SportF12007 F1 Chinese GP: When Hamilton got hooked and...

2007 F1 Chinese GP: When Hamilton got hooked and Ferrari believed

It was on October 7, 2007 , and the Formula 1 world title was at stake between three drivers. Lewis Hamilton led the standings with an income of 12 points over his teammate, Fernando Alonso, and 17 over Kimi Raikkonen, with the possibility of adding a maximum of 20 units in the two remaining races.

Just a week earlier, at the Japanese Grand Prix , the Briton opened an important gap thanks to the Spaniard’s heavy accident at Fuji, and in China he had his first chance to secure his first world championship in the highest category of motorsport.

On Saturday’s day, in qualifying, everything looked up for the 22-year-old, as he secured pole position in Shanghai thanks to a 1:35.908 , being more than a tenth faster than the Ferrari of Raikkonen and ahead of the other car from the Maranello team, that of Felipe Massa, and his teammate Fernando Alonso, who would start fourth.

Already on Sunday, the rain made an appearance on the Chinese circuit, with which everything could happen, from seeing the first title of Hamilton, who would become the youngest champion in history, until Alonso and Raikkonen dangerously approached in general.

That second possibility was vanishing as the test began, since the Englishman from McLaren kept the lead in the first laps with the intermediate tires, although with the passing of the laps and the vacuum effect of the single-seaters, the asphalt was drying, thus degrading the mixed rubbers at breakneck speed.

However, in the Woking team they maintained their strategy, waiting to celebrate the achievement of their young star. That is why they kept the intermediates while the first four continued in identical positions to those that started in the legendary 2007 Chinese Grand Prix .

Despite the fact that Hamilton had dominated the test, the abrasion of the asphalt caused excessive wear on the compounds of the rookie’s McLaren, so, after being overtaken by Kimi Raikkonen, he had no choice but to go through the pitlane. Or that was his idea, because with some Bridgestones that were on the canvas, he tried to enter the pit lane too aggressively and went straight into the pozzolana .

In the commentary booths they could not believe what was happening, and that is that the leader of the world championship was stuck in the gravel run-off in Shanghai. Given the impossibility of resuming the course of the race, the British had to get off his MP4-22 , seeing how Kimi Raikkonen inherited a victory that he had in his hands to get closer in the general classification.

The Finn achieved his 14th victory in the Grand Circus and the 200th for Ferrari, while Fernando Alonso managed to overtake Massa to get just 4 points behind his teammate and travel to Brazil with everything still to be decided, but with the entire McLaren team against him.

The rest of what happened is history, with a mistake by Hamilton sending him to the further back positions at Interlagos, and a two-time Asturian champion unable to overcome the Prancing Horse single-seaters, who teamed up to defeat a team from Woking that he sabotaged himself when they had everything to conquer a championship that had eluded them since the time of Mika Hakkinen in the late 1990s.

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