Ferrari lock-out is double trouble for poor Hamilton

Rivals in red add to woe as 10-place penalty hurts Briton

"The penalty doesn't help," Lewis Hamilton said pensively yesterday, as the punishment for his Canadian Grand Prix gaffe pushed him down from a solid third on the grid in Magny-Cours to 13th, a long way behind the Ferraris on the front row.

"It doesn't particularly hang over you," he continued. "You come out to win, you feel confident and comfortable, you know the team have done everything to ensure that the car is the best it can be, then you arrive and automatically you get the 10-place penalty. We will just do the best we can, take it on the chin and make sure it does not happen again."

If McLaren saw that one coming, nobody expected the Finnish imposition. That came after Heikki Kovalainen had moved up a place from his sixth qualifying slot, because of Hamilton's penalty, only to get one of his own – five places – after impeding Mark Webber during his slowing-down lap.

In truth, Ferrari did not need either penalty, for their F2008 had a slight but crucial edge over the silver arrows in the last sector of the lap.

After taking the Scuderia's 200th pole position, a relaxed-looking Kimi Raikkonen admitted that it had been a good session, even if it was the first of the weekend in which he had been fastest.

He said: "The car is so different when it has no fuel and when it has more. We worked the whole weekend and it was not always how I wanted it. But the main thing is to be fastest in the end, and that worked out well."

In fact, the Finn was on a faster lap that he only aborted when the team told him nobody could beat his time.

"They told me to come in before the end of it," he said. "I was two tenths quicker, but there was no point to waste fuel."

Felipe Massa, meanwhile, had made most of the running in practice, when Renault were not busy grandstanding by getting Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet to the top of the Friday afternoon and Saturday morning times with low-fuel runs that fooled nobody. The Brazilian was fastest on Friday morning, and in the first and second sessions, but in the end he missed out to his team-mate by 0.41s.

The little Brazilian was philosophical. "I tried to get the best out of the car and lost a bit of time in some corners, trying to push too hard," he confessed. "Of course I had more fuel than I ran in Q1 and Q2, and perhaps that affected the car, but the front row is OK and it is looking very good for the race. I think as a team that we got the best from the car, so I'm looking forward to [the race]."

In 2005 Raikkonen qualified third, dropped 10 grid places after an engine failure, yet still finished second to Alonso. But Hamilton was less interested in that than he was in his own performance in qualifying. "It was disappointing for me," he admitted, "and I apologise to the team because I didn't do a good job at all. I ran wide on the exit to turn seven on each of my runs and lost at least three tenths. I was pushing hard, trying to get the best out of the car, and apart from that I believe I did that everywhere else. I think our car compares quite well with Ferrari's. Obviously it was not quite as good as it was in Canada, but they have a little bit more than us in the middle and last sectors."

Ahead of the British Grand Prix, where he says the support of the fans is uplifting, Hamilton said that he pays no attention to what is written about him in the media. "I can take constructive criticism, but I don't read any of it [media reports]. You hear about it, but what difference should that make to me, because I am doing my job and I am enjoying myself?

"It does not affect my life in any way, shape or form. Sure, the opinion you end up giving people does affect you because at the end of the day I am not a mean guy and I am out there doing the best job that I can. Small mistakes happen. I am sure that everyone makes similar mistakes to those I do, but you're not in the spotlight like me.

"People try and make me something that I'm not, but there is not really a lot I can do about it. The majority of the time, 99.9 per cent of the time, it's only my dad's opinion that matters."

The grid

1. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1min 16.449sec

2. Felipe Massa (Br) Ferrari 1:16.490

3. Fernando Alonso (Sp) Renault 1:16.840

4. Jarno Trulli (It) Toyota 1:16.920

5. Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:17.037

6. Mark Webber (Aus) RedBull Renault 1:17.233

7. David Coulthard (GB) RedBull Renault 1:17.426

8. Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota 1:17.596

9. Nelson Piquet (Br) Renault 1:15.770

10. Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren 1:16.944 (demoted five places)

11. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:15.786

12. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:15.816

13. Lewis Hamilton (GB) McLaren 1:16.693 (demoted 10 places)

14. Sébastien Bourdais (Fr) Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:16.045

15. Kazuki Nakajima (Japan) Williams Toyota 1:16.243

16. Jenson Button (GB) Honda 1:16.306

17. Rubens Barrichello (Br) Honda 1:16.330

18. Giancarlo Fisichella (It) Force India Ferrari 1:16.971

19. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India Ferrari 1:17.053

20. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams Toyota 1:16.235 (demoted 10 places)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine