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GP Week : Issue 36
>>F1 INSIGHT #2 – Lewis Hamilton – McLaren THE world champion comes in at number two in our list but by only the slimmest of margins. There was so little to choose between the championship rivals that it all came down to the final corner or the final lap of the final Grand Prix of the season. And for once, luck was on Lewis’side. Hamilton had by far the more controversial season of the championship contenders as talk of FIA bias towards Ferrari and against McLaren once again reared its ugly head. Spa was a disgrace and led to Hamilton losing one of the most exciting and deserved wins of his career. That the rule on heeding an unfairly gained advantage had to be re-written following the stewards’ ruling in order to clarify what they had decided showed just how dodgy their decision had been. Then there was Japan and the first corner incident, not to mention the debatable call to penalise Bourdais that lifted Massa a point higher. It was little things like this that made Hamilton’s life hard. He had his driving style called into question after Monza and his maturity lambasted after he ran into Raikkonen in the pits at the Canadian GP. In 2008 Lewis Hamilton courted as much controversy as he did success. But succeed he did, and not without merit. It was in rising above all of the superfluous asides that he impressed the most. His ability to just get in the car and do the job was what set him apart from his rivals. When the World Championship points were counted, and in spite of the fairly gained points he had seen unfairly stripped from him, his was the championship … by that single point through which he had lost the crown last season. At 23 he is the youngest champion we may ever see in Formula 1. And he’s driving like a veteran already. 39