Felipe Massa was once a Formula One World Champion – albeit for 30 seconds, before Lewis Hamilton broke Brazilian hearts with his last gasp overtake on Timo Glock to steal his maiden crown. That day at Interlagos in 2008 marks the last time that Massa stood atop the podium. As he enters his 15th season in F1 and his third with Williams, many are asking whether he has what it takes to win again.
The exclusivity of the “Triple Crown” means that it is not a prominent talking point in motorsport, despite its significance. Graham Hill remains the only man to have ever held the unofficial title, awarded for a driver taking victory in motorsport’s three most poignant events – the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Modern convention means that even the most talented drivers can only dream of winning the most coveted individual event in three separate series, however, Juan Pablo Montoya is a rare breed of driver. Perhaps this, combined with his remarkable talent, is why he has an opportunity to join the most exclusive of clubs.
Hamilton wins thrilling British Grand Prix
Just what the doctor ordered. As negativity has permeated the sport in recent weeks and months, 2015 needed a blockbuster race to reinvigorate fans and quell the vociferous critics. On a day when 140,000 passionate supporters came out to back the sport they love, that very sport provided an incredible spectacle filled with unpredictability. Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas launched themselves past a struggling Mercedes duo, to lead from the start. However, as the reigning champions began to flex their muscles, rain added another element of jeopardy and prompted Lewis Hamilton to make a bold, but ultimately race winning strategic call.
Crisis, what crisis?
Hamilton Notches Fourth Canada Win
After the disappointment of having victory snatched from his grasp in Monaco, Lewis Hamilton responded in fine fashion, taking victory in a tense game of cat and mouse at the head of the field with teammate Nico Rosberg. The gap may have fluctuated but ultimately, it seemed as though the championship leader was in control of proceedings. Elsewhere, Valtteri Bottas claimed his first podium of the season, demoting Ferrari off of the rostrum for the first time this season. While some commentators suggested that the race lacked the typical Canadian sparkle, I beg to differ.
Formula 1 is rich in history. Across 65 years of competition, the sport has seen some revolutionary machines grace the best circuits on the planet, with unlikely success stories and memorable characters providing the various plots and sub-plots. Last weekend, Brands Hatch provided the venue for a blast from the past, as cars from yesteryear pounded round the former home of the European Grand Prix. Fortunately, I was one of many enthusiastic fans who had traveled to Kent to witness the spectacle and I am pleased to report that F1’s past is just as breath-taking as the documentaries suggest.
Monaco is notorious for it’s double-six nature. The unique characteristics of the circuit mean that the form guide can be thrown into the harbour and past results count for very little. While Red Bull and McLaren benefited, Williams were one team who struggled throughout the weekend. With Bottas falling out of qualifying at the Q1 stage and early contact spelling a Sunday afternoon of woe for Massa, the team left Monaco without a point to their name. Certainly not the type of performance that Williams have become accustomed to over the past 18 months.
During the winter, we all like to speculate in regards to the pecking order, yet ultimately, it is not until qualifying in Melbourne that the true picture is revealed. Fortunately, today was the day when sandbagging came to an end and team’s showed their hands. On queue, Mercedes lit up the timing screens, with Lewis Hamilton comfortably taking pole position, to the tune of six tenths of a second, from title rival Nico Rosberg. The German had an uncharacteristically luke-warm Saturday, but such is the Mercedes advantage, P2 was his reward.