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren on Robert Kubica, BMW
Having received criticism for his lack of aggression at Silverstone, Kovalainen made amends with a superb overtaking move in front of a grandstand load of Mercedes fans at Turn 8.

He was close to Kubica in the hairpin and trailed him all the way down to the turn, following him round on the outside and sneaking up the inside before the Pole could turn back into Turn 9.

Fifth place was a good result for Heikki and though Hamilton ultimately made the McLaren strategy work - had Lewis come in with the rest of the pack, the Finn would have had to queue up for fuel and tyres and would probably have had to settle for something like 6th or 7th.


Nelson Piquet Junior, Renault, 2nd
Nelson Piquet has acknowledged that he was lucky to take his maiden podium position in Germany. Not so. He may have been in the right place at the right time, but in the closing stages of the race came under no pressure at all from Felipe Massa thanks to a series of Personal Best sector and lap times. In fact, he was pulling away. Flavio would have to have a heart of stone to chuck him out now.
Stop Press: Briatore sacks Piquet Junior...

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 3rd
Unlike the ITV commentary team, I can't see what Felipe Massa did so wrong in trying to get 2nd place back off Lewis Hamilton after he was passed on Lap 57. Kovalainen had made a pass stick in the same spot and he was only about a car length away from making it work.

Massa's still in the World Championship hunt and shouldn't be as gloomy as he looked in the press conference. Not when Raikkonen's failing to set his car up and coming home 6th.

Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 4th
A brave decision by Dr.Mario to leave Nick out during the Safety Car period and one that worked. Heidfeld made up an extraordinary number of places (he was P11 on the grid) despite picking "the wrong way to go". Like Kovalainen - had he been double-teamed in the SC induced pit-stops, he would have got nowhere in the race. Circumstances forced the team into a great decision.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 6th
Raikkonen had a poor afternoon and only looked like he meant business the second the Safety Car disappeared. Then he carved his way through from a lowly 12th. He was also patient enough to wait for the opportunity to overtake Kubica for 6th place.

His cheery little wave to Sebastian Vettel as he overtook the Toro Rosso driver was a gem.

Sebsatian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 8th
A good race from Vettel and some combative dicing with Fernando Alonso. It's not Seb's fault that the lollypop guy for the Red Bull team previously worked at the Wimbledon Banger Racing stadium


Timo Glock, Toyota, DNF
He'd done an amazing job to get himself into the race, but it all fell apart - quite literally - when he bounced his Toyota over the run-off at the exit of the SudKurve.

Before the Safety Car, the GP was dissolving into a bit of a plod to the finish and he did everyone a favour. Up until that point the best overtaking move of the race was down to the official timing screens (see below)(Hamilton lapped everyone in a nanosecond).

Robert Kubica, BMW, 7th
Kubica didn't look like a World Champion in waiting at Hockenheim, he looked like a driver waiting to slip down the driver's table. The official BMW line has been that they aren't going for the title in 2008, but you tend to think that: "the lady doth protest too much". If they were still close approaching the last three or four races then they'd put the development of the 2009 car on hold. With Ferrari conspiring to get some poor results and still backing both drivers, and Lewis capable of being both Superman and Blunderman at alternate races, then there could still be a chance going into the autumn

Fernando Alonso, Renault, 11th
We saw a delicious glimpse of the old fury this afternoon. Fernando Alonso worked himself up into one of his "McLaren favour Lewis" or "Massa cannot drive straight" rages after Toro Rosso blatantly released Vettel into Fernando's path as Alonso was passing his garage during the round of Safety Car pit-stops.

Alonso was right to be angry, though.

It was yet another example of the madness of the stewards - failing to investigate the incident during the race, yet managing to fine Heikki Kovalainen 5000 euros for a non-standard fuel rig incident in Qualifying.

Webbo, Red Bull, DNF
Considering they've had some great results recently, it was a pretty poor German GP for Red Bull. David Coulthard lost a shedload of places off the start and never really recovered. Mark Webber smoked into retirement during the Safety Car period.

Webbo managed to give the quote of the weekend, though. When asked about his new 2009 team-mate Sebastian Vettel, Mark observed. "He's actually not a bad bloke for the nationality (smile + wink)".

In reply, an equally smiling Sebastian Vettel said, "He will definitely be difficult to understand - mate."

Honda Strategy
Ross Brawn might have helped pull off a strategy coup at Silverstone, but what was Jenson Button doing tucked behind Lewis Hamilton and not unlapping himself after the Safety Car allowed lapped cars through?

