Race by race summary of the 2007 season
A race by race account of how one of the most dramatic seasons in Formula One has unfolded ahead of Sunday's finale in Brazil in which three drivers are going for championship glory.
Australian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton begins
the year in ominous fashion coming third in his first ever F1 drive in Melbourne behind Kimi Raikkonen
of Ferrari and McLaren team-mate and defending champion Fernando Alonso
. Hamilton screams through from the second row on the grid to beat Alonso to the first corner and keep in front of the Spaniard for 42 of the 58 laps. He is ecstatic with a podium finish in his debut, making it the best finish by an Englishman in his debut race since 1966. Raikkonen takes the initial lead in the driver's championship with 10 points over Alonso with eight and Hamilton on six.
Malaysian Grand Prix
Hamilton impresses again with a second at Sepang in only his second race for a McLaren one-two behind Alonso. He overcomes sweltering conditions and two Ferraris on his tail. In both the Australian and Malaysian Grand Prix, Hamilton demonstrates his racing instincts at the first corner, both times improving his position to set up a podium finish. Alonso leads the drivers’ championship on 18 points ahead of Raikkonen on 16 and Hamilton 14.
Bahrain Grand Prix
Hamilton finishes second behind Felipe Massa's Ferrari to become the first driver to finish on the podium in his first three Grand Prix. Raikkonen finishes third and Alonso fifth.
Alonso, Hamilton and Massa all have 22 points at the top of the driver's championship.
Spanish Grand Prix
Massa wins in Barcelona to make the driver's championship a four-way race but Hamilton reels off his fourth consecutive podium position since his debut in Australia, finishing 6.7 seconds behind Massa and 10.6 seconds ahead of local hero Alonso. At the first corner Hamilton shoots into second place after taking advantage of Alonso's unsuccessful attempt to pass Massa. Hamilton becomes the youngest driver to lead the drivers’ championship, with 30 points, ahead of Alonso on 28, Massa on 27.
Alonso takes the lead in the title race after winning his second race of the season, from pole position, as Hamilton comes in four seconds behind to take his fourth successive second. The McLaren team-mates virtually lapped the entire field with Massa coming in more than a minute behind Hamilton to take third place. Hamilton queries why he was called into the pits for refuelling two laps earlier than expected when he felt he had a chance to cut into Alonso's lead. Alonso and Hamilton both have 38 points, but the Spaniard has two wins. Massa is in third place with 33 points.
Canadian Grand Prix
Hamilton retakes the lead in the championship in Montreal with his maiden F1 victory which he dedicates to his father Anthony after cruising to an assured, cool and measured victory. Germany's Nick Heidfeld
and Alex Wurz take second and third respectively. Hamilton keeps his cool during the incident-filled 70-lap contest in which he spends four periods driving behind the safety car. Hamilton moves to 48 points on the drivers’ championship standings with Alonso on 40 and Massa on 33.
United States Grand Prix
Hamilton secures back-to-back wins by finishing first at Indianapolis 1.5 seconds ahead of Alonso and takes a ten points lead over his team-mate in the drivers' title. Massa comes in 12.8 seconds after Alonso to take third position. "We are seven races into the championship and I have to be smart and realise we are running at the front and there is a possibility to win the championship but it is far, far too early to think about it or get hopes up," says Hamilton. Hamilton is on 58 points, Alonso on 48 and Massa on 39.
French Grand Prix
Raikkonen surges back into title contention, leading Ferrari to a one-two finish at Magny-Cours with Massa in second. Hamilton has no response to the Ferrari duo's speed but nevertheless extends his lead in the drivers' championship from 10 points to 14 by coming home third. Hamilton leads the championship with 64 points with Alonso on 50 and Massa on 47.
British Grand Prix
Raikkonen confirms his and Ferrari's return to form winning at Silverstone ahead of Alonso with Hamilton struggling home third to claim his ninth consecutive podium finish. Raikkonen took full advantage of Ferrari's excellent strategy and tyre problems that slowed both Hamilton and Alonso. Hamilton gets a good start but can't open up a gap and Raikkonen is too fast for him. After nine of this year's 17 races, Hamilton holds a 12 point lead over Alonso. Hamilton remains on the top of the drivers’ championship with 70 points ahead of Alonso on 58 with Raikkonen moving into third on 52.
European Grand Prix
At Nurburgring Hamilton's record run of podium finishes in nine races comes to an end as Alonso wins his third race of the season and moves to within just two points of the rookie leader. Torrential rain and breakdowns combined to leave Alonso in a straight fight with Massa. Hamilton finishes ninth after a crash in qualifying left him starting from tenth on the grid and he spins off the track early on . His McLaren was eventually lifted back onto the track by a crane but Hamilton rejoined the race at the back of the field, a lap behind and with too much ground to make up. Hamilton remains in the lead for the drivers' championship with 80 points ahead of Alonso on 68 and Massa retaking third spot on 59.
