Hamilton provides champion protection 08 Apr 2007
GP2 champ continues dream start to Formula One career
World champion Fernando Alonso may have won the Malaysian Grand Prix for McLaren, but it was arguably team mate Lewis Hamilton who provided the key to his victory as the young star spent his afternoon keeping Ferraris challenge at bay.
While Alonso got the jump on Ferrari polesitter Felipe Massa off the line, Hamilton made an even better start. Fourth on the grid, he passed Kimi Raikkonens F2007 into Turn 1 and then went round the outside of Massas at Turn 2 to take second place. From there, as Alonso streaked away, Hamilton lent perfect support to his team mate.
He withstood intense pressure from Massa in the opening stages, forcing the Brazilian into an error as he tried in vain to pass the McLaren. Then in the closing laps he fended off the ever-nearer attentions of a rapidly-closing Raikkonen, crossing the line for second place just 0.7s ahead of the Finn.
I made a good start and was able to get past Felipe and Kimi to take second, said Hamilton. At one point Felipe was attacking at Turn 4 and ended up going slightly off the track, and I was able to keep second. Kimi was catching towards the end as I was struggling with the balance a bit, but what a race!
"That was the toughest race of my career, he added. I was defending my position for a lot of the time, and Im so pleased that I managed to keep both Felipe and Kimi behind me. However it was hard work and it was just so hot inside the cockpit. I now have experience of racing in these conditions and will be even better prepared next year.
As well as his second podium finish in as many races, Hamilton also set the fastest lap of the race. He is now third in the drivers championship standings on 14 points, four behind leader Alonso and just two adrift of Raikkonen.