A lot of buzz from the Formula One world – McLaren prepare for time without Lewis Hamilton
The much awaited Japanese Grand Prix is finally here. Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel is the hot-favorite to win the race, but the spotlight is still on McLaren star Lewis Hamilton. Months of speculation finally ended last week when news about Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes was confirmed. The 2008 Formula One champion will replace Michael Schumacher on Mercedes’ squad.
Lewis Hamilton is fourth on Driver Standings with 142 points in his name. The Briton has little hope of winning the Championship as there are only six races left in the season and Lewis Hamilton is 52 points away from the leader, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Nonetheless, McLaren team promises that their star will fight on till the end of the season.
Sebastian Vettel has a greater chance of winning the race at Suzuka this weekend. The defending Champion won his Formula One title with a victory at Suzuka last year. Moreover, Sebastian Vettel has been on pole at Suzuka for the past three years. Also, he was won the race in 2009 and 2010.
Presently, Sebastian Vettel is second on the Formula One table. There is a difference of 29 points between him and Fernando Alonso, which is a difference Sebastian Vettel can overcome only if he gets the best out of the next couple of races.
As Sebastian Vettel attempts to get some limelight, McLaren is trying to keep Lewis Hamilton’s name as far from the media as possible. McLaren’s team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who announced the signing of Sauber’s Sergio Perez as replacement for Lewis Hamilton, admits there are a lot of reasons for distractions which his team are trying to avoid.
“Clearly there will be cause to be distracted in the next days and weeks,” Martin Whitmarsh said. “We’ve got to try and protect him from that. If I know Lewis, he wants to win this year’s world championship, he wants to win the remaining six races.
“He’s assured me that he’s a McLaren man for the rest of this year and that he’s going to be completely focused on winning and we are going to try and create as much protection of him and the environment in which he can do that.”
Mercedes’ soon-to-retire driver Michael Schumacher is also being slated by the media. The Formula One veteran had some of his most memorable career victories at Suzuka. This weekend could finally be his farewell to Suzuka.
“My motivation is completely intact after the news last week, especially because Suzuka is one of the season’s highlights for me,” Michael Schumacher said in a team preview.
“I enjoy the circuit, it has sections that challenge you as a driver like almost nowhere else. Then there are the fans: They love motor racing and it is fun to feel their passion.”