Formula One showed us its future in this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Alonso, Raikkonen and Montoya all have the look of future world champions, comments CAR deputy editor John Bentley.
Formula One showed us its future in this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso, the youngest driver to top the podium in the almost 54-year history of the world championship, runner-up Kimi Raïkkönen and third-place man Juan Pablo Montoya all have the look of future world champions.
And, with three points covering the first three places on this year’s points log, two of them – Montoya and Raïkkönen – could realise that ambition by the end of the season.
The last decade has served up some close tussles for the title, but it’s a long time since we’ve had such a tight three-dog fight with just three rounds of the championship remaining. Right now, old pack-leader Michael Schumacher is under intense pressure from his two young challengers. Ferrari and Bridgestone seemingly have no answer to Williams-BMW, McLaren-Mercedes-Benz and Michelin, and Michael looks in need of a course of Vitagen.
But all that could turn around in front of the tifosi. Conventional logic suggests that Bridgestone should have the upper hand at only one of the remaining races, the final round at Suzuka, with the Michelin runners clear favourites for Monza and Indianapolis. But that doesn’t take into account the fighting spirit of an Italian team fighting back in its own back yard...
There are two main reasons why the battle for the title is so finely poised. One is the dramatic technological progress made by Michelin, facilitated by the fact that they are conducting development testing in co-operation with three top teams, Williams, McLaren and Renault, while Bridgestone’s fortunes are, to all intents and purposes, hitched to Ferrari alone.
The second is the unpredictability of the single-lap qualifying system – and the fact that the points log leader has to go out first, on a dirty track, in the Friday sessions. The fact that Michael Schumacher has had to go out first, race after race, at a time of the season when Ferrari is struggling, has really compromised his position in Saturday qualifying.
And the resulting poor starting positions have left the once-dominant Schumacher back in the pack, fighting for the scraps, while the youngsters take huge bites out of his lead. But does the wily old dog still have some tricks up his sleeve? – John Bentley
Original article from Car