100th Grand Prix for Hamilton and Kovalainen
16 July 2012 – Both Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen will hit their century of Formula 1 starts as the sport heads to Germany. The duo, McLaren team-mates in 2008 and 2009, have experienced two very different careers since it all began in Australia five years ago…
2007 was a good year for rookie interest in F1. Sebastian Vettel made his debut with BMW as a one-off in America, subbing for Robert Kubica. Also competing for the first time were Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima - at the Brazilian finale - and Spyker’s Markus Winkelhock who unbelievably enjoyed a brief lead in the European Grand Prix, which turned out to be his first and last Formula 1 race start. But it was Hamilton and Kovalainen who made most headlines.
As we all know, Hamilton shook the establishment with podium finishes for McLaren in the first nine races of the season. Kovalainen’s story was a different one, joining Renault at the start of its decline following two all-conquering campaigns with Fernando Alonso. The promise from both of them was highlighted in that saturated Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, as the pair finished first and second amid horrendous conditions.
“Next up it's Hockenheim, which will be my hundredth Grand Prix weekend,” Kovalainen says on Monday. “That's a good milestone to reach and I'm pleased I'll be able to celebrate it with a really good team of people and a lot of friends in the paddock.”
Heikki’s only victory to date came at the Hungaroring in 2008, whereas Lewis has crossed the line first on 18 occasions and really could do with making it 19…he has already won at Hockenheim, returning from a strategic error to take the spoils in 2008.