Hamilton vs Kubica: battle continues

Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Melbourne, 2008, qualifying, 450150

Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica share the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix. The pair battled at Magny-Cours and clashed at Fuji last year – but they’ve been racing each other since they first met in karts nine years ago.

In 2004 the pair were team mates at the most prestigious race on the Formula 3 calendar – the Macau Grand Prix.

Kubica took pole from Hamilton in qualifying after the British driver crashed. Team boss John Booth said he was worried Hamilton was going to crash again in the morning warm-up and only let him do three laps while Kubica set a net lap record around the sinuous street circuit.

The event began with a qualification race to set the final grid and Kubica led away from Hamilton. But an audacious move around the outside of the first corner gave Hamilton a lead he was never to lose.

The hopes of a grand showdown between the two in the final were dashed early on. Nico Rosberg sprinted into the lead and as Hamilton harried him Rosberg hit the barriers and Hamilton was powerless to avoid him.

Kubica ended up second, less than 0.7s behind winner Alexandre Premat, the Frenchman who would be Rosberg’s team mate in GP2 in 2005, and Hamilton’s in 2006.

But the Hamilton and Kubica rivalry goes even further back than that. Kieran Crawley, who helped guide Hamilton through karting, explained some of the gamesmanship between the two at race starts Mark Hughes’s “Lewis Hamilton – The Full Story”:

You had to run the engine really slowly and adjust the carburettor as you sloed to a stop and it was quite a tricky thing to do – and Lewis was always stalling it. It would run too rich and oil up the plug. Kubica realised that this was a problem for Lewis and whenever they were at the front of the grid together, Kubica would slow the pace right-down to make it extra-difficult, sometimes even looking across at Lewis and laughing.

It was a problem so we took the kart to a building site in the evenings near where we were staying in Italy and we spent hour upon hour just practising it – until he got it. After that he was really good at it – and even managed to make Kubica stall once or twice!

There’s not much chance of either tricking the other into stalling tomorrow but this rivalry may last a lot longer if BMW prove quick enough.

More about Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica

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3 comments on Hamilton vs Kubica: battle continues

  1. I think one more year Lewis will have the enemy at home. Whith more fuel on the BMW we will be talking about Mclaren´s 1-2.
    Great web!, by the way.

  2. Ho hum, the usual guesses at BMW’s fuel strategy.  Kubica was light, yes, but Heidfeld wasn’t – that’s the way they always do it.  You’ll know when Theissen reckons Kubica is his better chance in the race when Heidfeld is the one to go light on fuel in qualifying.

    And Heidfeld wasn’t far behind – in fact, the top five are with half a second of each other with the rest well behind – so he is a serious threat for the race.

  3. And the best part of that strategy (BMW’s) is that Kubica may have forced Lewis into a last lap mistake and cost him pole. Hamilton has proved to be quite the cool customer under fire and unless he’s taken off track I look for him to take the win.

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