German Efficiency
They pride themselves on their efficiency, but the German marshals took an age to clear the track after the Glock shunt. At Monaco they are lightning, in Silverstone they're good, but in Germany you might expect them to act a bit quicker than some fat sweaty bloke in oil-stained Primark jeans with a rusty tow-truck.

German Race Attendance
Looking at the grandstands on race day it's not surprising that there is only one German race now. There were five German drivers in the race and parts of the Stadium still looked only half full.

Official Timing Computer
Who says the Germans don't have a sense of humour? The German GP timing screens acted like they'd been down to the bier keller before the race and consumed several steins. On Lap 14 they registered Heikki Kovalainen as STOPPED, even though he was carrying on with his race unabated. Then later in the GP as Lewis Hamilton flashed past the pits they decided he'd suddenly lapped everybody - and gave everybody else's time as +1 Lap. Then they registered Kovalainen as IN PIT even though he'd just had his stop and got fed up messing about and gave him the same sector times for the rest of the race. Even behind the Safety Car, Heikki was able to put in a first sector of 16.8 seconds.

Mark - git orf me barra, fraulein - Blundell
It's always good value when the ITV team start describing the wrong cars and don't realise their mistake for half a lap. You want it to go on forever. Today we got Timo Glock exiting the pits and joining battle with "Nelson Piquet and Sebastien Bourdais" - except it was Alonso and Vettel and James and Martin didn't realise.

Glock had been third before his pit-stop. Third is near the front.

Blundell, on the other hand, was on poor form and we only got, "Massa seems to be very fluid round here," along with his insistence that you need "a rivvum in the stadium complex, plus; "I fink it's down to wevver tomorrow, wevver it's raining tomorrow or wevver it's hot."

Nicht diamond, ja.

Andrew von Davies

German GP: Sublime Hamilton wins at Hockenheim

Re-published from Planet F1
Sunday 20th July 2008

Lewis Hamilton put in a storming drive to win the German Grand Prix, after his McLaren team created more work for him during a Safety Car period.

The McLaren driver led the grand prix from the start, easily putting time between himself and second placed Felipe Massa as he looked to be in a class of his own.

However, what looked to be certain victory appeared to slip from his grasp when the Safety Car came out on Lap 35 after Timo Glock crashed heavily.

All the front runners pitted except Hamilton, which meant that when the race re-started Nelson Piquet Jr and Felipe Massa were right behind him on the track but unlike Hamilton, they did not need to stop.

Hamilton rejoined in fifth place and started a memorable charge to the front...

Lewis's advantage was that he had a car that was about a second a lap quicker than the Ferrari. By Lap 55 the gap to Massa was just 0.6 of a second and on Lap 57 Lewis got the perfect tow down to the hairpin and stick his McLaren up the inside, carefully running Felipe out wide and onto the run-off area (a la Schumacher).

Massa wasn't finished, though, and tried to get back at him through Turn 8, but only succeeded in losing time and putting himself into the clutches of the chasing Nick Heidfeld. The German had managed to pit and emerge in P4 ahead of team-mate Kubica and now wanted Massa's P3.

Hamilton set off after Nelson Piquet and did the same professional job at the hairpin on the Brazilian on Lap 60, just as Raikkonen got the better of Robert Kubica.

In the closing stages, Piquet put in a series of Personal Bests to keep his Renault clear of the Massa vs Heidfeld battle, as Hamilton took an impressive win. Despite some distinctly old rubber on his F2008 Massa kept hold of the final podium place.

Heidfeld took 4th, Kovalainen an unthreatened 5th and Raikkonen 6th place. Robert Kubica's 7th place probably heralded the end of his title challenge, while Vettel's single point for 8th place will not have pleased Fernando Alonso who spun towards the end of the race.

It was a fine win for McLaren, their first since Mika Hakkinen's victory in 1999. That year Hakkinen went on to be World Champion. With McLaren's current car advantage it could be a very good omen.


01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:31:20.847
02 N. Piquet Jr Renault + 5.586
03 F. Massa Ferrari + 9.339
04 N. Heidfeld BMW + 9.825
05 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 12.411
06 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 14.483
07 R. Kubica BMW + 22.603
08 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 33.282
09 J. Trulli Toyota + 37.199
10 N. Rosberg Williams + 37.658
11 F. Alonso Renault + 38.625
12 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 39.111
13 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 54.971
14 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 59.093
15 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:00.003
16 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1:09.488
17 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
Did not finish
18 R. Barrichello Honda + 16 laps
19 M. Webber Red Bull + 37 laps
20 T. Glock Toyota + 42 laps

Sunday, July 20, 2008


It would seem a forgone conclusion this weekend but as usual I don't like to count my chicks before they are hatched.

