Saturday, June 07, 2008

Is Hamilton 3-stopping in Montreal?

After a short while away, I am back with my F1 analyses. I was sitting at the hairpin grandstands today (Saturday), so I could see - and hear - a little more than the TV coverage shows. Lewis Hamilton was definitely displaying great car control. He is the fastest driver this weekend. He is so fast that maybe McLaren decided to try a different strategy. It looks like he will make 3 pit stops tomorrow, or at least go for a very short first stint.

His McLaren certainly looked light, because of the way his car was oversteering coming into, in the middle and going out of the hairpin. If he was oversteering like that with a full tank, as the fuel lowers and the tyres go away, the tail will become looser and looser. If that is the case, Hamilton will have a hard time keeping the car on track tomorrow.

My belief at this point is that McLaren is searching for the extra edge that they need tomorrow by trying a different strategy. They have had problems with tyre consumption this whole year, so why not drive less laps with each set of rubber? Hamilton is probably light, and that seems like a good strategy.

Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, and Heikki Kovalainen seemed heavy. They were braking for the hairpin a little before than Hamilton. Robert Kubica seemed light - not as light as Hamilton. I could not 'read' Fernando Alonso, but if I had to guess, I would say that he is light. His braking point for the hairpin was before Hamilton's, but maybe that is because the Renault is not that good a car.

Whatever happens, the race tomorrow will be fun. Thanks to McLaren and Hamilton for adding excitement to the Canadian Grand Prix! Oh, did I mention that the forecast for tomorrow shows 60% chance of rain? It will be fun!

--Andre N.

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