Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kimi Raikkonen was the only deserving winner. Not Lewis Hamilton, nor Fernando Alonso

Everbody has said, and quite rightly, that Kimi Raikkonen is the deserving world champion in 2007. I totally agree. Where I disagree entirely is when one says Lewis Hamilton would have been an equally deserving world champion. Kimi did not only have to fight Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, he also had to fight the FIA that looked like it was trying its best to ensure that Hamilton wins. Let me explain in greater detail.

Cast your minds back to the European GP. Hamilton beached his car in the rains. He was crane-lifted back on to the track so that he could resume racing and score some points. This was absolutely uncalled for. Did this not seem to be some sort of favouritism in favour of the new-comer?

Let’s move to Monza now, the Italian GP. He overtakes Felipe Massa on Lap 1, turn 1 by cutting the chicane. But the stewards and the FIA decide to look the other way. Had any other driver cut chicanes they would have been put under scrutiny, but with Hamilton it seemed like Caesar’s wife is beyond suspicion. He can do whatever he wants on a race-track.

More recently, at Interlagos, during the first free-practice session. Hamilton, Honda's Jenson Button, and Super Aguri's Takuma Sato were deemed to have used two sets of wet weather tyres during the first free practice session at Interlagos, in breach of the Sporting Regulations. Article 25.3 of the F1 Sporting Regulations states: "No driver may use more than one set of wet and one set of extreme weather tyres during P1 and P2." There was no grid penalty for the Golden Boy, he was fined $15,000. There was no way the FIA would ruin his chances of winning the championship. Moral of the story? If you want to break the rules, break them with Hamilton to ensure no penalties.

Now, for the Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton comes up with a beautiful and novel way of keeping his tyres warm. He might not have done it intentionally, but he did something that could have ruined some other drivers’ race. It was a mistake for which he should have been penalized. After all, other drivers have been penalized for making the same mistake. But no penalties for Hamilton.

How would this person have been a deserving world champion? Another big reason why neither Hamilton, nor Alonso should have been allowed to compete for the world drivers’ championship was that they both gained unfair advantage over the other drivers because of what McLaren was involved in. Because McLaren cheated for an advantage, they were docked off all the constructors’ points. Why not the drivers too? If I were to use this yardstick in cricket, this thing’s equivalent would have been had the South African players been allowed to play international cricket for their individual records when the country had been banned from cricket due to apartheid.

It is poetic justice that the deserving driver, Kimi Raikkonen won the championship. And it is poetic justice that Ferrari won the constructors’ championship. They would have won it even if McLaren would have been allowed to compete. Let me explain how. Ferrari got 204 points (Kimi 110 + Massa 94) and McLaren would have had 203 points. Hamilton 109 + Alonso 109 = 218; minus the 15 points that were stripped off McLaren for the Hungarian GP qualifying fiasco, that would bring McLaren’s score at 203 after the Brazilian GP, one point lesser than Ferrari.

The only deserving team and the only deserving driver won the titles. Neither McLaren, nor Lewis Hamilton, nor Fernando Alonso deserved anything this season.

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