A Look at History: Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, and Kubica at China 2007

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A Look at History: Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, and Kubica at China 2007

They say history repeats itself. I am not sure who "they" are, but I hope they are correct.

Last year, at China, the emotional hemorrhage that played out is almost a mirror image of this coming weekend. Everyone's nerves are frayed, and again two players in this high-speed political ballet are the same.

Robert Kubica stands out as the anomaly in this rendition of historical replays. If we look at the data kindly supplied by Formula One, we see this. These are the Q1 through Q3 lap times of the big boys last year.  

1

2

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren-Mercedes

  1:35.798

 1:35.898

 1:35.908

 

2

6

Kimi Räikkönen

Ferrari

  1:35.692

 1:35.381

 1:36.044

 

3

5

Felipe Massa

Ferrari

  1:35.792

 1:35.796

 1:36.221

 

4

1

Fernando Alonso

McLaren-Mercedes

  1:35.809

 1:35.845

 1:36.576

 

 

Last year, rain played a big factor in tyre choice, and again there is currently a 40 percent chance of rain for Sunday. With that in mind, let's look at the fastest laps given when we had a mixed-weather-condition race:

 

 

 

Felipe Massa

Ferrari

 

 

 201.362

  1:37.454

 

 

Fernando Alonso

McLaren-Mercedes

 

 

 200.259

  1:37.991

 

 

Kimi Räikkönen

Ferrari

 

 

 199.660

  1:38.285

 

 

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren-Mercedes

 

 

  190.278

  1:43.131

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                       

As we can see, Lewis had a really bad time of it, and Felipe, even though he didn't win, had the quickest lap. All of these lap times were set late in the race, except for Hamilton, who retired on lap 30 while trying to pit on completely worn tyres.

Now, as I said, the odd-man out is Robert Kubica, but he suffered from a mechanical failure in China last year. So it is unfortunate we do not have his data to work with.

So Kimi apparently likes this track, as does Felipe and Fernando. Given the strength that Fernando has found in his Renault, and the newfound qualifying speed of Kimi that became evident at Fuji, it does leave Massa in a tough spot.

Felipe must score victories in both China, on a heavily used engine, and in Brazil, where first-lap mayhem is the norm. Hamilton just has to come in second in both races to win by one point. But given the strength of the other competitors, Hamilton cannot just sit back and take a ride.

I think this year's championship will not be dictated by Massa or Hamilton. Primarily, Kimi and Fernando have the biggest potential impact, but also the wild card in the championship, Kubica. If history does repeat itself, it lends a hand to Massa for this year's championship.

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