Three races into the 2008 title race and currently the constructor’s championship is very close at the top and the driver’s is pretty tight as well. We have three teams separated by a point from each; BMW lead with 30 points, Ferrari trail on 29 and McLaren have fallen to third, but still have a respectable 28 points. In the drivers; Kimi Raikkonen heads the table on 19 points with Nick Heidfeld in second on 16. Then Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen all share 14 points each. The final real possible contender is Felipe Massa who sits on 10 points thanks to his victory in Bahrain.
So the titles are close and from a personal standpoint I’m pleased the driver’s table consists of more than one or two teams. To have Nick Heidfeld up in the mix is fantastic and while the BMW drivers may not be so lofty come Brazil, their combined efforts could prove the Swiss-German team a class act this season.
The fact that Hamilton, team mate Kovalainen and Kubica all sit on equal points is fascinating. How many of us would have said that Lewis and Heikki would be equal by the end of the third round? Well, aside from me that is! Will it remain that way? It is unlikely, but having thought about it for a moment, the obvious route out of the tie may not be the correct one.
You wouldn’t be considered silly to suggest that Hamilton will edge away from Kubica and Kovalainen as the Formula One circus heads West. But given his lack of form in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix, and the relative pace of the Ferrari’s over the past two races, Kimi and Felipe aside I’m going to suggest that it’s the calm and quiet Kovalainen who starts to pick up a bit of momentum through April and May.
Last time around it was Massa who won convincingly in Spain, and while he could repeat his success I feel he will do well, but not as well. It is worth mentioning that while Ferrari were busy in Bahrain testing, McLaren were in Barcelona testing their machine on the bumpy Circuit de Catalunya. Regarding Monaco, the race was all about McLaren in 2007, both drivers performing well to claim a 1-2 finish. However, given the nature of the circuit I wouldn’t be surprised to see a BMW maiden win. If a BMW manages to get pole in the principality they could easily convert it as the track is more even in terms of car performance, and more reliant on car reliability and driver skill.
We shouldn’t discount Ferrari, nor should we discount the title favourites Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. But with the championship shaping up to be a tight battle of determination, skill, perseverance and bit of luck, I don’t think we can discount anybody from the top three teams at the moment. For once we may even end up with a genuine three-way fight for the constructors, and hopefully as many as possible for the driver’s crown.