Whitmash: Hamilton could win before Button
Talking after the British Grand Prix, McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh has claimed that McLaren protégé Lewis Hamilton could win a Formula 1 race before compatriot Jensen Button. This could be more Whitmarsh-waffle or it could be the clearest sign yet that McLaren are considering putting Hamilton in the 2nd McLaren seat for 2007 because that's the only way you could believe this prediction coming true: If McLaren make a decent car next year there's just as much chance of Hamilton winning races as there is Alonso, meanwhile Jensen Button is committed long-term to Honda who don't seem to know their arse from their elbow at the moment.
The subject of who will race alongside Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2007 has been debated ever since McLaren made the shock announcement in the off-season that they'd signed Alonso for 2007. Personally I'd like to see Kimi stay because as a McLaren fan I think that would give them the strongest line-up possible, but it seems Kimi has had enough of his cars either breaking down, not being fast enough or both over the past four seasons. Coming into this season he must have thought he would have another chance to challenge for the World Championship like he did in 2005, but it hasn't turned out that way with Ferrari now the only realistic competition for Renault. He looked thoroughly disgruntled when his car stopped with an electrical failure in Monaco and didn't even look too impressed at his 3rd place finish at Silverstone. At this stage in his career it might be better for him to move to Ferrari or Renault if either option is available. And although I think Kimi can be trusted to put his maximum in every race (because obviously he wants to win just as much as the team does), it might still do the team good to have a complete change of drivers.
It seems almost certain that Juan-Pablo Montoya will be looking elsewhere for employment next season. It's not that he's a bad driver, but he just hasn't been at the sharp-end of the action nearly as often as Kimi and I doubt he'd be a match for Alonso either. It doesn't seem to me like there are any other current F1 drivers especially worth signing if you've got one of the three best drivers in F1, you're losing one of the others and the third is forever tied to Ferrari. When it comes to giving someone completely new a chance, I'd like to see Gary Paffet in the car ahead of Lewis Hamilton, but I fear that he's going to end up like Pedro de la Rosa at McLaren. It'll be a shame if that happens because he's got serious tallent, but the momentum is with Hamilton right now.
JPM seems far too inconsistent to be an F1 champion. Not fast, either. I can’t imagine McLaren wanting to hold on to him. He has looked all at sea for two seasons now, and I can’t imagine him staying around too much longer.
I think Kimi will do well at Renault or Ferrari. The couple of occasions where we have seen him win (when the car survived long enough to see the flag!) he has looked calm and in control, a lot like Alonso has of late. I wish we saw it more often, if only to reassure Kimi’s fans that he has what it takes to be a champion.
As a diehard Ferrari fan I shouldn’t be complaining too loudly about Renault’s domination of the constructors. It wasn’t so long ago that we were seeing the same story told in red…
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