Drivers target Hamilton again

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Drivers target Hamilton again

Mensaje  max_pole el Sáb Oct 18, 2008 10:36 am

Englishman criticised by Webber and Trulli ahead of China showdown
Dancing lions are a symbol of good luck and happiness in China, but as far as Lewis Hamilton was concerned yesterday the only animals he saw were paper tigers when he sat in the drivers' briefing.


Since his impetuous start to the Japanese Grand Prix in Fuji last weekend he has been criticised by former world champion Fernando Alonso and title contender Robert Kubica. Yesterday rivals Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber threw in their ten pennies' worth, though claims that either suggested that Hamilton would "kill another driver soon" have been wildly over-exaggerated.

The Italian said he intended to point out to race director Charlie Whiting that Hamilton had blocked him in last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix in Fuji.

"Lewis did not even watch the mirrors because he came back on the track right in front of me and held me up for two laps," Trulli said.

Webber, who was very vocal in his criticism of Hamilton in Fuji last year after crashing behind him during a safety car period, spoke out about the Englishman moving around under braking. In particular he cited his performance in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in September.

"You cannot move around in the braking areas like that," said Webber, a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association which Hamilton has long declined to join. "We lost a marshal at Monza [Paolo Ghislimberti, in 2001] when there were guys moving around in the braking areas and it is very hard to change your line if you don't know what is going to come. That is the only thing that we need to look at.

"The first corner in Fuji was pretty wild. He [Hamilton] was having a crack, but if someone had been sitting on his right rear when he pulled out then that was a crash.

"I am not smashing Hamilton but it is about how you move on. Tiger Woods learns. Roger Federer learns. And Lewis is going through that."

Kubica, who crashed heavily in Canada last year – ironically when Trulli changed his line – clarified his recent criticism of Hamilton in Monza.

"When one driver is overtaking another one and crossing his line just in front of his wheels, it's quite dangerous, especially if someone behind has to lift off. I have been involved in an accident in a similar situation in Canada and I know what it means when a front wheel hits a rear wheel and from my point of view it's quite dangerous.

"I just say this: while nothing happens everything is fine but if something happens then I think everyone will realise. That's all."

When push came to shove, however, nobody uttered a word of criticism in the briefing, apart from Trulli making an oblique reference to blue flags to Whiting.

"I do my talking on the track," Hamilton said, and yesterday he said a lot. He was the only driver to duck below the 1min 36secs mark, comfortably setting the pace in both practice sessions.

"From the moment we hit the track this morning, the car felt well balanced and positive – and that really allowed me to get into my day's programme without any problems," he continued. "No matter what we changed on the car, it just kept getting better and better and the grip and balance kept improving. This is the best possible way to kick off any weekend and has given me extra confidence for the next few days: I feel in a very good place right now."

McLaren have the same accommodation – Unit Six – as last year. Then, Alonso tore a door off its hinges during a tantrum. Yesterday things were calmer as Ron Dennis addressed his troops, urging each man: "To give 100 per cent and focus purely on what you can control in your own area of operation. That is why we are here and why we are leading the drivers' championship. We are doing a good job, and we need everyone to keep doing that."

Meanwhile, FIA president Max Mosley yesterday revealed his latest plot to cut costs. In a statement that delivered yet another blow to Formula One's credibility he revealed that he is inviting tenders for a standardised engine and transmission to be used from 2010. The purpose in pursuing such a route appears to be to control the motor manufacturers who bankroll the sport, and it is safe to say that it left aficionados who value the sport's traditions of technical excellence, variety and competition open-mouthed in incredulity. The cost-cutting aim has already been seriously undermined by the need for teams to pursue the ecological kinetic energy recovery systems that Mosley wants to see developed for 2009. These will cost millions of dollars, and if there is any area of a sport that is supposed to be the pinnacle that could benefit from standardisation, this would have been it.

Commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone said last night that he did not think manufacturers would withdraw if they could not make their own powerplants even though that has been a crucial performance differentiator for more than a century. "They have announced that they are trying to get people to use homologated engines," Ecclestone said. "We are just trying to get a level playing field. I don't see why they should leave. We are saving them an awful lot of money, I hope."

What commercial and marketing benefit BMW, for example, might see in winning with a Ferrari engine, has yet to be explained.

www.independent.co.uk

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