Lewis Hamilton takes a firmer grip of the 2007 Formula One World Championship by winning his second consecutive race in North America in front of thousands of adoring fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His victory from pole position sets him 10 points clear of his team mate and double World Champion Fernando Alonso while the Ferrari’s could do no better than maintaining grid position and finishing in third and fourth to pick up 11 points.
Lewis managed to hold position after the start despite a challenge from Alonso into turn one, and pulled out a 1.3s lead over his McLaren partner, while towards the midfield experienced drivers Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello had a coming together which saw all three drivers retire, Ralf and David with body damage and Rubens with a broken suspension.
From the first lap Lewis seemed to be in control and the rest of the field settled down into a race pace. Hamilton gleamed a small lead up to the first pit stops and matched Alonso’s pace tenth for tenth. The Spyker’s managed to do well, with Adrian Sutil passing half the field in the opening laps, while Super Aguri hero Takuma Sato ran wide at the first corner and deserted his car in the gravel trap.
All the time the McLaren’s were sharing fastest lap honours, they pulled out a large margin of the chasing Ferrari’s, and by lap 33 Felipe Massa fell to just over 14s behind the leader. It seems that the Scuderia just don’t have the pace to contend with the Woking squad and the race is really between Hamilton and Alonso.
Despite retiring from the race, Takuma Sato received a penalty for passing under yellow flags on the second lap and will take his ten grid slot penalty at the French Grand Prix. Anthony Davidson appears to have gained some of the Sato luck though, and is still running well. Lap 69 sees Nico Rosberg retire with engine failure, and Davidson makes a pass on Jenson Button in the Honda manufacturer car.
Sebasitan Vettel scores a world championship point on his debut for BMW, which is barely consolation for the Hinwil team as lead driver Nick Heidfeld spun during the race and eventually retired with a hydraulic leak. However, the young German will be pleased with his performance as he subbed for Robert Kubica, and the experience gained will be invaluable for the future.
Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen enjoyed a better race for the Anglo-French squad, out-qualifying and out-racing his team mate to finish in fifth. Fisichella could only manage a ninth from Indianapolis, and despite the team being on a measly 25 points, they could challenge BMW later in the season for third in the constructors.
Both Spyker’s finished their races, Sutil again getting the better of Albers. Although they were essentially last (Rosberg was classified as finishing despite suffering engine failure) the fact that both drivers made it to the finish is a distinct improvement. Also improving in America was Mark Webber, who faired better in qualifying and the race than he has done previously. The Red Bull’s had a good car at Indy, and it was a shame to see Coulthard out so early, but Webber managed to gain two points for the team as the circus heads back to Europe in a fortnight.
But all eyes are on Lewis Hamilton as he leads the title race, and interestingly, at minimum will continue to do so for the British Grand Prix next month. The young driver also makes his debut in a car on British soil at next weekends Goodwood Festival of Speed, so expect the hype to continue.
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