Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher

After all that that McLaren Mercedes haves been through in recent months - investigations by the FIA and the Italian police, a humiliating admission of cheating and the biggest fine in sporting history - few thought that the team would be able to produce a winning driver/car combination from the word go this season.

But an exhaustingly dramatic Australian Grand Prix proved that, despite all the distractions, the proud Woking-based team, run by Ron Dennis, have kept their eyes on the ball, while Lewis Hamilton, their superstar young driver, has got even better.

By winning the first race of 2008 and seeing his rivals at Ferrari falter, Hamilton has got his second season under way in fine style. What is more, Heikki Kovalainen, Hamilton's new team-mate, had an excellent debut and, but for the slings and arrows of luck (having to go into the pits for fuel under the safety car), the Finn could well have made it a McLaren one-two.

As it was, Kovalainen finished fifth after a memorable drive during which he made the move of the day on Fernando Alonso, the Renault driver, in the closing stages, only to give it back to the Spaniard when accidentally hitting the pitlane speed-limiter button on his steering wheel. “Next time, I'll stay ahead,” Kovalainen said, ruefully.

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