The McLarens had good pace from Friday practice and Saturday practice looked good also. Lewis looked pretty strong this past 2 days and today's qualifying was the culmination of all that work. It was an extremely exciting qualifying today, especially the last part when Massa looked like he had pole but was snatched away by Lewis at the last minute.

The other surprises were quite exciting as well. Alonso as usual managed to pull a rabbit out from his hat with fifth place and Vettel, the man of the hour, managed to get into the top 10. A truly incredible performance from Trulli. That last minute thing was incredible too, you'd think it was time to relax after punching the air when Lewis took pole but no..Trulli made it truly special by taking 4th with Alonso pushing Kimi to 6th.

Kubica disappointed with 7th but worse was Heidfeld. I don't know what happened to him but hopefully tomorrow he does better. Things are not looking so good for Piquet though. I wouldn't be surprised if Renault drops him next year.

All in all, a great qualy session and can't wait to see the race tomorrow. Ferrari's pace are quite close to McLaren but I think Lewis can handle Massa with Heikki's help, of course. If that doesn't do the job, maybe the rain will.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Qualifying: Hamilton bags Hockenheim pole

Re-published from Planet F1
Saturday 19th July 2008

Lewis Hamilton will start the German GP from pole position after beating Felipe Massa to the coveted grid slot in Saturday's qualifying.

The McLaren driver, who led the way in both practice sessions on Friday, carried his pace through to qualifying on Saturday where he clocked a 1:15.666 to edge Massa by two tenths.

Third place on the grid went to Heikki Kovalainen as the McLaren driver got within half a second of his team-mate while a last-gasp effort from Jarno Trulli put him P4.

Fernando Alonso and an off-form Kimi Raikkonen complete the top six.

Qualifying 1
There was a small threat of rain in the build up to qualifying, but when the pitlane exit light turned to green, the clouds had blown over. The ambient temperature was at 23C with the track at 32C.

Local favourites Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel were out on track first and Vettel set P1 at 1:17.030. Kimi Raikkonen was out early and the World Champion looked as though he was still trying to find a balance for his car. He took P1 from Vettel but his lap was only a 1:16.810.

With almost everyone on the harder Bridgestone tyre, many drivers chose to put in two laps, and Rosberg came round again with a 1:16.686, Mark Webber's first lap got him P1 at 1:16.395 which he then lost to Kimi Raikkonen's second hot lap of 1:16.352. Webbo then reclaimed P1 with his second lap at 1:16.058.

Felipe Mass needed just one lap to get his Ferrari onto P1, a 1:15.884, however Raikkonen wasn't done with, and lowered P1 to 1:15.627 on his third lap. Massa was considerably quicker on his second lap - a 1:15.255.

Lewis Hamilton's onboard camera showed him missing the apex at the hairpin by a country mile, but such is the McLaren driver's confidence through the stadium section that he still took P1 with a 1:15.218.

Going into the final three minutes, the danger positions were: 12.Nakajima, 13.Rosberg, 14.Barrichello, 15.Bourdais, 16.Sutil, 17.Trulli, 18.Coulthard, 19.Fisichella, 20.Piquet

Before the back of the grid sorted itself out Felipe Massa went out one final time to set P1 at 1:14.921.

With less than two seconds between the front and the back of the grid, a tenth of a second could be the difference between several places. As the cars crossed the line Coulthard got himself out of jail by going 8th. Jarno Trulli, who was surprisingly far down, jumped up to 5th, Rosberg went 7th, Glock claimed 6th, Nakajima improved to 14th which Jenson Button immediately took off him.

Alonso moved up to 10th, Nick Heidfeld made himself safe in 7th, but Nelson Piquet Junior trailed home in 17th complaining that Sebastian Vettel had got in the way of his final lap. Piquet Junior was only 0.2 slower than team-mate Fernando Alonso who made it through to Q2.

So out went:
16. Nakakima

Qualifying 2
The major surprise of Q2 was the fact that both Ferraris took to the track first. Having put in a late fast lap in Q1, the set-up on Felipe Massa's Ferrari didn't look like it needed attention. Both opted for the softer tyre.

Raikkonen set P1 at 1:14.949, Felipe Massa reduced it to 1:14.747 and soon Lewis Hamilton had claimed it with a 1:14.603 with Heikki Kovalainen back in P4.

The two BMWs were last out on track and though Robert Kubica took P7, Nick Heidfeld could only manage P10 (disproving the theory that he'd cracked his qualifying malaise).

