Magny-Cours analysis

So after the American GP, where I felt Hamilton showed a much better performance than Canada, holding off Alonso for the entire race, we get to the French GP.

Ferrari showed they had made up ground and showed the better speed in practice, early on there were a few interesting performances, with Red Bull putting in a good showing and Torro Rosso among others. Come qualifying things settled down though, with Renault showing some advances and Honda seeming not to of advanced as much as hoped. With the final session Alonso surprisingly pulled out, with gearbox problems. I thought that could prove interesting, as it gave Hamilton a chance to pull ahead in the championship, who then surprised by qualifying second and revealing the potential to of actually taken pole!

Come the race, a poor start saw Hamilton slip to 3rd and Raikonnen keen to advance, later taking the win by passing Massa in the 2nd round of pitstops. Alonso charged hard throughout the race but couldn’t seem to improve on 7th. Honda finally gained a point, with Button coming home 8th. It looks like Honda will begin to claw their way back, they are very good at playing the catch up game, but it’s a bit late in the day to do much, they need to start a season in a good position and then make advances like this. Things could get interesting if by the end of the season Super Aguri have more points, because where should Honda put their money then? Will the A and B team status have to swap?

For some unknown reason McLaren elected to swap Hamilton to a 3 stop strategy, at times making it look dangerously close to him coming 4th. In the end he maintained the 3rd slot, again climbing on to the podium.

I’m glad it was tougher race for Hamilton and he ‘only’ achieved 3rd, the expectation for the British GP would of been too great had he achieved the hat-trick, and if he can continue in this vein, going on to potentially win the championship would be a greater victory having faced genuine competition and adversity. It will also be interesting to see what Alonso now says after already starting to lose the plot a bit as he is falling behind. Like some of the greats before him (Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher) he doesn’t seem to take it well when beaten by his team mate. That situation could worsen as whilst McLaren like to let their drivers race, it will soon reach the point with a resurgent Ferrari where they will have to get behind one driver to preserve their chances, and currently one is clearly ahead of the other on points.

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