F1’s rookie championship leader Lewis Hamilton has played down his chances of beating Fernando Alonso for a third successive time this weekend at Magny Cours.
Indeed, while reigning world champion Alonso won the French grand prix in his Renault in 2005 and finished second last year, his McLaren teammate’s record at the circuit is less impressive despite ultimately racing to the ’06 GP2 title.
Rookie Hamilton, 22, crashed in GP2’s race one at Magny Cours last year, and finished just fifth in the second contest.
The Briton said this week: “It is all about consistency, so I don’t have to win (this race). A second or a third would be great. As long as I get points, that is the key.”
Hamilton also remarked that pole position is not as necessary at Magny Cours as it is at some other venues because both overtaking and creative fuel strategies due to the short pit lane are possible.
The Spanish newspaper ‘Marca’, however, quotes McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa as saying that pole could in fact be “the key” to winning in France this weekend, “because it is so difficult to pass there”.