Hamilton a Threat to Alonso

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Coming into the 2007 Formula One season, it was expected that Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will put in a good performance. The reason behind this is two-fold. First, McLaren showed that their new car is faster. The second reason is that two-time defending Formula One champion Fernando Alonso joined the British team.

During the previous two seasons, Alonso was able to take the championship from seven-time champion Michael Schumacher. And when he jumped from Renault to McLaren, it is expected that he will have a very good chance of winning his third consecutive driver's title.

It is expected that the race for the championship this year will be decided between Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen who moved from McLaren to Ferrari after Schumacher's departure. After seven races so far this season, Raikkonen ranked fourth behind teammate Felipe Massa. Alonso, on the other hand, is second in the standings behind his teammate - the rookie Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton is a 22-year old British driver who is the first driver of Caribbean or African descent to participate in a Grand Prix. He is also the youngest individual to secure a Formula One contract. The young driver has so far managed to take podium finishes in all of his seven Formula One races. He now leads the driver's championship race with 58 points and that is ten more than Alonso's.

Through the first five races of the season, Hamilton recorded one third-place finish and four second-place finishes. His consistency allowed him to take the distinction of being the youngest Formula One driver to lead the driver's championship. His first Formula One win came at the Canadian Grand Prix. At the same race, his teammate only managed to place seventh. At the United States Grand Prix, the young rookie sensation proved that his win in Canada is no fluke by scoring his second victory.

While both Alonso and Hamilton use similar Formula One cars with and Bridgestone tires, it was Hamilton who showed a greater driving prowess at the Canadian and United States Grand Prix.

The competition between Hamilton and Alonso on the track became the basis for speculations that the two divers are involved in a power struggle inside McLaren. To this speculation though, Alonso responded that he and Hamilton are friends. "We both are very competitive people and we try to beat each other," says the Spaniard. "We perform, I think, really close at this point of the championship. The 10 points I'm behind at the moment was mainly two races. I had problems with the brakes in Canada and I had the safety car when I had to pit, so the luck will also play a good factor in this championship, so I need to improve on that maybe."

Hamilton for his part downplayed the rumors that he is involved in a power struggle with Alonso. "Fernando has helped me and worked with me and he is a fantastic driver, a two-time world champion," he said. "There is still a long way to go in this championship."

Alonso reiterated that the relationship between him and his teammate is a pleasant one saying: "We are getting to know each other better now. There are some jokes I say to him, like, `You are lucky.' And he tells me that, too. At the moment, it's a very friendly relationship."

Top Searches on
Extreme Sports
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Extreme Sports