I’m an unashamed Lewis Hamilton and McLaren fan, so it should come as no surprise that I’m extremely worried about the upcoming 2009 season after the testing that went on in Barcelona last week.
The following is a list of best lap times from the 4 day testing session on Barcelona last week, courtesy of F1 Fanatic:
1 Rubens Barrichello Brawn GP BGP001 1′18.926 (221 laps)
2 Jenson Button Brawn GP BGP001 1′19.’127 (212)
3 Nico Rosberg Williams FW31 1′19.774 (209)
4 Timo Glock Toyota TF109 1′20.091 (260)
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari F60 1′20.168 (201)
6 Robert Kubica BMW F1.09 1′20.217 (248)
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari F60 1′20.314 (136)
8 Nick Heidfeld BMW F1.09 1′20.338 (223)
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB5 1′20.576 (185)
10 Fernando Alonso Renault R29 1′20.664 (272)
11 Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-24 1′20.869 (156)
12 Kazuki Nakajima Williams FW31 1′20.907 (177)
13 Jarno Trulli Toyota TF109 1′20.937 (242)
14 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso STR4 1′21.013 (213)
15 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India VJM02 1′21.045 (238)
16 Mark Webber Red Bull RB5 1′21.347 (183)
17 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso STR4 1′21.629 (127)
18 Nelson Piquet Jnr Renault R29 1′21.662 (126)
19 Adrian Sutil Force India VJM02 1′21.834 (211)
20 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren MP4-24 1′21.991 (178)
Highlighted in bold are the times of the two McLaren drivers which are terrible. Who’d have thought that World Champion Lewis Hamilton would be only the 11th fastest of the 20 drivers, with Ferrari, BMW and Brawn GP having both their drivers faster than him. There were rumours that McLaren were sandbagging after previous poor testing times but they have since come out and admitted that they are having problems – no, really?
The other big story of testing is the superb performance of the Brawn GP cars, driven by Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button. Last year this was Team Honda and they went into the 2008 season waving the white flag, reasoning that they were working towards the 2009 season. The worldwide recession hit and Honda close to get out of Formula 1, so in stepped Ross Brawn, into what looks like a title contending Grand Prix team. For years people have been saying that Jenson Button is a great driver being kept down by poor cars, well, if testing is anything to go by then this could be his year to hopefully prove those people right.
In closing, McLaren are a huge team and there are still 2 weeks until the first race of the season in Australia. I am hoping that they will get their problems sorted and will be the force they can and should be. No matter what happens, this year more than ever, Lewis Hamilton is going to have to prove all his doubters wrong and show them he is a great driver and his success doesn’t come solely from behind the wheel of a great car.