Going into the final three minutes the danger positions were: 7.Kubica, 8.Webber, 9.Glock, 10.Heidfeld, 11.Coulthard, 12.Rosberg, 13.Vettel, 14.Bourdais, 15.Button.

Sebastien Bourdais ruined his final attempt by going straight on at the hairpin looking almost as though he was trying to explore the old part of the circuit and the Jim Clark memorial.

His Toro Rosso team-mate Sebastian Vettel, claimed P8, Robert Kubica leapt to P5, Nico Rosberg couldn't improve, David Coulthard took 8th place, Button could only manage P14, while Fernando Alonso put in amazing lap to move to P4.

Nick Heidfeld was the big loser, locking his brakes at the hairpin and trashing his lap. So as the dust cleared it was:

Qualifying 3
Jarno Trulli was first out on track with nine minutes left to go and set Provisional Pole at 1:17.126.

Continuing the trend, Kimi Raikkonen came out early again and put in a dreadful lap, running wide at the exit of Turns 1 and 2, his Ferrari looking very undrivable. Nevertheless he was quick enough to take P1 with a 1:17.101.

This was instantly put into perspective by Felipe Massa who followed him over the line with a 1:16.323. Heikki Kovalainen ruined his first shot at pole with a rallycross moment onto the grass at the end of the lap at the exit of the final turn.

Because the marshals put the yellow flags out for what was a momentary off-track excursion for Heikki, Lewis Hamilton lifted in the turn (fearing he might be penalised by race stewards, such is the lack of confidence in race officiation these days) and could only manage P2.

Meanwhile Fernando slotted his Renault into an amazing P2 - so after the first runs it was Massa, Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica, Raikkonen, Trulli, Webber, Vettel, Coulthard, Kovalainen.

Raikkonen led them out on the second round of hot laps and though he improved, he could only manage P2. Felipe Massa improved to 1:15.859 and looked to have nailed pole position, Kovalainen kept his McLaren sufficiently on the tarmac enough to take P2 and then Lewis Hamilton finished off an amazing lap in style with a startling 1:15.666 - a whole second quicker than his first lap!

But the action hadn't finished as Alonso crossed the line in P4 and Jarno Trulli equalled his best position of the year taking Alonso's P4 and relegating Raikkonen to P6 and the slow side of the grid.

It had been the pole position Lewis Hamilton should have scored a race earlier, but he will welcome a start from the clean side of the grid at a circuit where it can get very hairy into Turns 1 and 2. Robert Kubica back in P7 will be looking to nick inside of World Championship rival Kimi Raikkonen on the opening tour, while Felipe Massa will be hoping that it turns hot (not rainy) on Sunday afternoon.


01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:15.666
02 F. Massa Ferrari 1:15.859
03 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:16.143
04 J. Trulli Toyota 1:16.191
05 F. Alonso Renault 1:16.385
06 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:16.389
07 R. Kubica BMW 1:16.521
08 M. Webber Red Bull 1:17.014
09 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:17.244
10 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:17.503
11 T. Glock Toyota 1:15.508
12 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:15.581
13 N. Rosberg Williams 1:15.633
14 J. Button Honda 1:15.701
15 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:15.858
16 K. Nakajima Williams 1:16.083
17 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:16.189
18 R. Barrichello Honda 1:16.246
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:16.657
20 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:16.963

Prac Two: Hamilton dominates in Germany

Re-published from Planet F1.
Friday 18th July 2008

Lewis Hamilton made it two from two in Germany on Friday when he posted the fastest time in the day's second practice session.

The McLaren driver, who is determined to win this weekend's grand prix and take the sole lead in the Drivers' standings, clocked a 1:15.025 to beat the two drivers that he is tied with at the top of the Championship, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.

Report: Sebastian Vettel set the first competitive lap time of the afternoon, a 1:18.431. The German, who recently signed on as David Coulthard's replacement at Red Bull for next season, continued lapping, shaving almost two seconds off his time before he was overhauled by the two McLaren drivers.

Lewis Hamilton hit the top of the timesheets with a 1:15.817 while Heikki Kovalainen went P2. The Finn, though, dropped fast with Felipe Massa and Nick Heidfeld both edging ahead of him. Kimi Raikkonen slotted into third place behind Massa as the two Ferraris and McLarens fought for supremacy.

Sebastien Bourdais pulled in his Toro Rosso garage with a technical problem that almost caught out Hamilton when the McLaren driver found himself suddenly behind a slowish STR3 entering the stadium section. The Brit, though, managed to avoid contract. Kazuki Nakajima also had problems as he ventured out only to return to his garage without setting a time.

