While Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso may rue their misfortunes, Kimi Raikkonen will be relieved that his brushes with chance (car failure at Catalunya and N?ā??rburging) were, in the end, not enough to knock him off course in the championship.
Montreal: Alonso and the safety car
For me, the cruellest twist of fortune for any of the championship contenders this year.
The rule against pitting under the safety car is a controversial one. Like so many of the safety car rules it’s basically borrowed from American racing. But where safety car periods are common in the likes of the Indy Racing League, they aren’t over here, and a mis-timed pit stop in F1 can be disastrous.
Alonso was already on his way to the pits when the first safety car period began in Montreal, and his penalty played a large part in dropping him to seventh at the flag. Apart from Nico Rosberg at the same race, it hasn’t happened to another front runner all year.
Monte-Carlo: Hamilton trips over Webber
Despite carrying several more laps of fuel than Alonso in qualifying, Hamilton might well have pipped him to the crucial Monte-Carlo pole had he not been held up briefly by Mark Webber.
Had the McLarens started the other way around in the race, they might have finished that way too.
Magny-Cours: Gearbox woe for Alonso
Alonso’s only significant car problem of the year, but it confined him to tenth on the grid at a track where overtaking is tough. He gave it his best shot, muscling past Nick Heidfeld in magnificent style, but finished only seventh.
Nurburgring: Everything goes wrong for Hamilton
I wrote an entire post about the many twists of fortune Hamilton suffered at the Nurburgring. In the end, what started it all was his crash in qualifying on Saturday, caused by a faulty wheel gun, that left him tenth on the grid. After that came the great start, the puncture, the spin, the crane, the tyre blunder etc, the lapping…
Hungaroring: Alonso’s Schumacher moment
Alonso was clearly furious at Hamilton refusing to let him past at the start of qualifying in Hungary, as the team confirmed Hamilton was supposed to.
Had he not chosen to take the law into his own hands and block Hamilton later on, Alonso would have started the race second at worst and could have expected to have finished in the same race, becoming champion.
Istanbul: Hamilton’s tyre failure
Hamilton’s second car failure of the year came when his right-front tyre disintegrated in Istanbul. He fell from third to fifth, losing two points that in the end was the difference between him and the championship.
- Hamilton’s rollercoaster weekend
- Video: Hamilton uninjured in qualifying crash
- Debate: Was Hamilton’s restart legal?
- Raikkonen’s reliability woes continue