Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Going into the Chinese Grand Prix race weekend, it looked like Hamilton was going to be finally stamping his claim on the 2007 Driverís Title. Although the McLarenís were lacking a little bit of speed and stability in the slippery and humid conditions of the Shanghai International Circuit, Hamilton pulled out a stunning final lap in qualifying to take pole position. Nearest championship rival Alonso was back in fourth on the grid.
In F1, however, anything can happen. Sunday continued to be wet, although the rain was intermittent, and tyre choices were tough. The Spyker team started on extreme wets, whilst most drivers chose the intermediates to try and find a dry line on the track. The moisture began to evaporate and a couple of drivers, Wurz and Webber, were the first to brave dry tyres. It was slippery, but they managed to pick up some good speed. At the front, Hamilton was pulling out a lead which he retained after the first round of pitstops. Unusually, they didnít change the tyres on the McLaren, leaving him on the same inters that he started the race with. Just before his second pit stops, Hamiltonís tyres began to give up. They were worn down. He made it round to the pit entrance, slowly, but couldnít turn in and ended up in the gravel. He waved at the marshals to push him out, but nothing could be done, and his race was over.
Drivers having more luck included Jenson Button, who is always stylish when the rain appears. He gained five places through the race and ended up 5th Ė his best finish of the season. Rookie driver Sebastian Vettel absolutely made up for the incident in Japan, which saw his experience called into question. Originally given a ten place grid penalty for that incident which saw him crash into Mark Webber behind the safety car, this was revoked after it was decided to be a racing incident. They then handed out a five place penalty instead, as Vettel held up Davidson in qualifying. Despite all this, Vettel still managed to make up 13 places during the race and finish fourth, an amazing drive from him.
Raikkonen went on to win the race, with Alonso following in second, which means both drivers are still in with a shot of the driverís title when it comes to the last race in Brazil. Hamilton leads with 107 points, Alonso has 103 and Raikkonen has 100. The odds are still with Hamilton, but you couldnít ask for a more exciting finish to the season.