Behind the McLaren/Ferrari battle for the top four slots, Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica fought for a top eight time - the six drivers separated by a quarter of a second.

Just past the halfway mark Massa overhauled Hamilton with a 1:15.722, afterward heading through the pits for a practice start before returning to the track.

Nakajima returned to the track with half an hour left of the session after his team worked furiously to fix his car. The Williams driver went P18 on his first timed of the session.

Massa, using the soft rubber, improved to a 1:15.741 with Hamilton following close behind, just 0.017s off the pace.

The final five minutes of the session saw almost the entire field put on the softer option tyres in a bid to put in that final fantastic lap.

The session ended just moments after Hamilton put in a blistering 1:15.025, which consisted of three fastest sector times, to take the P1 slot away from Massa.

01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:15.025 37 laps
02 F. Massa Ferrari 1:15.722 31 laps
03 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:15.760 34 laps
04 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:15.990 37 laps
05 M. Webber Red Bull 1:16.017 25 laps
06 F. Alonso Renault 1:16.230 38 laps
07 N. Rosberg Williams 1:16.355 41 laps
08 R. Kubica BMW 1:16.363 36 laps
09 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:16.377 40 laps
10 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:16.378 35 laps
11 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:16.422 41 laps
12 J. Trulli Toyota 1:16.530 45 laps
13 J. Button Honda 1:16.542 38 laps
14 R. Barrichello Honda 1:16.677 28 laps
15 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:16.734 42 laps
16 T. Glock Toyota 1:16.781 44 laps
17 K. Nakajima Williams 1:16.829 21 laps
18 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:16.860 14 laps
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:17.008 39 laps
20 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:17.047 37 laps

Hamilton: I'm only human

Re-published from Planet F1.
Friday 18th July 2008

Lewis Hamilton may exude a cool persona moments before the start of every grand prix but he has conceded to suffering pre-race nerves.

Hamilton admits to playing out in his mind numerous scenarios once the five red lights disappear to signal a frantic run down towards the first corner.

But it is the kind of adrenaline rush that drives on Hamilton as he bids to become Formula One World Champion this year.

"Well, I'm human," smiled Hamilton, quashing the thought he would have ice running through his veins in the race build-up.

"There are nerves, but not the kind thinking I might fail. They are of excitement, with the adrenaline pumping.

"It's about whether I will get the start perfect; what will happen in the first corner, because it's an unknown. You've no clue.

"It's a question of: do I go left or right?; do I brake early or late?; do I get hit from behind?; do I get a flat tyre?

"There are so many questions, and that's the exciting thing about it.

"With the nerves it's about how I control them, control that energy and try and maintain it through the race, and that's always a key.

"But when I talk about nerves, I can tell you I've had them since I started racing, and it is the same before every race.

"I have that same excitement and, as long as I have that, then I will keep doing what I'm doing.

"If it ever goes, then...."

That was Hamilton stopping just short of saying he would quit if he felt nothing ahead of a race.

At present, he concedes there is no way to exercise control of his nerves.

It is a surprise to himself he has not found a way to combat what might be perceived as a problem by some, but then he does not see it that way.

"I don't think there is a way to control them," added Hamilton ahead of this weekend's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

"It's just the way your body is. It is a state of mind, and I have no methods or solutions to deal with it.

"I've never been trained on it and I don't feel the need. It is just an exciting part of motor racing and being a racing driver.

"I would have thought by now I would have a regime and a mindset but then I know how to get into the zone.

"Every time there is a different gut feeling, a different emotion, a different nerve."

Hamilton certainly conquered his nerves in the British Grand Prix 12 days ago, storming to victory to set up a three-way tie for the lead alongside Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, although he is ahead on countback.

The 23-year-old at least heads into the weekend with one victory under his belt in Germany after beating team-mate Heikki Kovalainen in a music quiz hosted by team sponsors Vodafone on Thursday.

Matching segments of music to artists in what was a test of memory, Hamilton was forced to come from behind as Kovalainen took an early 2-0 lead, only for the Finn to lose 6-2.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Even Spanish press hails Hamilton

Re-published from F1-Live
09/07/08 11:04

Even the fiercely nationalistic Spanish press had to commend British driver Lewis Hamilton's victory in last Sunday's British Grand Prix.

23-year-old Hamilton has endured a challenging relationship with the Spanish media corps; through his often bitter rivalry with Spaniard Fernando Alonso at McLaren last year, and the racism affair of the Barcelona test earlier in 2008.

