Hamilton and McLaren fear sabotage ahead of climax to Grand Prix season

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Hamilton and McLaren fear sabotage ahead of climax to Grand Prix season

Mensaje  max_pole el Dom Nov 02, 2008 2:22 pm

Lewis Hamilton's McLaren team have stepped up their security to prevent the 23-year-old British driver's bid to become the youngest world champion in Formula One history being sabotaged in Brazil.

As tension mounted ahead of Hamilton's showdown with Brazilian Felipe Massa in Sao Paulo this afternoon, a McLaren spokesman confirmed last night: 'We have extra security personnel and we have taken extra security measures.'


With Hamilton needing to finish fifth or better to clinch the title, three security staff will be stationed in the McLaren pits to guard against a repeat of last year when cables in the team's in-car radio were cut in the garage.

McLaren's IT staff have also produced new software to protect sensitive material from being accessed by hackers - or rivals.

Hamilton's ambition to begin the most critical race of his life from the front row today crumbled in yesterday's qualifying.

He finished in fourth spot while Ferrari's Massa claimed pole position - and a psychological edge - in front of a fanatical and partisan Brazilian crowd.

To worsen Hamilton's predicament, Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari is alongside him on the second row.

And Hamilton's bitter rival, Fernando Alonso, the man he drove out of McLaren during an acrimonious partnership last season, is positioned immediately behind him in the much-improved Renault.

Alonso has repeatedly said all week that he wants anyone to be champion 'except McLaren'.

Last night, Hamilton tried to mask his deep disappointment.

'I feel confident, I think we can win the race and the championship because I believe Felipe is running light on fuel,' argued Hamilton. 'But I don't need to do anything spectacular, just bring home some good points.'

Hamilton will be champion regardless of where Massa finishes providing the British driver completes the Brazilian Grand Prix in one of the top-five places.

But a carnival atmosphere prevailed in Sao Paulo last night as Massa was hoisted on to the shoulders of a jubilant crowd in the paddock.

'The pressure is on Lewis - I have nothing to lose,' said Massa. 'It's all about the moment without putting any pressure into my own mind, and I know what I have to do. From the outside there is always big expectation, big pressure, but just because I am fighting for the championship and this is my home race, I am not going to change my approach.

'Instead, the energy I receive is huge. It gives me extra motivation, so whether the expectation is positive or negative, I try to use that and turn it into good energy.

'That's what I have been doing throughout the whole week, and what I will do even more ahead of the race.'

The Brazilian's British engineer, Rob Smedley, added: 'All the pressure is on McLaren - and pressure does funny things, especially in the cockpit at 300kph.'

Just 12 months ago, Hamilton surrendered a seven-point advantage in the championship after he became embroiled in a scrap with Alonso at the outset of the grand prix.

Hamilton must hope that the forecast for rain during this afternoon's race is accurate, because he has excelled in the wet to claim victories in Monaco, Silverstone and Belgium this season.

Last night Massa would have slept more comfortably - but Hamilton still holds the upper hand if, unlike last year, he can retain his composure to deny the Brazilians a carnival of the like unseen since the late Ayrton Senna was idolised across the nation.
www.dailymail.co.uk

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