Hungarian Grand Prix
Hamilton blocks out the twin distractions of a qualifying controversy and in-fighting at his McLaren team to win in Budapest. The Briton starts from pole position after Alonso is demoted five grid positions for obstructing the rookie in qualifying. Alonso had seemingly snatched pole with a last-gasp flying lap but the race stewards judge that he had acted improperly in delaying Hamilton and denying him a chance to respond. Hamilton takes full advantage of his improved grid position, driving a mistake-free race to hold Ferrari's Raikkonen to second and claim a victory. He moves to 80 points in the drivers’ championship ahead of Alonso on 73 and Raikkonen on 60. History is on Hamilton's side; only twice in the last 15 years has a driver leading the championship at this stage been beaten to the crown.
Turkish Grand Prix
A burst tyre denies Hamilton a podium finish as Massa secures his third win of the season, spearheading a Ferrari one-two at Istanbul ahead of Raikkonen. Alonso finishes third ahead of German Nick Heidfeld
in a BMW Sauber while Hamilton finishes fifth. Hamilton was leading on lap 43, but with his final pit-stop moments away, the right front tyre of his McLaren suddenly burst sending him sliding off the circuit. He managed to coax the car back to the garage on three wheels, but it cost him a likely third place finish as he dropped behind team-mate Alonso and Heidfeld. Hamilton on 84 points has his lead over double champion Alonso, now on 79 points, cut to five points with just five races to go. Massa holds third place with 69 points.
Italian Grand Prix
As the spying scandal allegations against McLaren gather force Alonso wins at Monza from pole position, six seconds clear of Hamilton, thereby closing the gap to just three points with four races remaining. "Obviously I didn't get the best of getaways on the dirty side of the grid and then I out-braked both of them, but not quite well enough," Hamilton reported. "Felipe clipped me and I went off at the second part of the chicane and then at the restart Fernando did a great job to defend against me. Later I had some tyre vibrations so I pitted earlier than my scheduled stop to avoid any trouble and then I just drove to bag the points." Hamilton moves up to 92 points, a three point lead over Alonso on 89 with Raikkonen, who took third here, on 74.
Belgian Grand Prix
Raikkonen leads from start to finish to win the 14th leg of the 17-race world championship, after taking pole position. Massa comes in second to give Ferrari their third 1-2 of the season. Alonso and Hamilton finish third and fourth respectively, thus closing the gap between them to two points. Hamilton starting from fourth makes the quicker start, forcing the third-placed Alonso to dart across the track and block his team-mate. The 23-year-old is not discouraged however, and sneaks past Alonso on the outside. McLaren is dramatically ejected from the constructors' championship and fined 100 million dollars during the week after their role in a spying affair on rivals Ferrari. This ejection leaves Hamilton and Alonso free to fight amongst themselves for the drivers’ title. Hamilton leads the title race on 97 points from Alonso (95) and Raikkonen jumping up to 84 points.
Japanese Grand Prix
Hamilton takes a massive step towards winning the world championship with victory at a rain-lashed Fuji speedway as title rival Alonso crashes out after smashing into a wall 42 laps into the chaotic 67-lap race. Hamilton, who started from pole, drops to fourth after his first pit stop, but regains the lead after 41 laps to finish more than eight seconds ahead of Finland's Heikki Kovalainen in a Renault and Raikkonen's Ferrari. The Briton survives being knocked off the track mid-way through the race to claim the fourth victory of his maiden season, following wins in Canada, the United States and Hungary. The rookie's points tally stretches to 107 points, 12 ahead of Alonso, on 95, who crashed at a hair-pin corner shortly after the Briton regained the lead. Raikkonen holds third place on 90. He remained on course to clinch the F1 crown after race stewards cleared him of any wrongdoing in the way he drove behind the safety car. The young Briton heads towards the record books as the first rookie to win the driver's championship, and can wrap up the most dramatic F1 season for years in Shanghai.
Chinese Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton's expected coronation was spoiled when his McLaren slithered into a gravel pit as he was making his way into the pits for badly needed new tyres. It was all looking so rosy for the Briton until his race came to a premature end on lap 31 to leave Raikkonen to snatch victory, his fifth of the campaign, with Alonso in second. That left the F1 circus heading to Brazil for the season-ender at Interlagos with any one of the three drivers - Hamilton, Alonso or Raikkonen - still in with a shout of claiming the driver's championship. Hamilton leads with 107 points from Alonso's 103 with Raikkonen on 100 points.