Rookie Hamilton gunning for the chequered flag
Already Formula One’s youngest championship leader, Lewis Hamilton is in a strong position to become the first rookie to win the most glamorous grand prix of them all in Monaco on Sunday.
Many of the sport’s greatest drivers retired without a victory in the Mediterranean principality, but the McLaren driver’s first four races have been so impressive that few would be surprised if he celebrated a maiden win this weekend.
The 22-year-old Briton, with four podiums in a row under his belt, has raced through the tight and twisting streets in the junior Formula Three and the GP2 support series and taken the chequered flag on all three occasions.
After finishing runner-up to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa for the second successive race in Spain this month, Hamilton warned the Brazilian that he would get him soon — possibly even this weekend.
“I think we’ll be very strong in Monaco so I’m looking forward to it,” he said in Barcelona. “Sure, I'm going to be gunning for a win.”
McLaren have the best record of any team in Monaco, with 13 wins over the years compared to Ferrari's eight, and are confident they can rack up what would be their 150th win in Formula One.
One mistake, over 78 laps on an often slippery ribbon of asphalt hemmed in by unforgiving barriers, can be disastrous at Monaco and rookies are more likely to get it wrong than anyone. But Hamilton has barely put a wheel out of line so far.
He has also coped well with the hype.