The rancour turned to praise after the rain-affected Silverstone event, however, with newspaper Diario AS proclaiming Hamilton and Alonso ‘the best ones in the chaotic race’.

El Pais, Spain's most widely circulated daily, added: ‘Hamilton danced on the water with a clear head and silenced the criticism of the past days.

Marca, the sports daily, said: ‘Hamilton dominated the race, without ifs or buts.’

Hamilton's British rival David Coulthard has often been a critical voice, but Auto Motor und Sport quotes the veteran as saying at the Hockenheim test: "I watched nearly the whole race on TV - unbelievable job, Lewis, well done."

Source: GMM
© CAPSIS International

Hamilton denies manager switch reports

Re-published from F1-Live
Happy with father to guide his career
09/07/08 15:36

Silverstone winner and joint championship points leader Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday denied reports he is considering appointing a professional manager to handle his Formula One career.

We reported earlier this week that the McLaren driver's current manager, his father Anthony Hamilton, was last Sunday at Silverstone spotted in deep conversation with renowned F1 driver-manager Julian Jakobi.

When asked about the rumours as he tested at Hockenheim, 23-year-old Hamilton replied: "It's not correct, no.

"I am very content with my management team."

Source: GMM
© CAPSIS International

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lewis: Next target is the Drivers' title

Re-published from Planet F1
Tuesday 8th July 2008

Having taken the lead in the standings with his victory in Sunday's British GP, Lewis Hamilton is determined to hold on to win this year's World title.

The McLaren driver entered this year's Championship with three goals in mind: win in Monaco, win in Britain and win the World title. Now having achieved two of those he has set his sights on clinching number three, the World title.

After nine races the Brit is tied with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen on 48 points in the Championship. Hamilton, however, takes the lead as even though all his results as the same as Massa's, he has one P10 finish to the Brazilian's DNF.

"It is straight back to work for me. I have a World Championship to win," the McLaren driver, who flew to Hockenheim on Monday to take part in a pre-Germany test, told The Sun.

"I've ticked off Monaco, I've ticked off winning the British Grand Prix. Now I've got to tick off winning the World Championship. Those were the targets for this season.

"Winning at Silverstone has given me a massive boost and great momentum. I'm in a good spot now but I have to keep on scoring points.

"I've got to take it race by race and just try to continue this. We know we have great performance with the car."

Hamilton also now knows that he's made of sterner stuff having faced a tough trail by media ever since his disasterous Canadian GP.

The 23-year-old, though, put the pressure of being in the media's spotlight as well as the fun and games that included dinner with Nelson Mandela behind him to focus all his attention on winning at Silverstone and in doing so silenced his critics.

"I know F1 looks all glitz and glamour but this sport is incredibly tough," he said.

"Silverstone was the biggest challenge of my life. It was a day to be fearless and I was. The race was hard-core and I'll never forget it.

"This showed I have the best concentration and I am the strongest. It is easy to get carried away with leading this life - meeting people like Nelson Mandela, which blew me away, then having to bring yourself back down to earth.

"But I have shown my pedigree. I have shown everyone I can keep my nerve."

He added: "It's awesome but I also feel humbled.

"To be included up there with greats such as Jackie Stewart and Ayrton Senna, not that I would claim that myself, is one of the reasons I've pushed so hard throughout my motorsport career."

Monday, July 7, 2008


Congrats to Lewis for winning the British GP with such a commanding lead - 68.5 seconds infront of Heidfeld. Unfortunate for Heikki though. Yesterday's race was the best race of the season so far I think. The rain helped a lot.

Actually the rain showed that Lewis is quite good in the wet. And so is Rubens. It was non-stop action all the way and I was glued to the TV.

After watching how Lewis drove yesterday and his reaction/demeanour after the race, I saw that he has gone back to his attitude from last year. He was cool, listened to instructions and focused on the bigger picture, which is to finish. He didn't take unnecessary risks though as some points in the race it looked as if he might overdrive again. He didn't have to prove that he was a gung-ho hero of a driver. It's more important to finish and win than do an incredible overtaking move but not finish.

I hope he keeps this up. I remember last year 2007 when I sent him off at the airport, I told him just focus on the driving. Discipline is extremely important. And don't forget the little people you've met along the way. He must've heard me. But maybe not the part about the little people. Hmmm....

Ron: Disciplined Lewis answered his critics

Re-published from Planet F1.
Sunday 6th July 2008

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis has hailed Lewis Hamilton's "well disciplined" drive to victory in Sunday's British GP.

