Correspondent's Thoughts: Can McLeod Keep His Cool in Windsor?

Sheiban ShakeriSenior Analyst IJune 10, 2009

It's almost a given in motorsports: the hometown hero in his first race will inevitably make a mistake somewhere, thus dampening the hopes of the home crowd.

We saw it with Lewis Hamilton in the 2007 British Grand Prix. After taking pole position in qualifying on the smallest of margins, he ended up making a costly error in the pits and came in third—not the finish the home crowd wanted, especially with plenty of flags and banners being waved for the English driver and against his double-world champion teammate, Fernando Alonso.

In the Red Bull Air Race, Paul Bonhomme made quite a few errors in London last year after allegedly spending more time with reporters rather than practicing. He ended up hitting a pylon—the first time for the Briton in a race or qualifying all year—and just couldn't keep his cool.

However, the two cases mentioned earlier are not necessarily indicative of Pete McLeod. Hamilton and Bonhomme were both at the top of the standings when these incidences happened and had a lot on their shoulders—McLeod has yet to register a world championship point.

Still, with the first air race held on Canadian soil, many Canadians would like to see their countryman outshine his rivals on the international scene.

But with the precedent of hometown heroes in motorsports messing up on their first try, can McLeod buck the trend?

In the October interview, McLeod appeared to be very mature about his prospects and acknowledged that his team was just as much a component to his prospects of being a champion by 30. But with this home race on his shoulders, will McLeod remember he's still learning?

Correspondent's Thoughts is a pre-race feature written by Sheiban Shakeri about a multitude of topics involving the Red Bull Air Race.