Hamilton hoping he’s headed for a hat-trick
DRIVERS’ championship leader Lewis Hamilton expects some tough competition at this weekend’s European Grand Prix, but claimed he has some “unfinished business” at the Valencia street circuit.
The 2008 champion has led team-mate and fellow Briton Jenson Button in two consecutive one-two victories for McLaren and believes that his team are in great shape to extend their lead at the top.
Hamilton has set his sights on a third consecutive win, but warned that it won’t be easy and expects another exciting race.
“I’m looking forward to racing in Valencia.” said Hamilton, “I had a great, attacking race there last year, but I’ve finished second for the past two seasons, so I feel like I have some unfinished business.
“It’s not a circuit where we’ve seen too much passing in the past, but I think this year could be different — the grid is so tight, there were battles all through the field in Montreal last week.”
Defending drivers’ champion Button believes the McLaren team have built a strong momentum after their recent results and expects the nature of the Valencia circuit to suit his McLaren car.
“As a team, we’ve taken maximum points in the last two races and it feels like we’ve really gathered considerable momentum,” he said.
Button added that he was surprised that Red Bull are not in a better position in the standings after dominating the early part of the season.
Brazilian Felipe Massa is convinced he can still win the world championship and that new upgrades to his Ferrari in Valencia will help kick-start his season.
Massa has not been on the podium since finishing second in Australia, but the 28-year-old believes that the newpoints system means that a couple of good results could transform his season.
“Until you see from a mathematical point of view that you don’t have a chance anymore, the championship is definitely open,” he said.
Ferrari team-mate and double champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso is also looking forward to returning to his home country and hoping to gain some ground on the championship leaders.
“I expect a very strong Ferrari again in Valencia,” said Alonso. “The goal is to be on the podium on Sunday afternoon.”
Finn Heikki Kovalainen is also in the mood for a memorable weekend as Lotus celebrate their 500th Grand Prix.
He said: “This is a historic weekend for Lotus, and for Lotus Racing, and I think we’re starting to do justice to what’s gone before us — it’s fantastic that we can celebrate such a great milestone in Valencia. Sapa-AFP.
Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo will be looking to increase his standings even further this weekend in the Netherlands. THE battle for the 2010 FIM MotoGP World Championship continues this weekend as the TIM TT Assen comes just one week after the excitement of Silverstone, where victory for Jorge Lorenzo gave the Mallorcan a 37point advantage in the championship standings.
Lorenzo will be looking to turn the screw on his rivals even further this weekend in the Netherlands, but the Fiat Yamaha rider is adamant that he will be approaching the Dutch TT like any other race.
“I arrive here after a great victory, but my approach will not change as a result,” said Lorenzo during the preevent press conference. “I have had three wins here in the past, one on the 125 and two on the 250, so I can say that this is one of my strongest tracks.”
Lorenzo took time out ahead of the press conference to check the modifications to the Ruskenhoek corner, the only changes to the track since the current championship leader finished second in the MotoGP race last year.
“I went out on the scooter to have a look at Ruskenhoek, which is certainly a lot faster than it was before.
“Having seen the modified corner on television during the Superbike race here, I had some concerns about the changes, but now I’ve seen it up close, the corner looks fine.”
Andrea Dovizioso is on a rich vein of form, having scored four podium finishes in five races and with his second place at Silverstone last time out moving the Italian up to second in the championship. The Repsol Honda rider will be pushing hard for his first win of the 2010 cam paign this weekend, as he looks to close the gap on Lorenzo in the championship.
Ben Spies has been something of a revelation in his debut MotoGP season, with new circuits causing no problems for the Monster YamahaTech 3 rider. Spies took his first podium finish last time out in Silverstone, but was quick to play down his chances of a repeat performance this weekend at Assen, although this is one of the few circuits at which he’s raced previously.
“It’s good to come to a track I’ve been to before, and one that I like,” said Spies. “I think the bike will be good here, but I know it will be tough to fight for a podium again this weekend. Maybe people will expect meto be on the podium every weekend now, but I’m more realistic because I know just how hard Silverstone was.”
Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner has had something of a difficult start to the season, but advanced up the championship standings to eighth position, after fighting back from a disastrous start eventually to claim fourth place last time out at Silverstone.
Alvaro Bautista is another rider who’s had to contend with a difficult start to the season after the Spaniard sustained a shoulder injury in a motocross crash ahead of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. Highsiding himself off the Rizla Suzuki GSVR during practice in Le Mans didn’t help matters either, but the former 125 cc World Champion now says he’s fast approaching full fitness once again and looking forward to continuing his debut season in MotoGP.
— Witness Reporter.
2008 champion McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (right) has led teammate and fellow Briton Jenson Button (left) in two consecutive onetwo victories for McLaren and believes his team are in great shape to extend