Having failed to score a single point in his last two race, Hamilton was under pressure to perform at Silverstone, his home race. And rather than buckle under that pressure, Hamilton came to the fore, mastering the wet conditions on the way to his third win of the season.

The Brit clinched the victory by 68.5 seconds over second placed Nick Heidfeld, although Dennis reckons he had the pace to go faster if necessary.

"It was very disciplined," Dennis told ITV. "We had to really, really keep the pace down.

"He could have gone much quicker and the last 15 laps he was complaining at having to drive too slowly. It's very easy to make mistakes in those conditions."

The McLaren team boss also reckons Hamilton has answered his critics with his performance on Sunday afternoon.

"It's tough because you try to do your best all the time and we're surrounded by armchair experts who constantly apply pressure, and you just have to put it out of your mind and concentrate on the job," said the McLaren boss.

"He's done a good job."

Lewis: By far the best victory ever

Re-published from Planet F1.
Sunday 6th July 2008

Lewis Hamilton has hailed his phenomenal victory in Sunday's British GP as "by far the best" he's ever had.

While some of his rivals faltered and came up short in the wet after opting not to change their tyres, McLaren and their star driver held their collective nerve.

To a standing ovation from a sold-out Silverstone crowd, Hamilton took the chequered flag a full minute ahead of second placed Nick Heidfeld, and in doing so moved into joint first in the Drivers' Standings.

"It is by far the best victory I've ever had," said the 23-year-old. "The conditions were bad and as I was driving I thought, 'If I win this, it will be the best race I've ever done'.

"On my last lap, I could see the crowd starting to rise to their feet, and I was just praying, praying, praying I could get the car round."

The Brit paid tribute to his team and his family. "The team did a fantastic job but I would like to dedicate this win to my family," he said.

"We've had some struggles over the past few weeks, it's been tough. But my family is always there for me."

Hamilton, who becomes the first Englishman to win the British Grand Prix since Johnny Herbert in 1995, added: "This morning, I wasn't feeling great.

"It wasn't until I got to the track and I saw family, friends and fans, and I started to get energy, so I have to say thanks to all of them."

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Today's qualifying session (including Free Practice 3) was topsy-turvy. It was incredible to see Glock, Vettel, Bourdais, Coulthard and other midfielders taking turns to post P1 or P2 in-between the top 4 (Hamilton, Kovalainnen, Massa and Raikkonen).

But I have noticed a worrying trend with Lewis. It seems that he's overdriving his car and making mistakes. I've noticed it for the last couple of races. And I've noticed that his mood and character has changed also. He seems distracted and lets his frustration at making one mistake lead to making more.

I notice that he's been making mistakes since Canada, Magny-Cours and now Silverstone. At today's qualy session, his race engineer told him over the radio "do not overdrive, do not overdrive" and he did. I also notice that he overdrives over the last turn, touching the grass, everytime, every lap.

As a friend and a fan, I'd advise him to cool down and listen to the people around him. Get back that cool from last year. And maybe even consider an outsider to train in handling the pressure. Anthony can be the manager and have the final say but an unattached outsider would make sense to talk him down, to teach him to focus again.

Lewis, I know I'm one of the little people, a nobody. But since I'm an outsider, I can see things you can't. And I'm telling you, better stand back and take a good look at what's happening around you if you want to become world champion.

Oh BTW, congrats to Heikki for his first pole. I knew he could do it after he showed just how competitive he was in my F1 Simulator at KL Hilton this year.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stewart: Lack of communication cost Lewis - NEWS

Re-published from Planet F1
Tuesday 1st July 2008

Sir Jackie Stewart believes Lewis Hamilton would have been heading into Sunday's British Grand Prix still in charge of the Formula One World Championship but for a lack of clear communication.

Hamilton was on top of the world after his win in Monaco, but has since fallen from grace after mistakes in Canada and France.

Driving into the back of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in the pit lane in Montreal resulted in a 10-place grid penalty for France, where his pursuit of points resulted in a drive-through penalty.

Three-time former world champion Stewart feels a wise, level head within the McLaren team would have served Hamilton well at both races, and seen him in the headlines for the right reasons.

But as Stewart admits, finding a pit-wall engineer willing to take on the role of psychologist is virtually impossible.

"One of the biggest and most important elements is communication, and there is enough of that going on," said Stewart, in his role as global ambassador for RBS at the Royal Automobile Club in London.

"Look at the accident in Montreal where there was so much publicity about Lewis, and with Nico (Rosberg), but not so much.

