Amongst speculation that he may go elsewhere, 2 time former World Champion Fernando Alonso has signed with Renault for another 2 years. Given the progress Renault made in the 2nd half of the season and the fact that all the competitive teams have their drivers signed up for the 2009 season, this announcement comes as no surprise. What may surprise some is that he has signed for 2 years. Neither Kimi Raikkonen or Felipe Masa is contracted for the 2010 season and Ferrari is the team Alonso has been linked with on numerous occasions.
Also not going to Ferrari is 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton. Though his short term future is set with McLaren, through to the end of the 2012 season, Edie Ervine said earlier this week that Hamilton must drive for Ferrari at some point in his career. Hamilton yesterday confirmed what he has always said, that he wants to stay at McLaren and has no plans to ever drive for Ferrari.
Returning to Team Renault, it was announced yesterday that Nelson Piquet would be returning as Alonso’s team mate in 2009. Having a somewhat troubled season, the rookie improved in the 2nd half of the season, much like his esteemed team mate, and obviously did enough to secure his drive for 2009.
He had to finish 5th, he qualified 4th, he finished 5th…just!
What a way to end a Grand Prix season – the title was Hamilton’s and then it seemed to slip away as Vettel passed him and Glock didn’t pit – had it all gone wrong, again? As Hamilton’s many fans watched on in dismay the impossible (or not as it would seem) happened as Hamilton passed a very slow Glock to come in 5th and claim the World Championship. Ahead of him, and almost an afterthought, Masa finished his season with the victory in Sao Paulo and 2nd place in the Driver’s Championship.
Hamilton deserved to win, Massa deserved to win – we are guaranteed one heck of a season in 2009, especially with the improvements Renault have made and Alonso behind the wheel of that much improved car.
Congratulations Lewis Hamilton, 2008 Formula 1 World Champion, the youngest ever.
After a mistake in his penultimate lap of Q3 it looked like Hamilton could have some chasing to do at the start of the Chinese Grand Prix tomorrow, but a lightning quick last lap saw him streak to his 7th pole position of the season, more than 3 tenths of a second ahead of closest rival Kimi Raikkonen.
However, things are not as rosy as they seem; Hamilton shares the front row of the grid with 2007 Champion and team-mate of Felipe Masa, Kimi Raikkonen. Sitting in the second row of the grid are Hamilton’s current Championship challenger and Raikkonen’s Ferrari team-mate, Felipe Masa as well as Hamilton’s ex-team-mate Fernando Alonso. Alonso said this week that he will try to help Masa win the Championship. In 5th place, and lining up in the 3rd row on the grid, is Hamilton’s team-mate at McLaren and nearest ally, Heikki Kovalainen.
If Hamilton doesn’t get a good start tomorrow he could be in for the fight of his life and it’ll be time to truly test his mettle and rise to meet the expectations of his many fans, and shut the critics up. Hamilton can seek solace in the fact that Robert Kubica, who is currently 3rd in the Championship and statistically the only driver other than Masa who can beat Hamilton for the Championship, qualified in a lowly 11th place.