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Niki Lauda's 2007 Season Review 30 Oct 2007

Niki Lauda (AUT). Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday 22 July 2007. World © Moy/Sutton Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari celebrates the World Championship with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Sunday, 30 September 2007 (L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren with Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 12 April 2007 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes in Parc ferme
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007

The 2007 season was a suspense-filled thriller right up to the chequered flag at last weekend’s Brazilian finale. Both on the track and in the courtroom, controversy and excitement have reigned supreme. Who better then to review this tumultuous year, than three-time world champion Niki Lauda?

During his 35 years in the sport, Lauda has seen it all, heard it all and done it all and we spoke to him exclusively to get his unique perspective on the season and on new world champion Kimi Raikkonen….

Q: Was Ferrari the best team on the grid?
Niki Lauda:
Ferrari won the constructors’ and the drivers’ championship. That speaks for itself so the answer is yes!

Q: Is Kimi Raikkonen a worthy world champion?
NL:
Kimi has won six Grands Prix this year. He drove a perfect season, made no mistakes and kept cool! He is the rightful world champion.

Q: It had looked so promising for McLaren and then it went all wrong…
NL:
McLaren was penalised in the so-called ‘spy scandal’ that stripped them off all their constructors’ points. In the end, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso did not do as perfect a job as Raikkonen - so they lost the drivers’ championship. Looks pretty much like a case of self-defeat.

Q: What about Lewis Hamilton?
NL:
He enjoyed a sensational start in Formula One. He was fighting for the championship until the last race. A rookie en-route to be world champion! A story almost too good to be true! Even as vice champion he has achieved what nobody has ever achieved before. His time will come. He made that very clear with his performance.

Q: What do you think was wrong with Alonso?
NL:
Fernando had a nerve-racking and ongoing fight with the team and towards the end of the championship made a mistake. Adding together this mental pressure and the Fuji lapse - and the result is you lose out to Kimi.

Q: The Alonso, Hamilton and Ron Dennis triangle was complicated. What do you think went so terribly wrong and does it have a future in 2008?
NL:
The relationship between Ron and Fernando was obviously not blessed. What really happened between the two we will probably hear about sometime in the future - now we can only guess! If there is a basis to continue in 2008, I don’t know. But both are rather prosaic characters who could be drawn together not necessarily by sympathy but by the will to win.

Q: Speaking of winning - what options are there for Alonso other than to stay at McLaren?
NL:
Well, first he has to sort out his relationship with Ron - regardless of whether he stays or goes - as he needs he team’s consent for any further move. And let’s get it clear: Fernando wants to win - and other than Ferrari, McLaren and very likely BMW I don’t see any possible winners in 2008.

Q: Do you believe a fair judgement was made in the ‘spy scandal’?
NL:
Formula One is run by the FIA rules and regulations. If they decide to penalise a team like McLaren, everybody has to respect it - if they are part of Formula One.

Q: Who do you believe is the team climber of the season?
NL:
Very clearly BMW. And Red Bull improved a lot. So let’s wait and see if they can capitalise on that in 2008.

Q: The driver climber of the season?
NL:
A hundred percent Lewis Hamilton. That boy wrote history!

Q: The biggest disappointment of the season?
NL:
Alonso and his politics.