"How did that happen? Simply because there was so much distraction, so much interference going on in their young heads that they didn't hear the message 'the pit lane is closed, the red light is on'.

"Lewis had pulled away from the rest of the field and was enjoying a dream drive, whilst Nico, in a very competitive car, was possibly on for a podium.

"Then the Safety Car came out, and I don't care who you are, you are going to be upset and annoyed by that.

"When he came in, he needed to be talked down mentally, and that is almost a psychiatrist's job. That is where a coach comes in.

"The man who should be talking to him is a man who specialises in good, clear communication, who knows when to a put an emphasis on a certain word.

"You have to bring the guy's head down so when he accelerates out of there, you tell him, 'The red light is on, do you understand?'.

"The blame Lewis and Nico received was all on their shoulders, and that was wrong because the team should have ensured the message was clear."

With Hamilton seemingly offered little advice, he has been left to his own devices, and that has led to him being gung-ho rather than ice cool.

"The discipline of not making mistakes is what wins, because to finish first, first you have to finish," added Stewart.

"You look at my record - 27 wins from 99 races. I don't think I was necessarily that fast, it was just that I thought fairly carefully. You had to go quickly, but you couldn't go over the top.

"Drivers shouldn't go over the top, even now, but I think that has probably taken the world championship lead away from Lewis at the moment."

Stewart, like many others, points to the role Michael Schumacher enjoyed with technical director Ross Brawn at first Benetton, but more notably Ferrari.

"They had a unity of when to speak and when not to speak (during a race), and they talked a lot," remarked Stewart.

"Many of the teams today, they send the drivers to school on how to appear, how to be able to speak, and when to say this and that.

"But a racing team should be doing the same thing within their communication system. An engineer needs to be educated in that as much as the driver in my opinion.

"Teams might say they don't need that, but they do because that is there only contact with a driver whilst a number of things are going on."

Stewart has also urged Hamilton to avoid taking on the media, as he did ahead of the race in France following critical headlines in the wake of his Montreal mistake.

Stewart feels that will only detract from his performance on track, adding: "It's important not to become emotionally disturbed because when you are like that, you say things you wish you had never said.

"You certainly don't take on the media. You can't do it. There's no point. That's fact.

"You can maybe try to correct things, but not by telling them they are all rubbish.

"Lewis would not be here today doing what he is doing if he had not had the media on his side. It's as simple as that."

Hamilton: It's all to play for - NEWS

Re-published from Planet F1
Wednesday 2nd July 2008

Lewis Hamilton believes he needs to rediscover the consistency of his rookie season if he is to bounce back in the battle for this year's Drivers' Championship.

Hamilton has thrown away points at three race weekends this season after mistakes in Bahrain, Canada and France, and the McLaren driver admits better performances are needed as the season reaches its midway point with this weekend's British Grand Prix.

Superb wins in Australia and Monaco have kept the 23-year-old in the title hunt, however, and he sits just 10 points shy of Championship leader Felipe Massa after eight rounds.

The Ferrari driver tops the standings on 48 points, two clear of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica and five ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, but Hamilton believes there is everything still to play for ahead of his home race.

"There isn't one driver who's comfortably ahead; I've had a few no-scores but so also have the two Ferrari drivers," Hamilton told the official Formula One website.

"I think consistency is going to be important as we head into the second half of the season, but I'm only 10 points behind Massa and the maths is clear - you can make that up in a single race if all the cards fall in the right way.

"You can never take anything for granted. And that's why I'm still confident and focused. We've got 10 races remaining, 100 points - it's all to play for; and I'm ready for it."

Hamilton's race in France last time out was ruined by a drive-through penalty imposed for straight-lining a corner as he attempted to pass Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap.

His position in the midfield was the result of a 10-place grid penalty handed down for crashing into the back of Raikkonen in the pit lane at the previous round in Canada, and Hamilton's misery was compounded as Ferrari eased away to a one-two finish.

Ferrari are looking increasingly formidable as the European season gets into full swing, but Hamilton is adamant the Prancing Horse can be reined in at Silverstone.

"Ferrari will be strong, but not unbeatable," he continued. "We've got a great package, we've worked hard on performance in high-speed corners and I'm confident ahead of the race."

He added: "I love racing at Silverstone and look forward to the British Grand Prix for two reasons. Firstly, it's my home race and it has a special place in my heart. Secondly, it's just an amazing track. Some of the corners are incredibly fast.

"Silverstone will be one of the highlights of my year and I hope I can make it special.

"Having said that, our competitors will be trying every bit as hard as we will, and I have great respect for them."