Archive for December, 2007

Heikki Kovalainen Joins Lewis Hamilton At McLaren

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Heikki Kovalainen is going to be Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate at the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team for the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship.

Heikki Kovalainen who previously raced for Renault has done a seat swap with Fernando Alonso to join McLaren with a long term contract.

I think Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton are going to be a great team for the coming seasons – best of luck to them!

Here’s what Heikki Kovalainen had to say:

I am so excited to join a team like Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. So far I have been blown away by the dedication and commitment to winning, which is clear through the entire organisation, and I am really excited about our joint future.

As a Finn it’s an honour for me to follow in Mika and Kimi’s footsteps. I haven’t really spent a lot of time with Lewis so far but from what I know I think we will work well together and do our best for the team. I am really looking forward to 2008 and working with Heikki as my team-mate. Together with the team we will do everything we can to ensure that our championship challenge is as strong and focused as possible.

My first year in Formula 1 was incredible and I was so fortunate to spend it with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and I hope that Heikki will enjoy his first year with the team as much as I did mine.

Lewis Hamilton Is Already Back Testing In Jerez

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Lewis Hamilton has returned to his testing duties in Jerez, Spain – for the first time without driver aids, that’s no traction control – as of the 2008 season no driver aids are sure going to be interesting. Of 73 laps he tested Lewis set the day’s fastest lap of 1:19.371s .

Here’s what Hamilton had to say:

It was pretty cool to be back behind the wheel of my car again today, it has felt like a very long time since the Brazilian Grand Prix, I have missed my car!

I have really kick started my preparations for the 2008 season today and there are only 101 days to go until Australia, I know the time is going to go really quickly, but I am feeling pretty impatient already.

It was the first time I have driven the car without driver aids and it was good fun. It does feel quite different and of course there is some adapting to do in driving style, but in GP2 we didn’t have driver aids, so I have some recent experience of it.

We also did some work on aero and chassis developments for next year’s car.

Interesting Questions & Answers With Lewis Hamilton

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

I just came across in interesting Q&A with Lewis Hamilton – from

Lewis Hamilton famously first attended the Autosport Awards in 1995 as a young karter to collect his first major trophy. That night has been etched into folklore, however, for the manner in which the then youngster approached Ron Dennis and told him that he wanted to race for McLaren in the future.

Hamilton returned to the Awards this year as the same polite, amusing and interesting person – but of course with slightly more interest surrounding him. And after becoming the first man in the history of the Awards to capture three trophies in one night, he spoke on stage to reflect on that night 12 years ago as well as his rookie season in Formula One.

What do you remember about your early years at the Autosport Awards?

Lewis Hamilton: As you know I have had an amazing season, but it is quite strange standing here. In 1995 when I came here to receive my first trophy, I went up to Ron and said I wanted to race his car and be world champion. I have come so far with the support of my family, and standing here after my first full season in F1 is just unreal. I am just as nervous as I was when I was 10 years old…

So what do you remember of that conversation. Did you have to grab him, was there a queue?

LH: There was no queue. My dad said, ‘There is Ron Dennis¦.” And as a young 10-year-old, all I can I remember is the McLarens were red and white and he was the boss. It was a good conversation. He gave me plenty of time and he is still the same guy.

Who were the personalities who impressed you back then?

LH: For this evening and the past couple of months the most difficult thing has been Colin McRae. I remember the first time I came here I was up in the bar and he was one of the first guys I met. I was into rallying and he was the man I wanted to be.

He was such a character. I was 10-years-old and he was trying to get me a drink! I always remember that night because he gave me so much time. I missed Ayrton Senna by a year, but I was fortunate to get around to see some other people.

You have had an extraordinary season. What was it like heading into Melbourne?

LH: Well, the first year, (after) working so hard to get there, I didn’t feel like a rookie. I was given such a great opportunity so I grabbed it with both hands.

My engineer and I at McLaren, we made sure we didn’t leave a stone unturned so we could go to the first race as well prepared as we could. So I got to the first race and, for sure, probably the other guys didn’t anticipate me being so quick – which is a good thing to catch them by surprise!

That was how I probably did so well at the first corner, but I think they caught on after that. I was given a lot of respect, but they quickly realised I wasn’t here to mess around.

For you what was the high-spot – the first win, the first pole?

LH: It is difficult to say if there was one particular high spot. To be honest it was an amazing rollercoaster. To get to the first grand prix and to get the first podium is something you can only dream of.

And then to continue that, and to finally get the first win and first pole – I really remember that. I had nearly put it in the wall but managed to get the lap. It really was just an amazing emotional ride throughout the year.

What would you say was your best overtaking move?

LH: Probably Monza. I really just wanted to do a 1-2 for the team, so I had to make sure I got past Kimi (Raikkonen). I had two laps to do it with brand new tyres and he was on old tyres as he had only done one pit stop. I didn’t actually realise until I saw the replay how far back I was.

It didn’t work out in the last few races of the season. What lessons do you take from that in 2008?

LH: To always keep your head up. I went into those last races and what was important was that I still had support from the team. And with all the problems we had to deal with, the atmosphere within the team to support me remained the same. It really showed that if you work, keep your head down and stay focused you can achieve it.

You can’t win all the time, but you have to lose to learn how to win. We didn’t get the championship, but perhaps it was a good thing. So we will be working twice as hard next year.

By Jonathan Noble Source